June 5, 2012 4:52 AM
The XXVth international Congress of the people is held in Tours of 18 to July 23, 2005. It brings together nearly 2,000 scientists from 100 different countries. Associated with this important event, which had not been held in France since 1937, "Les echos" publish the entire week views of demographers on the major themes of the Congress. We begin today with a central issue of the science of populations: how will we be tomorrow
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The world population is expected to rise from 6.5 billion today to 9.1 billion in 2050, but the increase will be unequal: currently 95 of world population growth takes place in less developed regions and 5 in the developed regions. By 2050, the population of developed countries is expected to decrease slowly, about 1 million people per year, and that of the less developed regions is expected to increase each year to 35 million people, including 22 million in the least developed countries.
It is indeed in 50 countries less advanced that demographic trends are the most adverse: a high fertility rate just barely start a moderate descent and mortality remains high or increases because of AIDS. The 11 of the world's population living in the least developed countries will be responsible for one quarter of the population by 2015. Most of the least developed countries are in Africa, the region to growth of the population. Even today, fertility in sub-Saharan Africa remains above 5 children per woman. At the same time, Africa is the region most affected by AIDS: end of 2004, it was estimated that more than 64 of the HIV-positive were in Africa, while it has only 13 of the world's population. The epidemic strikes the strongest in East Africa and especially Southern Africa. In this latter region, life expectancy collapsed: it rose from 62 years in 1990-1995 to 48 years in 2000-2005, and it should still be reduced to 43 years to 2010-2015 before beginning a slow recovery. As a result, the population growth of southern Africa will probably void between 2005 and 2015. However, the demographic growth of the other African countries affected by the epidemic will be strong. In total, the population of Africa is expected to increase by 0.8 billion in 2005 to 1.9 billion by 2050.
The rest of the developing world, which includes 4.1 billion, includes the two giants: China with 1.3 billion people and the India with 1.1 billion. The population growth rate is significantly higher in India in China (1.6 vs. 0.6) due to a marked difference between their levels of fertility (1.7 children per woman in China against 2.9 in the India). Therefore, the population of the India should exceed that of China around the year 2030. By 2050, the India would be 1.6 billion inhabitants, against 1.4 billion in China, and its population will be younger: the share of people of 65 years and more will reach 15 in 2052, against 5 today. In China, it will be 24, compared to 8 today.
The population of the rest of the developing world, which includes the Latin America and the rest of Asia should spend $ 1.8 billion in 2005 to 2.9 billion in 2050. With a level of fertility of about 2.4 children per woman, which should continue to weaken, the population of these regions should gradually aging. However, their dependency ratio (measured by the number of young people under 15 years and persons aged over 64 years old) reported to the working-age population should continue to go down, with an increase in the share of seniors and a decrease in that of children. Therefore, these regions who have, with the India, demographic prospects in terms of development.
In the 44 countries developed, where live 1.2 billion people, fertility levels are now very low. All but the Albania have a below the replacement level fertility, and 15, located mostly in southern and Eastern Europe, have reached a level of fertility without precedent in human history (less than 1.3 children per woman). These fertility rates are insufficient to ensure population growth. Between 2000 and 2005, 17 developed countries are depopulated, and this phenomenon should be 51 developed countries for the period from 2005 to 2050, including the Germany, the Italy, the Japan, and most from the former Soviet Union States.
Due to its relatively low and declining growth, the population of the whole of the developed countries should remain virtually unchanged between 2005 and 2050, with approximately 1.2 billion people. It should assume a marked ageing, with a proportion of the population aged 65 years or more from 15 today to 26 in 2050. The migratory balance of developed regions should be to 98 million between 2005 and 2050, or 2.2 million per year on average. Such a level would largely offset the excess of deaths over the foreseeable births over the same period.
The unprecedented changes of the demographic trends that took place during the 20th century have produced a world very different. Developed countries, where the mortality and fertility declined earlier, face an ageing which rises. The future is the same for some developing countries, including China, to low fertility. But for most of the other developing countries, population ageing is distant and their dependency rates are declining, therefore providing a favourable context for development. However, there are still several poor countries where rapid population growth is likely to continue to slow their development.