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Countries expected to grow the most in the next 20 years

  • Countries expected to grow the most in the next 20 years
    1/ Unsplash

    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.

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  • #50. Sierra Leone
    2/ Robertonencini // Shutterstock

    #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
    3/ Rod Waddington // Flickr

    #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
    4/ Homo Cosmicos // Shutterstock

    #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
    5/ USAID in Africa // Flickr

    #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
    6/ FADEL SENNA/AFP // Getty Images

    #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
    7/ Vershinin89 // Shutterstock

    #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
    8/ Haryamouji // Wikimedia Commons

    #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
    9/ Elyas B // Shutterstock

    #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
    10/ STEVE JORDAN/AFP // Getty Images

    #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
    11/ Unsplash

    #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.

  • #40. State of Palestine
    12/ DDCoral // Shutterstock

    #40. State of Palestine

    - Average annual rate of predicted population change: 1.99% (140% above world average)
    --- 2020-2025 rate: 2.28% (133% above world average)
    --- 2025-2030 rate: 2.07% (138% above world average)
    --- 2030-2035 rate: 1.89% (142% above world average)
    --- 2035-2040 rate: 1.73% (151% above world average)

    Composed of the West Bank and Gaza Strip, the State of Palestine still battles with Israel over political and religious differences, which keeps the state from growing more rapidly. However, since the 1990s, The World Bank has dramatically invested in the State of Palestine in many ways, including enhancing its electricity sector, further developing its municipal complex, strengthening the business environment, and providing teacher education improvements. All of these upgrades have helped Palestine see an average annual population growth rate of 1.99%.

  • #39. Central African Republic
    13/ sandis sveicers // Shutterstock

    #39. Central African Republic

    - Average annual rate of predicted population change: 2.0% (141% above world average)
    --- 2020-2025 rate: 2% (104% above world average)
    --- 2025-2030 rate: 2.14% (146% above world average)
    --- 2030-2035 rate: 2.03% (160% above world average)
    --- 2035-2040 rate: 1.82% (164% above world average)

    The Central African Republic is the “world's forgotten crisis,” CNN reported about the 1.2 million displaced people living among rebel groups while officials seek peace in the landlocked country bordered by Sudan, the Congo, Chad, and Cameroon. Despite the internal displacement in the country, inflation fell in 2017 and the country's GDP grew 4.3%, according to the World Bank, which noted that the government's current deficit “will improve from an 8.4% deficit in 2018 to 6.7% in 2000.”

  • #38. Sao Tome and Principe
    14/ BOULENGER xavier // Shutterstock

    #38. Sao Tome and Principe

    - Average annual rate of predicted population change: 2.02% (143% above world average)
    --- 2020-2025 rate: 1.95% (99% above world average)
    --- 2025-2030 rate: 2.09% (140% above world average)
    --- 2030-2035 rate: 2.06% (164% above world average)
    --- 2035-2040 rate: 1.98% (187% above world average)

    The two islands off the Atlantic coast of Gabon make up the second-smallest country in Africa behind the Seychelles. The country has made a push to increase tourism to the tropical islands to stem growing poverty. High fertility rates among a youthful society will keep the population growing in the near future.

  • #37. South Sudan
    15/ Pixabay

    #37. South Sudan

    - Average annual rate of predicted population change: 2.05% (146% above world average)
    --- 2020-2025 rate: 2.14% (118% above world average)
    --- 2025-2030 rate: 2.1% (141% above world average)
    --- 2030-2035 rate: 2.04% (162% above world average)
    --- 2035-2040 rate: 1.90% (175% above world average)

    South Sudan gained independence from Sudan in 2011 after decades of civil war. Unrest has continued into 2019 and led to nearly 2 million seeking refuge in surrounding nations. Almost half the population lives below the poverty level, but high fertility and future stabilization leading to the return of refugees could spur population growth.

