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Ten facts about the world’s population

Africa and Asia are home to nearly 90% of the world’s rural population.

World Population Day, a United Nations’ initiative celebrated every year on July 11 to raise awareness about the exploding world population, focuses on reproductive rights this year to mark 50 years since family planning won recognition as a human right.

Here are 10 facts about the world’s population:

Reproductive rights

1. An estimated 214 million women in developing countries have an unmet need for modern contraception, with women in the poorest 20% of the population having the least access to sexual and reproductive health services.

2. Nearly half of the estimated 56 million abortions carried out worldwide each year are unsafe, leading to the deaths of at least 22 800 women every year, due to a combination of lack of access to contraception, strict laws on abortion and stigma around terminations.

3. 95% of the world’s births among adolescents girls occur in developing countries.

Growth of cities 

4.The world’s population totals 7.6 billion people and is expected to grow to nearly 10 billion by the middle of this century before levelling off at around 11.2 billion by the end.

5. More people live in urban than rural areas, with 55% residing in urban areas in 2018, compared to 30% in 1950. By 2050 this proportion is expected to reach approximately 70%.

6. The most urbanised regions are North America (with 82% of people living in urban areas), Latin America and the Caribbean (81%), Europe (74%) and Oceania (68%).

7. Asia is about 50% urbanised, while Africa is still predominantly rural (43%).

8. Africa and Asia are home to nearly 90% of the world’s rural population, with India having the largest number of people living in rural areas (893 million), followed by China (578 million).

9.Tokyo is the world’s largest city with 37 million inhabitants, followed by Delhi with 29 million and Shanghai with 26 million people.

10.The world is ageing rapidly. People aged 60 and older make up 12.3% of the global population, and by 2050, that number will rise to almost 22%.

Sources: UN Population Division, UN Population Fund, Guttmacher Institute 

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