Population distribution refers to the arrangement or spread of people living in a given area and includes how the population of an area is arranged according to variables, such as age, race or sex.

Author: Gilly Wright
Project Coordinator: Denise Bedell, S.J. Yun
world population distribution

The global population was 7.244 billion as of July 2014 according to the medium fertility estimate by the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Population Division and it is projected to reach 7.325 billion in July 2015.

According to the World Health Organization in 2014, it is estimated that 54% of the world’s population is living in urban areas – with more than one billion people added to urban areas, globally, since 2000.

It was only in 2008, however that a majority of the world’s population, for the first time, lived in urban areas – resulting in major implications for health - and health equity (differences in the quality of health and healthcare across different populations).

By 2014, in 64 countries 80% or more of the population lived in urban areas; and in 28 additional countries 90% or more did so. UN-Habitat estimates that the number of people living in slum conditions, globally, is 863 million, in contrast to 760 million in 2000 and 650 million in 1990.

According to Hans Rosling, global health expert and a co-founder of Médecins Sans Frontièrs, however we have reached peak child – where the number of children is no longer growing in the world.

An aging population – the inevitable outcome of people living longer and choosing to have fewer children, is progressing more rapidly in developed nations, but is occurring or will soon begin in all major parts of the world. This creates economic, social and health challenges. 

A rate of two children per woman is considered the replacement rate for a population, rates above two children indicate populations growing in size and whose median age is declining and rates below two children indicate populations decreasing in size and growing older.

