Demographics of Africa

Demographics of Africa
Population1.256 billion (2017 est.)[1]
Density1/sq km (2017 est.)
Growth rate2.5% per annum (2017 est.)
Map of Africa indicating Human Development Index (2004).

The population of Africa has grown rapidly over the past century[2] and consequently shows a large youth bulge, further reinforced by a low life expectancy of below 50 years in some African countries.[3] Total population as of 2017 is estimated at more than 1.25 billion, with a growth rate of more than 2.5% p.a. The most populous African country is Nigeria with 191 million inhabitants as of 2017 and a growth rate of 2.6% p.a.[1]

Population growth

Most African countries have annual population growth rates above 2%.

As of 2016, the total population of Africa is estimated at 1.225 billion, representing 17% of the world's population.[1] According to UN estimates, the population of Africa may reach 2.5 billion by 2050 (about 26% of the world's total) and nearly 4.5 billion by 2100 (about 40% of the world's total).[1]

The population of Africa first surpassed one billion in 2009, with a doubling time of 27 years (growth rate 2.6% p.a.).[4]

Population growth has continued at almost the same pace, and total population is expected to surpass 2 billion by 2038 (doubling time 29 years, 2.4% p.a.).[1]

The reason for the uncontrolled population growth since the mid 20th century is the decrease of infant mortality and general increase of life expectancy without a corresponding reduction in fertility rate, due to a very limited use of contraceptives. Uncontrolled population growth threatens to overwhelm infrastructure development and crippling economic development.[5] Kenya and Zambia are pursuing programs to promote family planning in an attempt to curb growth rates.[6]

The extreme population growth in Africa is driven by East Africa, Middle Africa and West Africa, which regions are projected to more than quintuple their populations over the 21st century. The most extreme of these is Middle Africa, with an estimated population increase by 680%, from less than 100 million in 2000 to more than 750 million in 2100 (more than half of this figure is driven by the Democratic Republic of the Congo, projected to increase from 47 million in 2000 to 379 million in 2100). Projected population growth is less extreme in Southern Africa and North Africa, which are expected, respectively, to not quite double and triple their populations over the same period.[1]

  >80
  77.5–80
  75–77.5
  72.5–75
  70–72.5
  67.5–70
  65–67.5
  60–65
  55–60
  50–55
Life expectancy by region in 2015[7][8][9][10]

Population estimates by region (in billions):

2000 2050 2100
Eastern Africa 0.26 0.89 (+242%, +2.5% p.a.) 1.58 (+507%, +1.8% p.a.)
Middle Africa 0.096 0.38 (+300%, +2.8% p.a.) 0.75 (+680%, +2.1% p.a.)
North Africa 0.17 0.36 (+112%, +1.5% p.a.) 0.47 (+176%, +1.0% p.a.)
Southern Africa 0.052 0.086 (+65%, +1.0% p.a.) 0.092 (+77%, +0.6% p.a.)
West Africa 0.24 0.81 (+238%, +2.5% p.a.) 1.58 (+558%, +1.9% p.a.)
Africa 0.82 2.53 (+209%, +2.3% p.a.) 4.47 (+454%, +1.7% p.a.)
World 6.15 9.77 (+60%, +0.9% p.a.) 11.18 (+82%, +0.6% p.a.)
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