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World Population Prospects 2019: Highlights

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What is World Population Prospects 2019?

People, and thus populations, are at the centre of sustainable development. Each of the four global demographic “megatrends”– population growth, population ageing, migration and urbanization – holds important implications for economic and social development and for environmental sustainability. Timely and accurate population estimates and projections allow Governments to anticipate future demographic trends and to incorporate that information into development policies and planning.

The 2019 revision of the World Population Prospects is the twenty-sixth edition of the United Nations population estimates and projections. It presents population estimates from 1950 to the present for 235 countries or areas, underpinned by analyses of historical demographic trends. This latest assessment considers the results of 1,690 national population censuses conducted between 1950 and 2018, as well as information from vital registration systems and from 2,700 nationally representative sample surveys. The 2019 revision also presents population projections to the year 2100 that reflect a range of plausible outcomes at the global, regional and country levels.

The population estimates and projections presented in the World Population Prospects describe two of the four demographic megatrends (population growth and ageing), as well as key trends in human fertility, mortality, and net international migration that are integral to sustainable development. Collectively, these data constitute a critical piece of the evidence base for monitoring global progress towards the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.

World Population Prospects 2019:

  • Confirms that the world’s population continues to grow, albeit at a slowing rate;

  • Points to the challenges facing some countries and regions related to rapid population growth driven by high fertility;

  • Notes that population size is decreasing in some countries due to sustained low fertility or emigration;

  • Underscores the opportunities available to countries where a recent decline in fertility is creating demographic conditions favourable for accelerated economic growth;

  • Highlights the unprecedented ageing of the world’s population;

  • Confirms the ongoing global increase in longevity and the narrowing gap between rich and poor countries, while also pointing to significant disparities in survival that persist across countries and regions;

  • Describes how international migration has become an important determinant of population growth and change in some parts of the world.