How do the 2015 Population Projections differ from the 2012 Projections?

Last week we posted an overview of the 7 Things to Know About the 2015 Population Projections. The post has brought up some interesting questions about how these 2015 projections differ from the projections made by the UN in 2012. The following are some of the more dramatic, interesting, or unexpected changes that came about over the past 3 years:

  • The projected world population for 2100 is now 11.2 billion people, about 360 million people more than estimated in 2012.
  • India will surpass China in population size earlier than expected – in 2022 – and the projected population for 2100 has increase by 113 million people. Meanwhile, China’s population is expected to be 81 million people less than the projected population number was in 2012.
  • Currently, the population of Africa is 1.1 billion people and the 2015 projection has it reaching 4.3 billion by 2100.That projection includes 202 million more people than the 2012 projection, with the largest change seen in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The 2012 report projected the DRC’s population in 2100 to be 262 million. The revised projection has the population increased to 389 million, which is a difference of 127 million people. Today, the population of the DRC is 68 million people.
  • In some European countries, the projected numbers decreased between the 2012 report and the 2015 report. Italy’s projected population for 2100 is about 50 million, which is a decrease from the 2012 projection by about 5 million people. Similarly, Poland, Spain, and France all see decreases in their projection of over 3 million.
  • In Central and South America, the new 2100 population projections have actually gone down for quite a few countries. Colombia’s projected population for 2100 decreased by almost 15 million. Colombia’s current population is 48 million and the new 2100 projection estimates the population to be about 45 million, indicating a projected decrease in Colombia’s population rather than an increase.
  • The population expected in Pakistan in 2100 has increased dramatically. Three years ago it was expected that Pakistan would reach 263 million by 2100 but the current projection has the south Asian country topping 364 million. Rather than a 42 percent increase in the next 85 years, the UN now expects Pakistan to see a 97 percent increase.
  • The U.S. 2015 projected population for 2100 is now 450 million, down from the 2012 projection of 462 million.

Will the projections made in the UN’s 2015 Revision be realized? We won’t know for a long time. As we can surmise from the significant changes that just 3 years have brought to the projections, things change. New information becomes available, old information is found incorrect, and sometimes the unexpected happens. But it’s safe to say global population will not stop growing anytime soon.