Journal Article

Global fertility and population trends

Over the past several decades, the world and most countries have undergone unprecedented demographic change. The most obvious example of this change is the rise in human numbers, and there are also important trends in fertility, family structure, mortality, migration, urbanization, and population aging. This paper summarizes past trends and projections in fertility and population. After reaching 2.5 billion in 1950, the world population grew rapidly to 7.2 billion in 2013 and the projections expect this total to be 10.9 billion by 2100. World regions differ widely in their demographic trends, with rapid population growth and high fertility continuing in the poorest countries, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa, while population decline, population aging, and very low fertility are now a key concern in many developed countries. These trends have important implications for human welfare and are of interest to policy makers. The conclusion comments briefly on policy options to address these adverse trends.