Skip to main content

Main Area

Main

Countries expected to grow the most in the next 20 years

  • Countries expected to grow the most in the next 20 years

    The world's population of more than 7 billion people is expected to grow at an average annual rate of 0.83% over the next 20 years. The 50 fastest-growing countries in population over the next 20 years are all growing at more than double that rate, with the top country expecting a population surge of 3.5%.

    To determine the 50 fastest-growing countries in the next 20 years, Stacker looked to the United Nations' World Population Prospects 2019 to rank countries by the average annual rate of population change from 2020 to 2040. Estimates are based on all available sources of data on population size and levels of fertility, mortality, and international migration for 235 distinct countries or areas comprising the total population of the world.

    Common themes among the 50 countries on the list are high levels of poverty leading to high levels of fertility. Cultural prevalence toward large families was also a common factor contributing to rapid population growth.

    Syria is among the outliers, along with Iraq and Afghanistan, where much of the impending population growth can be attributed to refugees returning home after years of civil war. Forty-one of the countries are on the continent of Africa, six in the Middle East, two in the South Pacific and one, French Guiana, in South America.

    Size didn't matter when it came to population growth, with Africa's smallest mainland nation, Gambia; second-smallest island nation, Sao Tome and Principe; and four of the continent's five largest nations represented.

    The CIA World Factbook provides an updated breakdown of each country in a variety of categories, including economic and social factors, while World Bank Group aims to end poverty through funding for many of these developing countries.

    Read on to discover Stacker's list of the top 50 fastest-growing countries over the next 20 years.

    You may also like: Space discoveries that will blow your mind

  • #50. Sierra Leone

    - Average annual rate of predicted population change: 1.76% (112% above world average)
    --- 2020-2025 rate: 1.98% (102% above world average)
    --- 2025-2030 rate: 1.83% (110% above world average)
    --- 2030-2035 rate: 1.69% (117% above world average)
    --- 2035-2040 rate: 1.54% (123% above world average)

    Located on the west coast of Africa, Sierra Leone's projected population growth can be attributed to a total fertility rate approaching 4.69 children born per woman. Since gaining its independence from the United Kingdom in 1961, Sierra Leone has struggled with poverty and poor infrastructure. The worst maternal mortality rate in the world and one of the highest infant mortality rates, along with an average life expectancy of just 50 years, have prevented Sierra Leone's population growth from exploding.

  • #49. Yemen

    - Average annual rate of predicted population change: 1.79% (116% above world average)
    --- 2020-2025 rate: 2.11% (115% above world average)
    --- 2025-2030 rate: 1.88% (116% above world average)
    --- 2030-2035 rate: 1.68% (115% above world average)
    --- 2035-2040 rate: 1.49% (116% above world average)

    Positioned in a critical spot between the Red Sea and Gulf of Aiden, Yemen has been in a state of civil war off and on since its unification in 1990. Fighting between the Houthi rebels and the Yemeni government resumed in 2014 and has led to a humanitarian crisis that the United Nations called the “worst in the world” in 2019. Forty percent of children under the age of 5 are considered underweight, the highest rate in the world, and the lack of infrastructure and governance have made Yemen a hotbed of terrorist activity.

     

  • #48. Eritrea

    - Average annual rate of predicted population change: 1.83% (121% above world average)
    --- 2020-2025 rate: 1.73% (77% above world average)
    --- 2025-2030 rate: 1.85% (113% above world average)
    --- 2030-2035 rate: 1.91% (145% above world average)
    --- 2035-2040 rate: 1.84% (167% above world average)

    Eritrea gained its independence from Ethiopia in 1991 following 30 years of armed conflict, and ever since it has had one of the worst human rights records in the world. State-run media, indefinite mandatory military service, bans on certain religions, severe travel restrictions, and the arbitrary detention of its citizens are just some of the human rights violations cited by Amnesty International. Despite these factors, low infant and maternal mortality rates, along with a high total fertility rate, have kept Eritrea growing.

  • #47. Ghana

    - Average annual rate of predicted population change: 1.84% (122% above world average)
    --- 2020-2025 rate: 2.04% (108% above world average)
    --- 2025-2030 rate: 1.90% (118% above world average)
    --- 2030-2035 rate: 1.77% (127% above world average)
    --- 2035-2040 rate: 1.65% (139% above world average)

    The discovery of oil off the Ghanaian coast around 2008 pushed the small African country's economy to one of the fastest-growing in the world. Life expectancy increased rapidly over that time span as the government has fought to stop the HIV/AIDS crisis, which claims an estimated 16,000 lives each year, among the worst in the world. High unemployment and a lack of access to electricity outside major cities has stunted population growth.

