The majority of the world's population lives in Asia, with China and India being the world's most populous countries, accounting for over 2.7 billion of the planet's total population. However, the highest population increase over the next decades is expected to take place in Africa, where 40 percent of the population is below 15 years old and where the highest birth rates in the world are found.
Births and deathsThe global fertility rate decreased over the past 10 years, meaning that each woman of child-bearing age on Earth is having fewer children. The highest fertility rates worldwide are found in the least-developed and low income countries, but also here the fertility rates haven fallen significantly over the past years. Looking at individual countries, Taiwan has the lowest fertility rate worldwide, whereas the highest is found in Niger. Another characteristic of the middle- and high income countries is that women tend to have children at a later stage in life. As a high number of low income countries are found in Africa, it is not surprising that countries in West and Central Africa have the highest adolescent fertility rate worldwide, which is the number of children born per 1,000 girls between the ages of 15 and 19 years old.
While the highest fertility rates are found in African countries, the highest death rates are found in Eastern European countries. One reason behind this is the high number of COVID-19 -related deaths in these countries in 2020, where a combination of an old population, low vaccination rates, and poor enforcement of policies aimed at curbing the outbreak led to high death tolls. Bulgaria, the country with the highest death rate worldwide that year, had a death rate of 18 per 1,000 inhabitants. Worldwide, there were 7.52 deaths per 1,000 inhabitants in 2019, which was the year before the outbreak of COVID-19.