UNICEF Report: Africa's Population Could Hit 4 Billion By 2100 | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio
Filed Under:

UNICEF Report: Africa's Population Could Hit 4 Billion By 2100

Play associated audio

"The future of humanity is increasingly African."

That's the prediction in a new UNICEF report, which estimates that by the end of this century, 40 percent of the world's people will be African — up from 15 percent now. The continent's population currently sits at roughly 1.2 billion but will soar to more than 4 billion by 2100. Nearly 1 billion will live in Nigeria alone.

In a report released Wednesday, UNICEF projected the growth of Africa's child population within the next century. And the numbers are staggering.

An estimated 1.8 billion births will take place in Africa in the next 35 years, the authors predict. By 2050, Africa will have almost 1 billion children under 18, making up nearly 40 percent of kids worldwide.

Lead author David Anthony tells NPR's Melissa Block on All Things Considered that even the researchers were surprised by the findings. "[We] knew that the world's population was swinging toward Africa," he says. "But there have been new estimates released by the U.N. population division ... that shows an even stronger swing than we have anticipated."

Fertility rates have fallen in Africa but remain high compared with the rest of the world. Meanwhile, the number of women of reproductive age has grown enormously and is set to more than double in the next 35 years.

"So even though fertility rates are declining, the number of women having babies will increase so much that it will kind of offset, and you'll have increasing numbers [of births]," he says.

And while half of all deaths among children in the world occur in Africa — 1 out of every 11 African children dies before reaching 5 — child mortality has slowed since the '90s, according to the report.

Anthony says that the upswing in population presents both an opportunity and a challenge, depending on how the African governments handle it.

On one hand, he says, it's possible for Africa to thrive from the right policy decisions: "We want to see African leaders ... make the correct and right investments in children that are needed to build a skilled, dynamic African labor force that's productive and can grow, and can add value to the economy."

But, he warns, a lack of investment could result in mass poverty and mass inequality: "The worst thing would be if this transition was just allowed to happen because what you're going to see is an unparalleled growth of the slum population."

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

NPR

Making A Change To Keep A Constant Consonant

Given two words, change the first consonant sound in each word to the same new consonant sound and you'll phonetically name two things in the same category.
NPR

Need A New Sweet Potato Recipe For Your Thanksgiving Table? Try Gnocchi

Because some cooks like to mix it up for Thanksgiving, we offer a Found Recipe from our archives: Julia Della Croce's purple sweet potato gnocchi.
WAMU 88.5

Marion Barry, Legend Of D.C. Politics, Dies At 78

The former mayor and current Ward 8 Council member had visited a hospital earler on Saturday and died around midnight at United Medical Center.

NPR

Car Ride Service Puts Gender In The Driver's Seat

Car share programs are extremely popular, but so are concerns for safety. NPR's Tess Vigeland talks to Stella Mateo, founder of SheRides, which allows passengers to choose the gender of their driver.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.