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27.09.2004 General News

Deep Demographic divide dominates World population

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Ho, Sept. 27 GNA - The starkly uneven pace of population growth between most developing and industrialised nations represented the world's major demographic fault line.

According to the 2004 World Population Data Sheet of the Population Reference Bureau (PRB) published in Washington in the United States (US) nearly 99 per cent of all population increases took place in developing and poor countries, while population size was static or declining in the rich nations.

The statement noted that only the US now has significant population growth among the major industrialised nations in the world. As a consequence, by 2050 industrialised countries were projected to increase their population by merely four per cent. In contrast, the population of developing countries was expected to expand by 55 per cent.

Invariably, Western European populations for example would shrink while Western Asian nations were expected to gain about 186 million people by 2050.

Overall, world population would however reach 9.3 billion mark by mid-century. The world population reached 6.4 billion people in 2004 and would continue to grow by some 80 million each year.

The demographic contrasts among Nigeria, Japan and Ghana, as illustrated by the Sheet posed a differing challenge by the rich and poor countries.

According to the data, Nigeria's projected population by 2050 would hit a record high of 307.4 million from the present figure of 137.3 million people. Japan would however record a dip projection of 100.6 million by 2050 from the current figure of 127.6 million people with Ghana hitting the 39.5 million mark compared to 2004 figure of 21.4 million population.

The statement indicated that lifetime births per woman was averagely 5.7 in Nigeria while Japan and Ghana recorded 1.3 and 4.4 respectively. Nigeria and Ghana recorded 44 and 40 percent of population below age 15 with both countries recording three per cent each of population aged 65 and above. On the contrast, Japan had 14 per cent for age 15 and 19 percent for age 65 and above.

Life expectancy at birth was 52 in Nigeria, 58 in Ghana and 82 in Japan, while infant deaths per 1,000 births stood at 124 in Nigeria, 32 in Ghana and three in Japan.

The data indicated that the percentage of adults with HIV/AIDS as at December 2003 was 5.7 for Nigeria, 2.2 for Ghana and near zero for Japan.

It said Nigeria and Ghana had millions of young and rapid growing population to educate, feed and employ with vast investments and high quality of life to correspond with its growing population while Japan would find ways to take care of more and more retired people and still maintain an adequate workforce.

According to the data each situation is associated with its own set of social, economic, environmental and political challenges The statement said: "recent population slowing in Europe has created the impression that world population is well on the way to stability but so many demographic anomalies exist that the future is uncertain".

The statement urged policy-makers and researchers to monitor the demographic and health trends and make amends.