  • #36. Iraq
    16/ Unsplash

    #36. Iraq

    - Average annual rate of predicted population change: 2.05% (147% above world average)
    --- 2020-2025 rate: 2.33% (138% above world average)
    --- 2025-2030 rate: 2.1% (141% above world average)
    --- 2030-2035 rate: 1.95% (150% above world average)
    --- 2035-2040 rate: 1.81% (162% above world average)

    The end of decades of war and the defeat of the Islamic State group within Iraq means many refugees are returning home from Syria. The influx will foster the near-term increase in population, while high fertility and life expectancy will have a positive effect in the long term. The economy has struggled to recover, despite large oil reserves.

  • #35. Rwanda
    17/ Jennifer Sophie // Shutterstock

    #35. Rwanda

    - Average annual rate of predicted population change: 2.08% (151% above world average)
    --- 2020-2025 rate: 2.36% (141% above world average)
    --- 2025-2030 rate: 2.15% (147% above world average)
    --- 2030-2035 rate: 1.98% (154% above world average)
    --- 2035-2040 rate: 1.83% (165% above world average)

    One of the smallest countries on mainland Africa, Rwanda suffered a genocide in 1993 that saw nearly 1 million Tutsi killed by Hutu extremists. The economy has recovered amid stability in the country, and increased education and family planning has helped slow fertility rates that reached over eight children per woman in 1960. Agriculture is one of the driving forces behind the economy, with coffee and tea among its primary exports.

  • #33. Vanuatu (tie)
    18/ Ikonya // Shutterstock

    #33. Vanuatu (tie)

    - Average annual rate of predicted population change: 2.1% (153% above world average)
    --- 2020-2025 rate: 2.28% (133% above world average)
    --- 2025-2030 rate: 2.15% (147% above world average)
    --- 2030-2035 rate: 2.04% (162% above world average)
    --- 2035-2040 rate: 1.93% (180% above world average)

    The Republic of Vanuatu is a chain of more than 80 volcanic islands in the South Pacific Ocean that is the most linguistically diverse in the world. Agriculture is the primary industry in Vanuatu, which boasts one of the lowest unemployment rates at just 1.6%. Climate change has posed problems, but the development of drought-resistant crops has helped level growth.

  • #33. Guinea-Bissau (tie)
    19/ Peek Creative Collective // Shutterstock

    #33. Guinea-Bissau (tie)

    - Average annual rate of predicted population change: 2.10% (153% above world average)
    --- 2020-2025 rate: 2.31% (136% above world average)
    --- 2025-2030 rate: 2.16% (148% above world average)
    --- 2030-2035 rate: 2.03% (160% above world average)
    --- 2035-2040 rate: 1.9% (175% above world average)

    The small African nation of Guinea-Bissau is the world's fifth-largest exporter of cashews, but fluctuations and smuggling have led to economic instability and one of the lowest GDP's in the world. Nearly two-thirds of the population lives below the poverty level, while high fertility and low mortality rates have grown the population. Drug smuggling has been rampant in Guinea-Bissau since ongoing political unrest has reduced oversight of ports.

  • #32. Ethiopia
    20/ Unsplash

    #32. Ethiopia

    - Average annual rate of predicted population change: 2.12% (155% above world average)
    --- 2020-2025 rate: 2.42% (147% above world average)
    --- 2025-2030 rate: 2.22% (155% above world average)
    --- 2030-2035 rate: 2.01% (158% above world average)
    --- 2035-2040 rate: 1.82% (164% above world average)

    The second-most populated country in Africa after Nigeria, nearly 24% of Ethiopia's 110 million people live below the poverty level. The country boasted rapid economic growth over the past decade and improvements to quality of life have followed. Coffee and oil seeds remain the country's primary exports, but its position on the Horn of Africa make it a strategic point between Africa and the Middle East.

  • #31. Mayotte
    21/ Pixabay

    #31. Mayotte

    - Average annual rate of predicted population change: 2.15% (159% above world average)
    --- 2020-2025 rate: 2.35% (140% above world average)
    --- 2025-2030 rate: 2.22% (155% above world average)
    --- 2030-2035 rate: 2.1% (169% above world average)
    --- 2035-2040 rate: 1.93% (180% above world average)

    Extending off the Comoros archipelago, Mayotte is considered an overseas department of France. Immigration from the nearby Comoros, as well as other African nations has fueled population growth and caused unrest among citizens. Its association with France, and political and social stability make it one of the better economies in Africa.

