By 2050, the world population is expected to increase by 2.3 billion to 9.3 billion, according to the United Nations Population Division. But the size of the rural population is forecast to decline over the next 40 years as the world’s population becomes more urban. By 2050, the number of people living in urban areas is projected to reach 2011, about 150 countries or areas had fewer than 5 million people in urban areas. By 2030, the number of countries or areas in this category will fall to around 115.
Urbanization increases will be high in India and China but also in very poor countries including Bangladesh, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Nigeria and Pakistan. Urban population growth in several countries will exceed 2 percent per year and nearly 3 percent in some countries. Most of the growth from 2030 to 2050 is expected to be in India and Nigeria.
The data show big increases in world population over the next 40 years but an even bigger increase in the population living in urban areas. These developments will increase the need for food production but also increase the need for infrastructure. More food will need to be moved to city markets, and more storage and processing facilities will be needed. Many countries that already have a severe food deficit will experience significant expansion of the cities and will need to boost food imports.
These developments will have significant implications for world agriculture. 6.3 billion. Most of the increase will be in Asia, up 1.4 billion during the next 40 years, and Africa, up 900 million. Nearly 80 percent of the people living in developed countries already live in urban areas. The world’s urban population is forecast to increase by 72 percent by 2050, from 3.6 billion in 2011 to 6.3 billion in 2050. Virtually all of the growth is in less-developed countries. The rural population of these countries will decline by about 200 million over the next 40 years, based on the United Nations projections. A key assumption is that fertility rates will continue to decline. With no decline in fertility rates, the world population would be approximately 1 billion higher in 2050 than the UN’s medium variant indicates.
The forecast shows a turnaround in the change in the world’s rural population. The rural population of the less-developed countries has more than doubled since 1950, and it is expected to continue to increase until 2021. At present, 92 percent of the world’s rural population is in the less-developed countries of the world.