When it comes to population, numbers have always tended to be highest in Asia. Currently, Asia holds around 4.4 billion inhabitants, just over 60% of the world's population. The world's two most populated countries, China and India, are both in Asia. China and India are the only countries in the world with a population of over 1 billion.
China and India
Though growth in Asia today is progressively slowing down in the countries with the largest human populations, throughout the majority of the 20th-century national populations expanded rapidly there. This was due to the already high birth rates there not reducing as rapidly as the mortality rates.
In the past, China’s government set a controversial one-child policy (with some exceptions). Some scholars state that this policy prevented up to 500 million births.
In India, family planning and awareness programs have been credited for population control. However, nonetheless, India's demography is a youthful one, with over 50% of its population younger than 25 years of age. Catching up on China fast, the country is expected to be the most populous on our globe by 2022.
Indonesia, Pakistan, and Bangladesh are the other most populated countries in Asia.
Large Populations Outside of Asia
While six of the ten most populous countries in the world are in Asia, the others are distributed across the other continents: the United States, Brazil, Nigeria, and Russia. Russia, a Eurasian country, has a population of over 143 million inhabitants. Although most of its territory is located in Asia, this is largely constituted by the frozen masses of Siberia. Meanwhile, the bulk of the Russian populace resides on the European continent.
The US owes much of its population density to a high immigration rate during the last decades. Currently, population growth is lower slightly below 1%, and the birth rate is 1.86 births per woman as of 2014, which is below the natural level of replacement fertility rate of 2.1. This is slightly higher than many developed European countries, where the populations have been getting progressively older and are showing signs of negative growth. This is in stark contrast with the 1800s, when American women had an average of 7 children each.
Shifts in Population Trends
Currently, African countries exhibit the most rapid population growth rates. Over the last 50 years, Nigeria has quadrupled its population, mainly owing to extremely high fertility rates. Several projections estimate that Nigeria's population could grow to levels on par with China by 2100. By that time, the world's population is projected to reach its peak, at around 10 or 11 billion people, with India having the highest population density.
Limits to Human Population Growth?
While the national population rankings may shift somewhat, Asia is unlikely to be surpassed in terms of continental population in the next few centuries. Though growth rates remain high in Central and South America, the Middle East, and across much of Africa, global rates are continuing to decline. With global populations projected to reach close to 11 billion by 2100, we will be forced to find innovative new ways to further stretch our land, human, and natural resources to their respective limits.
Highest Country Populations Worldwide
|3||United States of America||319 Million|
|19||Democratic Republic of the Congo||76 Million|