The world approaches 7 billion in 2012

19 June 2008

Source: U.S. Census Bureau

The world population is projected to reach 7 billion in 2012, according to updated world population estimates and projections released today by the U.S. Census Bureau. 

School girls in a reading class, Karachi, Pakistan.

School girls in a reading class, Karachi, Pakistan.

© John Isaac/UNFPA

The database

The US Census Bureau's International Data Base (IDB ) provides information on population size and growth, age and sex composition, mortality, fertility and net migration. The data are available for 226 countries and other selected geographies.

This revision to the IDB includes updated projections for 34 countries and compared to previous estimates, and indicates that the world population will be 146 million larger in 2050.

World population growth

The Census Bureau's latest projections show world population growing at a slower pace during the first half of the 21st century than the latter half of the 20th century. The world population doubled from 3 billion in 1959 to 6 billion in 1999, but is projected to increase by only 50 percent between 1999 and 2040.

Global population growth, about 1.2 percent per year, is projected to decline to 0.5 percent by 2050. However, this growth will be concentrated in less-developed countries.

Ageing populations

About 1.5 percent of the current global population is 80 or older, with more than half living in developed countries. By 2050, about 5 percent of the world's population is projected to be 80 or older, with about three in four likely to be living in less-developed countries. For developed countries, the percentage of the population 80 or older will grow to about 10 percent in 2050.

The impact of HIV and AIDS

World population estimates and projections include the impact of HIV and AIDS. Of the 34 countries updated in this revision, nine are hard hit by this pandemic (Benin, Côte d'Ivoire, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Guinea, Nigeria, South Africa, Zimbabwe and the Central African Republic).

Accessing the data

The International Data Base offers online users a choice of ways to retrieve demographic data, including:

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