Nigeria Will Have More People Than the United States by 2050

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Jan. 30 2014 12:53 PM

Nigeria Will Have More People Than the United States by 2050

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Traffic in Lagos is only going to get worse.

Photo by Pius Utomi Ekpei/AFP/Getty Images

The most important demographic story over the next few decades could be Nigeria. From a new Pew Research Global Attitudes Project report about attitudes toward aging around the world:

India, it is projected, will secure global demographic primacy by 2050. The population of India is expected to increase by more than 400 million from 2010 to 2050, to 1.6 billion. Meanwhile, the population of China may increase by only 25 million, remaining at about 1.4 billion. The U.S. is projected to add 89 million residents by 2050. However, the U.S. is likely to be displaced by Nigeria as the third most populous country. In 2050, India alone may be home to nearly as many people as China and the U.S. combined.
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All in all, Nigeria’s population is projected to grow about 176 percent, moving it from the seventh-most-populous country in the world to the third. By 2050, 25 percent of the world’s population will live in Africa, up from 15 percent in 2010.

Populations are aging rapidly almost everywhere, but nowhere as rapidly as in East Asia. The median age in Japan—already the oldest country in the world – is expected to increase from 45 to 53 by 2050. South Korea could catch up, increasing from 38 to 53.

Not surprisingly, Pew’s survey data show those two countries have the highest number of people describing an aging population as a “major problem.”

Joshua Keating is a staff writer at Slate focusing on international affairs and writes the World blog. 

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