Today the global population reaches 8 billion people, which is four times greater than what the world had in 1927. The 2022 revision of United Nations population estimates and projections shows that the population will reach 9 billion in 15 years and 10 billion by 2058. This population increase will be concentrated primarily in the lowest-income countries, mainly in sub-Saharan Africa.
The growth in the global population in the last 100 years is the result of two important trends: the increase in life expectancy at birth due to improvements in public health, nutrition, personal hygiene and medicine, and the persistence of high levels of fertility in some of the world’s countries. Even though all countries have begun the demographic transition, with a decline in mortality and fertility, high overall fertility and adolescent fertility rates continue to exist in some countries. The timing and pace of the decline in fertility between countries and regions, along with continued reductions in mortality, have meant that births continue to exceed deaths on a global level and, therefore, the global population continues to grow.
Latin America and the Caribbean’s population represents 8.2% of the global population today, with a total of 662 million people, and it is projected that the region will achieve its maximum population in 2056, with a total of 752 million people. The region is characterized by a swift demographic transition that entailed it going from high levels of mortality and fertility in the 1950s to low levels for both variables currently.
That transition leads to significant changes in the population’s age structure in the region, which went from having in 1950 a percentage of the population 60 years of age and above that was similar to levels seen in Africa (5.2% in Latin America and 5.3% in Africa) to having in 2100 – according to the United Nations’ medium projection variant – similar levels to Europe (LAC: 38.2% and Europe: 38.8% of the population aged 60 or above). As a result, it is expected that in 2100 the percentage of the population aged 60 or above in the region will be higher than in Asia, North America, Oceania and Africa.
This change in the population’s age structure brings additional challenges to those already existing in the region, such as high levels of socioeconomic inequality and well-being, access to health and urban infrastructure, among other.
In addition, the region has shown vulnerabilities and difficulties for managing the health and economic crises stemming from the pandemic, as the region experienced the biggest decline in life expectancy at birth. Latin America and the Caribbean lost 2.9 years of life expectancy at birth between 2019 and 2021, marking an 18-year setback for that indicator and a significant reduction in the population’s growth in that period.
These and other trends will be presented at the virtual event to launch the Demographic Observatory 2022, which will take place on November 17, 2022, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. local time in Chile (GMT -3).
The publication, produced by the Latin American and Caribbean Demographic Centre (CELADE)-Population Division of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), gathers the population trends in Latin America and the Caribbean and reveals the demographic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Observatory is based on the 2022 revision of population estimates and projections (CELADE and the United Nations Population Division 2022) from 1950 to 2100, and it shows that the region has been one of the most affected by the health crisis in demographic terms. At the event, presenters will unveil the methodological innovations in this revision and will discuss the importance of having quality data and of having access to updated revisions of population estimates and projections in the region.