  • #30. French Guiana
    22/ Spotting973 // Wikimedia Commons

    #30. French Guiana

    - Average annual rate of predicted population change: 2.17% (161% above world average)
    --- 2020-2025 rate: 2.44% (149% above world average)
    --- 2025-2030 rate: 2.25% (159% above world average)
    --- 2030-2035 rate: 2.08% (167% above world average)
    --- 2035-2040 rate: 1.91% (177% above world average)

    The lone South American nation in the top 50 countries expected to grow the most in the next two decades is French Guiana, an overseas region of France. Nearly 15% of the workforce is employed around the European Space Agency, as the city of Kourou is a primary launch site for satellites. Protests that shut down the country in 2017 spurred France to issue 2.1 billion euros in foreign aid to the economically challenged region.

  • #29. Liberia
    23/ blk24ga // Wikimedia Commons

    #29. Liberia

    - Average annual rate of predicted population change: 2.18% (163% above world average)
    --- 2020-2025 rate: 2.36% (141% above world average)
    --- 2025-2030 rate: 2.26% (160% above world average)
    --- 2030-2035 rate: 2.13% (173% above world average)
    --- 2035-2040 rate: 1.98% (187% above world average)

    Located on the Atlantic coast of Africa, Liberia began as a settlement for freed slaves from the United States, establishing a republic in 1847. Civil war destroyed the economy, with over 80% of the population living on less than $1.25 per day, according to the Borgen Project. Efforts to rebuild the country have led to a dramatic drop in infant and child mortality, although Liberia still ranks among the worst in the world in both areas.

  • #28. Sudan
    24/ Frontpage // Shutterstock

    #28. Sudan

    - Average annual rate of predicted population change: 2.19% (164% above world average)
    --- 2020-2025 rate: 2.37% (142% above world average)
    --- 2025-2030 rate: 2.26% (160% above world average)
    --- 2030-2035 rate: 2.13% (173% above world average)
    --- 2035-2040 rate: 1.99% (188% above world average)

    Civil war for much of the 20th century led to South Sudan gaining its independence in 2011. Fighting within Sudan has continued into 2019, with President Omar al-Bashir being overthrown and arrested in April. A high net migration rate from neighboring countries Eritrea and Ethiopia, along with high birth and fertility rates, means the population of Africa's third-largest country is growing.

  • #27. Togo
    25/ Homo Cosmicos // Shutterstock

    #27. Togo

    - Average annual rate of predicted population change: 2.20% (165% above world average)
    --- 2020-2025 rate: 2.35% (140% above world average)
    --- 2025-2030 rate: 2.26% (160% above world average)
    --- 2030-2035 rate: 2.16% (177% above world average)
    --- 2035-2040 rate: 2.03% (194% above world average)

    One of the more densely populated nations in Africa, nearly 60% of Togo's people are under the age of 25. High fertility rates and lack of education and jobs foretell a continued expansion of the population. The Togolese are among the unhappiest in the world, leading to protests against the current government, and calls for EU pressure to help improve democracy.

  • #26. Solomon Islands
    26/ Robert Taupongi/AFP // Getty Images

    #26. Solomon Islands

    - Average annual rate of predicted population change: 2.21% (166% above world average)
    --- 2020-2025 rate: 2.37% (142% above world average)
    --- 2025-2030 rate: 2.23% (156% above world average)
    --- 2030-2035 rate: 2.15% (176% above world average)
    --- 2035-2040 rate: 2.07% (200% above world average)

    The South Pacific island chain consists of six main islands and over 900 smaller islands. Ethnic violence and armed militia groups plagued the Solomon Islands in the early 2000s, leading to an Australian-led force being called to establish law and order. Stability has helped grow the economy and led to Australian investment in the Solomon Islands.

