Global Birth Rates
The discussion that surrounds the subject of worldwide birth rates, perhaps now more than ever, is a divisive issue. Not unsurprisingly, reputed experts in the field have polarised views on the subject. While some worry about the “collapse” of the global population in the not too distant future, others decry that the present high level of population growth is unsustainable for the planet. To put things into context, did you know that the world’s population has grown from around 2.5 billion in 1950 to more than 8 billion today in 2023?
Firstly, let’s establish exactly what is a ‘birth rate’? For any given population, the birth rate is usually expressed as the number of live births per 1,000 people in any particular year. Although closely linked, birth rates should not be confused with fertility rates. The latter is the average number of children that a woman from a given population bears during her lifetime.
For 2022, the average birth rate worldwide was 17.668 births per 1,000 people. While these rates obviously vary wildly from country to country, 19 of the top 20 countries with the highest birth rates are all in Africa. The country with the highest birth rate is currently Niger with 47.28 average annual births per 1,000 people. At the opposite end of the spectrum, the CIA estimates that Monaco has the lowest birth rate in the world with a score of just 6.63.
Based on data presented in the CIA’s 2021 World Factbook, here’s a brief overview of the five countries with the highest expect global birth rates for 2023, and their predicted population growth.
Niger – 47.28
Niger is the largest country in West Africa and the 22nd largest country globally. However, more than 80% of its land is covered by the Sahara desert. The country’s projected population for 2023 is just over 27 million.
Since 1990, Niger’s population growth has remained above 3% for every year. Current expectations are that the county’s population will continue to grow through the rest of the century. Niger’s population is projected to pass 50 million by 2041 and 100 million by 2068. With current births at 6.95 per woman, Niger has one of the highest fertility rates in the world. The high fertility rate has resulted in a consistently young population, which currently has a median age of 15.2 years old.
Angola – 42.22
Angola, officially the Republic of Angola, is located on the west-central coast of Southern Africa. For 2023, the country has a projected population of just over 36.5 million. With an average of 14.8 people per sq. km, it is one of the least densely populated countries in Africa.
Since 1975, every single year has seen Angola’s population grow by well above 3%. If the current high level of birth rates continues, the county’s population is projected to pass 50 million by 2041 and 100 million by 2068. With current births at 5.55 per woman, Angola has one of the highest fertility rates in the world. The current median age of the country’s population is 16.7 years old.
Mali – 41.6
The West African country of Mali is some 1.24 million sq. km in area. The landlocked nation is the 8th largest country in Africa by area. The county’s projected population for 2023 is just over 23 million, which makes it one of the world’s least densely populated countries.
Since 2000, Mali’s population growth has averaged around 3%. If the current high birth rates continue, the county’s population will surpass 50 million by 2058 and 100 million by 2099. Angola’s current fertility rate of 5.92 is one of the highest in the world, which results in median age of the country’s population being at 16.3 years old.
Uganda – 41.60
The landlocked country of Uganda, with an area of only 241,038 sq. km, is a relatively small country in East-Central Africa. Its estimated populace for 2023 is more than 47.7 million, which gives the country a relatively high population density.
Uganda’s population growth rate has remained around 3% for the past several decades and is estimated at 3.32% for 2023. With a current fertility rate of 4.78 births, over 1 million people are added to the population each year. Based on current projections, the population is expected to surpass 100 million by 2050 and reach some 167 million by the end of the century. By 2100, Uganda’s population is expected to surpass that of Egypt, currently Africa’s second most populace country.
Benin – 41.55
The relatively small West African country of Benin has a total area of 112,622 sq. km and a population in 2023 of almost 13.7 million.
Since 1990, Benin’s population growth rate has hovered around the 3% mark, though it’s currently estimated at 2.73% for 2023. With a current fertility rate of 4.87 births, over 300,000 people are added to the country’s population each year. Based on current projections, the population is expected to surpass 30 million by 2030 and reach some 47 million by the end of the century, more than tripling its current number of people.
Header image credit: sandis sveicers/Shutterstock.com