POPULATION DISTRIBUTION BY COUNTRY

Country Population total
(in thousands)
Population proportion under 15(%) Population proportion over 60 (%) Population median age(years) Population living in urban areas (%)
Afghanistan 30552 46.6 3.9 16.5 26
Albania 3173 20.6 15.3 32.9 55
Algeria 39208 27.7 7.4 26.9 70
Andorra 79 15.3 23.1   86
Angola 21472 47.4 3.9 16.3 43
Antigua
& Barbuda
90 25.7 12.6 30.5 25
Argentina 41446 24.2 15.1 31.1 92
Armenia 2977 20.3 14.3 32.7 63
Australia 23343 19 19.8 37.2 89
Austria 8495 14.5 23.7 42.7 66
Azerbaijan 9413 22.2 8.5 29.7 54
Bahamas 377 21.3 11.7 31.8 83
Bahrain 1332 20.7 3.3 30.1 89
Bangladesh 156595 30 7 25.1 33
Barbados 285 18.9 16.1 36.9 32
Belarus 9357 15.3 19.5 39.3 76
Belgium 11104 17 24 41.6 98
Belize 332 33.9 5.8 23 44
Benin 10323 42.7 4.6 18.4 43
Bhutan 754 28 7 25.8 37
Bolivia
(Plurinational State of)
10671 34.9 7.4 22.4 68
Bosnia &
Herzegovina
3829 15.8 20.9 39.5 40
Botswana 2021 33.5 5.8 22.5 57
Brazil 200362 24.1 11.2 30.3 85
Brunei Darussalam 418 25.3 7.5 30.5 77
Bulgaria 7223 13.7 26.4 43 73
Burkina Faso 16935 45.5 3.9 17.1 28
Burundi 10163 44.4 3.9 17.6 12
Cabo Verde 499 29.5 7.3 24.2 64
Cambodia 15135 31.1 7.9 24.4 20
Cameroon 22254 42.9 4.9 18.3 53
Canada 35182 16.4 21.3 40.1 82
Central African
Republic
4616 39.8 5.7 19.7 40
Chad 12825 48.3 3.8 15.8 22
Chile 17620 21.1 14.2 33.1 89
China 1393337 18 14 37.4 53
Colombia 48321 27.7 9.5 27.7 76
Comoros 735 42.1 4.6 19.1 28
Congo 4448 42.4 5.1 18.8 65
Cook Islands 21 30.3 9.3   74
Costa Rica 4872 23.5 10.5 29.7 75
Cote D’Ivoire 20316 41.3 5.1 19 53
Croatia 4290 14.8 25.1 42.6 58
Cuba 11266 16.2 18.5 40.1 77
Cyprus 1141 16.9 17.2 35.2 67
Czech Republic 10702 14.8 23.6 40.3 73
Democratic People's
Republic of Korea
24895 21.7 12.6 33.6 61
Democratic Republic
of the Congo
67514 44.9 4.5 17.4 42
Denmark 5619 17.5 24.2 41.1 87
Djibouti 873 33.7 6 22.8 77
Dominica 72 25.7 12.6   69
Dominican Republic 10404 30.2 9.2 25.8 77
Ecuador 15738 30 9.5 26.1 63
Egypt 82056 31.1 8.7 25.2 43
El Salvador 6340 29.9 9.8 24.1 66
Equatorial Guinea 757 38.8 4.7 20.6 40
Eritrea 6333 43.1 3.7 18.4 22
Estonia 1287 15.8 24.2 40.9 68
Ethiopia 94101 42.7 5.2 18.2 19
Fiji 881 28.8 8.6 27.1 53
Finland 5426 16.4 26.4 42.3 84
France 64291 18.2 24.2 40.6 79
Gabon 1672 38.4 7.3 20.7 87
Gambia 1849 45.8 3.7 17 58
Georgia 4341 17.9 19.7 37.6 53
Germany 82727 13.1 27.1 45.5 75
Ghana 25905 38.4 5.4 20.6 53
Greece 11128 14.6 25.7 42.8 77
Grenada 106 26.8 9.8 26.3 36
Guatemala 15468 40.4 6.6 19.4 51
Guinea 11745 42.3 5.1 18.6 36
Guinea-Bissau 1704 41.4 5.3 19.1 48
Guyana 800 36.1 5.3 22.6 28
Haiti 10317 35 6.8 22.2 56
Honduras 8098 35.2 6.5 21.9 54
Hungary 9955 14.7 23.9 40.6 70
Iceland 330 20.6 18 35.5 94
India 1252140 29.1 8.3 26.4 32
Indonesia 249866 28.9 8.1 27.8 52
Iran (Islamic
Republic of)
77447 23.8 8.1 28.5 72
Iraq 33765 40.1 5 19.7 69
Ireland 4627 21.6 16.9 35.3 63
Israel 7733 27.7 15.2 30.1 92
Italy 60990 14 27.2 44.3 69
Jamaica 2784 27.1 11.2 27.7 54
Japan 127144 13 32.4 45.9 93
Jordan 7274 33.7 5.3 23.4 83
Kazakhstan 16441 25.8 10.2 29.4 53
Kenya 44354 42.2 4.3 18.8 25
Kiribati 102 29.6 9.2 23.5 44
Kuwait 3369 24.7 3.7 29.2 98
Kyrgyzstan 5548 30.4 6.4 24.6 36
Lao People's
Democratic
Republic
6770 35.1 5.8 21.4 37
Latvia 2050 14.9 24.3 41.5 68
Lebanon 4822 20.7 12.1 29.8 88
Lesotho 2074 36.3 6.3 20.7 26
Liberia 4294 42.8 4.8 18.5 49
Libya 6202 29.5 7.2 26.6 78
Lithuania 3017 15.2 20.7 39.3 67
Luxembourg 530 17.4 19.3 39 90
Madagascar 22925 42.4 4.5 18.4 34
Malawi 16363 45.2 4.9 17.2 16
Malaysia 29717 26.1 8.5 27.4 73
Maldives 345 28.7 6.7 25 43
Mali 15302 47.3 4.2 16.3 38
Malta 429 14.7 23.5 40.9 95
Marshall Islands 53 29.6 9.2   72
Mauritania 3890 40 5 19.8 59
Mauritius 1244 19.7 13.7 34.6 40
Mexico 122332 28.5 9.5 27 79
Micronesia
(Federated States of)
104 35.2 7 21 22
Monaco 38 18.2 24.2   100
Mongolia 2839 27.2 5.9 26.8 70
Montenegro 621 18.8 19 37.1 64
Morocco 33008 27.9 7.8 27 59
Mozambique 25834 45.3 5 17.3 32
Myanmar 53259 24.9 8.4 29 33
Namibia 2303 36 5.4 21.2 45
Nauru 10 29.6 9.2   100
Nepal 27797 34.7 7.8 22.4 18
Netherlands 16759 17.1 23.4 41.8 89
New Zealand 4506 20.2 19.3 37 86
