The population of the world has been increasing steadily over the years. In 1950, the total population of the world was about 2.6 billion people. By 1999, this population had more than doubled to about 6 billion individuals. Today, the global population is estimated to be at least 7 billion.
Naturally, different countries around the world have different growth rates. On average, developing countries tend to have faster growth rates than developed countries. There are several reasons for this including access to birth control, religious freedom, women's rights, life expectancy, and more. However, developing countries can have low population rates just as developed countries can experience high population rates. According to the World Bank, the country with the highest population growth rate in the world is Oman at 4.7%.
Factors Affecting Population Growth
Life expectancy affects population growth. Recent trends have seen an increase in the global lifespan of people by around three years. Some of this longevity has been experienced in certain countries in Africa where population growth was already high. As more people live long enough to reproduce in countries with high fertility rates, then the population will increase at a high rate.
Countries can also grow in population through migration. Compared to other factors, migration is not a strong influence of a nation’s population except in special cases. For example, countries that border war-torn countries may see a massive influx of migration from their neighbors. Data shows that between 2000 and 2015, about 2.8 million people per year moved to other countries as a result of political instability and violence.
Other factors that affect population growth include access to healthcare, political and economic instability, and the availability of space. These are all referred to as push and pull factors.
Countries with the Highest Population Growth
Oman - 4.7%
Officially known as the Sultanate of Oman, Oman has the world’s highest population growth rate. Located in the southwestern region of Asia, the country has an estimated population of 4.83 million people as of 2018, which is rapid growth from 2.77 million in 2010. Most of the population, about 50%, lives in the Batinah coastal plain and Muscat. The current life expectancy in Oman is around 75.7 years while the median age stands at 25.6 years. Currently, the rate of birth stands at 24 births per every 1,000 people whereas the mortality rate is 3.3 people per every 1,000. A higher rate of birth, a low death rate, and immigration have all contributed to the high growth rate of Oman’s population.
Bahrain - 4.6%
Similar to Oman, Bahrain has a large population of immigrants who come to the Arab island nation in search of jobs. Many of these immigrants, who make up just over half of the population, come from South Asia or Southeast Asia. Immigration is the main reason behind the yearly population increase in Bahrain.
Nauru - 4.5%
The tiny Pacific nation of Nauru is growing its population quickly. However, as the country's population is small and hovers around 10,000, it is not experiencing a population boom in the same way as other countries on this list. Because of Nauru's small population, small fluctuations are just felt more strongly in the country.
Niger - 3.8%
Niger, in northwestern Africa, is growing at a rate of 3.8% per year. The population of Niger in the mid-20th century was only around 4 million. Today, it stands at 20 million and is growing quickly. Family planning is reportedly a taboo topic in Niger. The average woman in the country gives birth to around 7.6 children.
Equatorial Guinea - 3.7%
Equatorial Guinea, Africa's only Espanglophone country, also has one of the world's quickest-growing populations. It also happens to be one of the richest countries in Africa, although its riches are not evenly dispersed among the population. There is one birth in Equatorial Guinea approximately every 12 minutes. The average age in the country is 22.2 years.
Problems Associated With Population Growth
A few of the many problems associated with population growth include overcrowding, lack of housing, lack of services, and pollution. Some scientists predict that the world can comfortably support up to 10 billion people.