World population will reach 7 billion this year: study

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PARIS, August 17, 2011 (AFP) – The world population will reach seven billion later this year, with increases in the number of people in Africa off-setting birth rate drops elsewhere, according to a new French study published Thursday. “It has increased seven-fold over the last two hundred years, topping seven billion in 2011, and is expected to reach nine or 10 billion by the end of the 21st century,” the report said.

Just seven countries now account for half the world’s population, and therefore their demographic shifts have a major effect. China tops the list with over 1.33 billion people, with another 1.17 billion in India.

The other five countries, in order, are the United States, Indonesia, Brazil, Pakistan and Nigeria.

INED estimates that between now and 2050 India will become the most populous nation, with Beijing’s one-child policy moderating the Chinese numbers.

While the overall numbers continue to grow, the rate of increase is already dropping, according to INED, standing at 1.1 percent this year from two percent 50 years ago.

This is due to the total fertility rate per women dropping to 2.5 children, half of the figure recorded in 1950.

However regional differences are great, with an average