Nicaragua 6080 32.8 6.8 23.1 58
Niger 17831 50 4.2 15 18
Nigeria 173615 44.3 4.5 17.8 46
Niue 1 30.3 9.3   41
Norway 5043 18.6 21.6 39 80
Oman 3632 23.1 4 26.3 77
Pakistan 182143 33.8 6.5 22.5 38
Palau 21 29.6 9.2   86
Panama 3864 28.3 10.4 27.9 66
Papua New Guinea 7321 38 4.9 20.9 13
Paraguay 6802 32.4 8.2 23.9 59
Peru 30376 28.8 9.3 26.5 78
Philippines 98394 34.2 6.4 23 45
Poland 38217 14.9 21.1 38.8 61
Portugal 10608 14.8 24.7 42.2 62
Qatar 2169 13.4 1.7 31.7 99
Republic of Korea 49263 14.8 17.1 39.4 82
Republic of
Moldova
3487 16.6 17.2 35.8 45
Romania 21699 15.1 21 39.4 54
Russian Federation 142834 15.8 19 38.3 74
Rwanda 11777 42.8 4 18.2 27
Saint Kitts
& Nevis
54 25.7 12.6   32
Saint Lucia 182 23.9 12.2 30.5 19
Saint Vincent &
the Grenadines
109 25.3 10.2 29 50
Samoa 190 37.7 7.5 21 19
San Marino 31 14 27.2   94
Sao Tome &
Principe
193 41.6 4.7 19.2 64
Saudi Arabia 28829 29.2 4.8 27.5 83
Senegal 14133 43.5 4.5 18.1 43
Serbia 9511 16.3 21.1 38.7 55
Seychelles 93 21.8 10.1 32.6 53
Sierra Leone 6092 41.5 4.4 19.1 39
Singapore 5412 16 15.7 38.1 100
Slovakia 5450 15 19.2 38.2 54
Slovenia 2072 14.2 23.8 42.4 50
Solomon Islands 561 40.1 5.1 19.7 21
Somalia 10496 47.1 4.5 16.3 39
South Africa 52776 29.5 8.6 26 64
South Sudan 11296 42 5.2 18.6 18
Spain 46927 15.3 23.1 41.4 79
Sri Lanka 21273 25.2 12.7 31.4 18
Sudan 37964 41.2 5 19.2 34
Suriname 539 27.4 9.7 28.5 66
Swaziland 1250 37.7 5.4 20.1 21
Sweden 9571 16.9 25.5 41 86
Switzerland 8078 14.7 23.4 42 74
Syrian Arab
Republic
21898 35.2 6.3 22.4 57
Tajikistan 8208 35.8 4.9 21.7 27
Thailand 67010 18.1 14.5 36.9 48
The former
Yugoslav republic
of Macedonia
2107 16.7 18 37.1 57
Timor-Leste 1133 45.7 5.2 16.6 32
Togo 6817 41.8 4.4 18.9 39
Tonga 105 37.2 8 21.3 24
Trinidad
& Tobago
1341 20.8 13.6 33.3 9
Tunisia 10997 23.2 10.8 30.3 67
Turkey 74933 25.6 10.8 29.4 72
Turkmenistan 5240 28.5 6.5 25.6 49
Tuvalu 10 30.3 9.3   58
Uganda 37579 48.4 3.7 15.8 15
Ukraine 45239 14.4 21.2 39.7 69
United Arab
Emirates
9346 15 0.9 30 85
United Kingdom
of Great Britain
& Northern Ireland
63136 17.5 23.2 40.2 82
United Republic
of Tanzania
49253 44.8 4.9 17.5 30
United States
of America
320051 19.5 19.7 37.4 81
Uruguay 3407 21.8 18.7 34.4 95
Uzbekistan 28934 28.6 6.5 25.3 36
Vanuatu 253 36.9 6.2 21.7 26
Venezuela
(Bolivarian
Republic of)
30405 28.5 9.4 27 89
Viet Nam 91680 22.7 9.6 29.8 32
Yemen 24407 40.2 4.6 19.1 34
Zambia 14539 46.6 3.9 16.6 40
Zimbabwe 14150 39.6 5.7 19.5 33

Predictions of global population vary from 9.6 billion to 12.3 billion by 2100, according to United Nations Population Division. A far rosier prediction by Wolfgang Lutz and his colleagues at the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) in Vienna, Austria, suggests the global population will reach 9.4 billion in 2075 and fall to just under 9 billion by 2100.


Is Population Distribution Linked With Life Expectancy?


FACTORS AFFECTING POPULATION GROWTH

Educated women in developed countries bear fewer children, less than the replacement rate, while women in underdeveloped and developing countries bear more children - which is largely cited as being the result of a lack of educational opportunities and work opportunities for women in emerging countries, and lack of access to contraceptives in those countries.

Opinions on the impact of population growth and climate change are divergent. On the one hand, developed nations consume the most fossil fuels, despite stagnant or dropping populations, while rising populations in developing nations, especially Sub-Saharan Africa, consume far less fossil fuels – switching the debate from over-population to over-consumption.

However, according to the United Nations Population Fund, fast-growing developing countries (China and India) will contribute more than half of global CO2 emissions by 2050, so there is a concern that as developing nation’s contribution to global emissions grows, population size and growth rates will become significant factors in magnifying the impacts of climate change. The outcome of global talks on reducing carbon emissions are still to be seen.

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