  • #25. Cameroon
    27/ Kurt Bauschardt // Flickr

    #25. Cameroon

    - Average annual rate of predicted population change: 2.28% (175% above world average)
    --- 2020-2025 rate: 2.47% (152% above world average)
    --- 2025-2030 rate: 2.34% (169% above world average)
    --- 2030-2035 rate: 2.22% (185% above world average)
    --- 2035-2040 rate: 2.09% (203% above world average)

    Political stability since gaining its independence from France in 1960 was broken in 2017 for the country of 25 million. At just 59.4, Cameroon has one of the lowest life expectancies in the world, with the AIDS crisis affecting nearly 4% of the population, according to the CIA. High fertility rates and low infant and child mortality rates should precipitate population growth in the near future.

  • #24. Congo
    28/ Mr. Kabwende // Shutterstock

    #24. Congo

    - Average annual rate of predicted population change: 2.32% (180% above world average)
    --- 2020-2025 rate: 2.44% (149% above world average)
    --- 2025-2030 rate: 2.37% (172% above world average)
    --- 2030-2035 rate: 2.29% (194% above world average)
    --- 2035-2040 rate: 2.18% (216% above world average)

    The Congo is considered to be two countries, with the broader southeast region called the Democratic Republic of Congo and the smaller northwest area called the Republic of Congo. The World Bank, which funds growth in both areas, has supported Congo's growth in infrastructure, human development, private sector advancement, education and health, and social services.

  • #23. Côte d'Ivoire
    29/ Abdallahh // Flickr

    #23. Côte d'Ivoire

    - Average annual rate of predicted population change: 2.34% (182% above world average)
    --- 2020-2025 rate: 2.50% (155% above world average)
    --- 2025-2030 rate: 2.41% (177% above world average)
    --- 2030-2035 rate: 2.28% (192% above world average)
    --- 2035-2040 rate: 2.16% (213% above world average)

    Also called Ivory Coast, Côte d'Ivoire's top natural resource is cocoa, accounting for 38.7% of the region's exports, according to trade metrics website World's Top Exports. Other top exports include mineral fuels and oil at 15.9%, and fruits and nuts at 11.7%. All of the top 10 exports on the Ivory Coast provide up to 88.5% of the country's overall global product value. The developing country's official language is French.

  • #22. Nigeria
    30/ Alucardion // Shutterstock

    #22. Nigeria

    - Average annual rate of predicted population change: 2.34% (182% above world average)
    --- 2020-2025 rate: 2.48% (153% above world average)
    --- 2025-2030 rate: 2.39% (175% above world average)
    --- 2030-2035 rate: 2.30% (195% above world average)
    --- 2035-2040 rate: 2.19% (217% above world average)

    The west African country off the Gulf of Guinea has seen a 3% rise in its GDP halfway through 2019, according to Reuters. The developing country, which has almost 200 million people, launched the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan in 2017 with three objectives: restoring Nigeria's growth, investing in the people, and forming a competitive worldwide economy. Additionally, The World Bank has assisted Nigeria's growth by providing more than 130 International Bank for Reconstruction Development loans to the country.

  • #21. Mauritania
    31/ Homo Cosmicos // Shutterstock

    #21. Mauritania

    - Average annual rate of predicted population change: 2.35% (183% above world average)
    --- 2020-2025 rate: 2.58% (163% above world average)
    --- 2025-2030 rate: 2.41% (177% above world average)
    --- 2030-2035 rate: 2.26% (190% above world average)
    --- 2035-2040 rate: 2.13% (209% above world average)

    The CIA's World Factbook reports that the northwest African country's growth and GDP percent rise is because of foreign investors funding both the oil and mining industries. In 2017, the International Monetary Fund agreed to assist Mauritania in maintaining macroeconomic stability, reporting that an offshore gas field could spur further growth and profits expected to extend until 2022. While the country profits from oil and gas, the population depends on local fisheries and livestock to survive.

  • #20. Madagascar
    32/ GIANLUIGI GUERCIA/AFP // Getty Images

    #20. Madagascar

    - Average annual rate of predicted population change: 2.37% (185% above world average)
    --- 2020-2025 rate: 2.58% (163% above world average)
    --- 2025-2030 rate: 2.45% (182% above world average)
    --- 2030-2035 rate: 2.29% (194% above world average)
    --- 2035-2040 rate: 2.15% (212% above world average)

    The island country in the Indian Ocean, filled with rainforests, waterfalls, and large natural parks, has enjoyed sustained growth for half a decade, reports The World Bank. But growth has been restricted in agriculture, with many Madagascar farmers suffering because of climatic fluctuations and transportation problems, which prevents the developing country from growing faster.

