Tanzania is among nine top listed countries in the world to contribute more than half to the growth in global population level expected to top a 9.7 billion mark from the current 7.7 billion by 2050.
The latest U.N. Department of Economic and Social Affairs’ Population Division report reveals that Tanzania, in a descending order, takes the sixth slot after India, Nigeria, Pakistan, Congo and Ethiopia, while being followed by Indonesia, Egypt and the United States.
On the whole, the report says, while the population in sub-Saharan Africa is projected to nearly double by that time, that of the world is getting older and growing at a slower pace and could peak at around 11 billion by the end of the century.
But Population Division Director, John Wilmoths, observes that because 2100 is many decades away, this outcome “is not certain, and in the end the peak could come earlier or later, at a lower or higher level of total population.”
What Tanzania stands pick and note from the report is an observation of and equally warning from the Undersecretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs Lu Zhenmin. Lu says:
“Many of the fastest growing populations are in the poorest countries, where population growth brings additional challenges in the effort to eradicate poverty,” promote gender equality and improve health care and education.
The report confirmed that the world’s population is growing older due to increasing life expectancy and falling fertility levels.
The global fertility rate fell from 3.2 births per woman in 1990 to 2.5 births in 2019 and is projected to decline further to 2.2 births by 2050. To ensure population replacement and avoid declines, a fertility rate of 2.1 births per woman is required, according to the report.
In 2019, the fertility rate in sub-Saharan Africa was the highest at 4.6 births per woman, with Pacific islands, northern Africa, and western, central and southern Asia above the replacement level. But since 2010, the report says, 27 countries or areas have lost one per cent or more of their population.
As a result, the report says, “between 2019 and 2050, populations are projected to decrease by one per cent or more in 55 countries or areas, of which 26 may see a reduction of at least 10 percent. It cites where “the population is projected to decrease by 31.4 million, or around 2.2 percent” over that period.
While the report says decrease usually follows a reduction in the mortality level that initially instigated growth, Wilmoth at the launch news conference stressed on multiple factors, including increasing education and employment, especially for women, and more jobs in urban than rural areas, which motivate people away from costly large families to smaller families. But to achieve this, he said, people also need access to modern methods of contraception.
At a recent occasion organized by the Kilimanjaro Dialogue Institute (KDI in Dar es Salaam, it was observed that one of the biggest challenges facing Tanzania was urban population rise. The country’s economic powerhouse, Dar es Salaam, which is the biggest in East Africa, was said to be heading towards becoming the third most populated in Africa, after Lagos in Nigeria and Kinshasa in the DRC.
According to the “World Population Prospects 2019: Highlights” report, migration is also a major component of population growth or loss in some countries. Between 2010 and 2020, it said 14 countries or areas will see a net inflow of more than one million migrants while 10 countries will experience a similar loss.
For example, some of the largest outflows of people — including from Bangladesh, Nepal and the Philippines — are driven by the demand for migrant workers. But some migrants are driven from their home countries by violence, insecurity and conflict, including from Myanmar, Syria and Venezuela.
Countries experiencing a net inflow of migrants over the decade include Belarus, Estonia, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Japan, Russia, Serbia and Ukraine.