This development puts the world before huge challenges. The same amount of natural resources need to feed an ever growing population. In 2022, today's population had used the amount of resources that the planet can reproduce in a year by the end of July, meaning that one would need 1.75 Earths if we continue to live like we do today. However, there are massive differences between countries and regions; whereas we would need more than five Earths if everyone lived like people in the United States, we would only need 0.8 if people lived like the average Indian inhabitant. Furthermore, the growing population correlates with an increasing urbanization, which often leads to growing pollution and larger slum areas. On the other hand, if planned well, cities can offer great opportunities in terms of employment and transport.
Africa: A continent with a booming populationMost of the global population growth in the coming decades is expected to take place in Africa. Whereas there live more than 1.4 billion people on the continent as of 2022, this figure is estimated to reach over 3.9 billion in 2100. Today, 40 percent of the continent's inhabitants are less than 15 years, and African countries show some of the largest population increases worldwide. Of course, the rate and amount of the population increase depend on future events such as famines and epidemics. Moreover, African countries are some of those who will be hardest affected by climate change, which will have an impact on migration and population developments.
Ageing populationsWhile African countries show a high share of children and youth in their populations, the pattern is completely opposite in many developed countries. For instance, most of the countries with the highest median age in the world are found in Europe and some Asian countries such as Japan. People in many of these countries tend to live longer, whereas women become mothers at a latter stage in life. Hence, many developed Asian and European countries have some of the lowest fertility rates in the world, meaning that the population increase in some of them only is sustained by immigration.
As a result, Europe's population is estimated to decrease by more than 150 million by 2100. Already, many of these countries are facing decreasing working-age populations and an increasing number of pensioners, forcing governments, companies, and families to rethink employment and elderly care over the next decades. In other words, whereas some of the challenges related to an increasing population, such as tackling climate change, are global, different regions and countries are facing different challenges in the decades to come.