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Growth Rate Slowing; Global Population in 2002 Tops 6.2 Billion


March 23, 2004
Tuesday - 1:15 am

The world's population increased by 1.2 percent in 2002 to total more than 6.2 billion, the U.S. Census Bureau said Monday in a report on global population trends. The rate of increase translated into a net addition of about 200,000 people per day and 74 million per year, roughly equivalent to the population of Egypt in 2002.

According to the report, Global Population Profile: 2002, the pace of global population growth peaked just over a decade ago. The increase of 74 million in 2002 is substantially below the annual high of 87 million people added in 1989-90. The rate of growth is well below the high of about 2.2 percent a year experienced 40 years ago.

Census Bureau projections show the slowdown continuing into the foreseeable future.

Some report highlights:

  • The slowdown in global population growth is linked primarily to declines in fertility. In 1990, the world's women, on average, were giving birth to 3.3 children over their lifetimes. By 2002, the average had dropped to 2.6 children -- slightly above the level needed to assure replacement of the population. Census Bureau projections show the level of fertility for the world as a whole descending below replacement level before 2050.
  • While fertility was the dominant factor underlying national, regional and global population growth during the past 50 years, the large proportion of women in their reproductive years in current national and global populations will account for much of the population change expected to occur over the next 50 years.
  • "Population aging," the rise in all regions in the size of older age groups relative to younger ones, will be an increasingly significant trend in coming decades. The world's older population is expected to grow considerably. In 2050, there will be more than three times as many people age 65 and older as there are today. In contrast, the number of children is expected to remain relatively stable over the next five decades.
  • Census Bureau projections indicate a number of African countries will experience levels of mortality during this decade that will lower the average life expectancy at birth to around 30 years by 2010, a level not seen since the beginning of the 20th century. Much of this decline in life expectancy is likely to result from AIDS mortality.

The report summarizes the key trends in international demography at the dawn of the 21st century. It is accompanied by a special report on HIV/AIDS, The AIDS Pandemic in the 21st Century, and a four-page summary, Global Population at a Glance: 2002 and Beyond.

All three were released by the Census Bureau's International Programs Center, which collects and analyzes population and related statistical information from all countries.



Global Population Profile: 2002

Source of News:

U.S. Census Bureau


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