  • #46. Western Sahara

    - Average annual rate of predicted population change: 1.86% (124% above world average)
    --- 2020-2025 rate: 2.25% (130% above world average)
    --- 2025-2030 rate: 1.97% (126% above world average)
    --- 2030-2035 rate: 1.72% (121% above world average)
    --- 2035-2040 rate: 1.51% (119% above world average)

    Recognized by the United Nations as a non-self-governing territory, Western Sahara is primarily under the control of Morocco, which has been trying to annex it. Moroccans migrating have, and will continue to, contribute to increases in Western Sahara's population, which stands at slightly more than 500,000 people. High birth and low death rates, along with an increasing life expectancy, will help spur growth.

  • #45. Tajikistan

    - Average annual rate of predicted population change: 1.87% (125% above world average)
    --- 2020-2025 rate: 2.04% (108% above world average)
    --- 2025-2030 rate: 1.80% (107% above world average)
    --- 2030-2035 rate: 1.80% (131% above world average)
    --- 2035-2040 rate: 1.82% (164% above world average)

    The poorest of the former Soviet countries, Tajikistan's economy relies largely on workers in Russia paying remittances. The spread of violence from neighboring Afghanistan, a robust opioid market, and internal conflicts and corruption have kept Tajikistan's economy from expanding. A low death rate and a quality education sector will help contribute to population growth.

  • #44. Comoros

    - Average annual rate of predicted population change: 1.88% (127% above world average)
    --- 2020-2025 rate: 2.08% (112% above world average)
    --- 2025-2030 rate: 1.94% (123% above world average)
    --- 2030-2035 rate: 1.81% (132% above world average)
    --- 2035-2040 rate: 1.69% (145% above world average)

    A tiny nation off the eastern coast of Africa, Comoros is composed of three main islands, with a total population at just over 800,000. One of the world's poorest and smallest economies, the Comoros GDP ranks 201st in the world and the country is forced to import roughly 70% of its food despite 80% of the workforce being employed in agriculture. Many natives migrate to France or illegally immigrate to nearby Mayotte, a French island, to escape poverty. The country is the largest producer of ylang ylang oil in the world.

  • #43. Afghanistan

    - Average annual rate of predicted population change: 1.90% (129% above world average)
    --- 2020-2025 rate: 2.24% (129% above world average)
    --- 2025-2030 rate: 1.99% (129% above world average)
    --- 2030-2035 rate: 1.79% (129% above world average)
    --- 2035-2040 rate: 1.58% (129% above world average)

    The Borgen Project, an international campaign to fight global hunger, reports five major active growth plans in Afghanistan, including road connectivity, urban development, and grain reserve projects. The programs, funded by the World Bank, are part of the $11.4 billion Afghanistan Reconstruction Trust Fund started in 2002 to rebuild the South-Central Asian country that has proven a success thus far.

  • #42. Gabon

    - Average annual rate of predicted population change: 1.92% (131% above world average)
    --- 2020-2025 rate: 2.23% (128% above world average)
    --- 2025-2030 rate: 1.97% (126% above world average)
    --- 2030-2035 rate: 1.79% (129% above world average)
    --- 2035-2040 rate: 1.68% (143% above world average)

    The Central African and Atlantic coastline country of Gabon is rich in natural resources composed of protected land, including the Loango and Lopé national parks. Since joining the World Bank in 1963, Gabon has grown with up to 20 countrywide projects enhancing the region in several sectors. As the fifth-largest oil producer in Africa in the past five years, the natural resource made up 80% of exports and 45% of GDP, which keeps the country growing, along with its abundance of manganese.

  • #41. Kenya

    - Average annual rate of predicted population change: 1.96% (136% above world average)
    --- 2020-2025 rate: 2.19% (123% above world average)
    --- 2025-2030 rate: 2.05% (136% above world average)
    --- 2030-2035 rate: 1.89% (142% above world average)
    --- 2035-2040 rate: 1.69% (145% above world average)

    The vision of Kenya 2030, a plan that began in 2008 to advance the east African country on the Indian Ocean coastline, has greatly developed the region. From founding the new 2010 Kenya Constitution, and commissioning the Thika Superhighway in 2012 and the Kisumu Oil Jetty in 2017, “Kenya has the potential to be one of Africa's success stories,” according to The World Bank.

2018 All rights reserved.