  • #19. Senegal
    33/ Pixabay

    #19. Senegal

    - Average annual rate of predicted population change: 2.41% (190% above world average)
    --- 2020-2025 rate: 2.59% (164% above world average)
    --- 2025-2030 rate: 2.46% (183% above world average)
    --- 2030-2035 rate: 2.34% (200% above world average)
    --- 2035-2040 rate: 2.23% (223% above world average)

    The 2019 economic expansion and growth of Senegal, a country on Africa's west coast, is based on several sectors, including transport infrastructure, tourism, and textiles, according to the humanitarian portal ReliefWeb. Though there are "pockets of food insecurity," the low food inflation rate, which averaged 2.57% from 2010 until now, helps feed the country of nearly 17 million. "The findings in oil and gas, and the stable political environment also contribute to maintain a robust economic growth," notes ReliefWeb.

  • #18. Guinea
    34/ Flightseeing-Germany // Shutterstock

    #18. Guinea

    - Average annual rate of predicted population change: 2.43% (193% above world average)
    --- 2020-2025 rate: 2.66% (171% above world average)
    --- 2025-2030 rate: 2.52% (190% above world average)
    --- 2030-2035 rate: 2.36% (203% above world average)
    --- 2035-2040 rate: 2.19% (217% above world average)

    Located on the western coast of Africa, Guinea's declining mortality rate and high birth rate are spurring population growth. Despite vast diamond and gold deposits, and the highest per capita income on the continent, nearly half the population lives below the poverty level. Guinea is second in the world, behind Somalia, with a 97% rate of female genital mutilation, which contributes to one of the worst rates of infant and maternal mortality in the world.

  • #17. Uganda
    35/ USAID in Africa // Flickr

    #17. Uganda

    - Average annual rate of predicted population change: 2.44% (193% above world average)
    --- 2020-2025 rate: 2.68% (173% above world average)
    --- 2025-2030 rate: 2.56% (194% above world average)
    --- 2030-2035 rate: 2.36% (203% above world average)
    --- 2035-2040 rate: 2.14% (210% above world average)

    Uganda had one of the highest birth rates, with nearly six children per woman in 2018. Over 75% of Uganda's 40 million residents live without electricity, though efforts are aimed at reducing that number. Uganda has taken in nearly 1 million refugees from nearby South Sudan.

  • #16. Benin
    36/ Masaki ABE // Shutterstock

    #16. Benin

    - Average annual rate of predicted population change: 2.45% (195% above world average)
    --- 2020-2025 rate: 2.62% (167% above world average)
    --- 2025-2030 rate: 2.51% (189% above world average)
    --- 2030-2035 rate: 2.39% (206% above world average)
    --- 2035-2040 rate: 2.26% (228% above world average)

    Long considered the model for democracy in Africa, Benin's 2019 elections were marred by corruption. Low literacy rates and high fertility promise to continue the surge in population. Benin's open-market economy has grown steadily but is largely dependent on the price of cotton, its principal export.

  • #15. Malawi
    37/ Dietmar Temps // Shutterstock

    #15. Malawi

    - Average annual rate of predicted population change: 2.47% (197% above world average)
    --- 2020-2025 rate: 2.67% (172% above world average)
    --- 2025-2030 rate: 2.57% (195% above world average)
    --- 2030-2035 rate: 2.4% (208% above world average)
    --- 2035-2040 rate: 2.22% (222% above world average)

    One of the world's least-developed countries, the tiny landlocked nation of Malawi has one of the highest AIDS rates in the world. High fertility numbers and pervasive poverty persist and the population continues to grow. Nearly 80% of the workforce is employed in agriculture; tobacco and sugar are among Malawi's primary exports.

  • #14. The Gambia
    38/ SEYLLOU/AFP // Getty Images

    #14. The Gambia

    - Average annual rate of predicted population change: 2.53% (205% above world average)
    --- 2020-2025 rate: 2.8% (186% above world average)
    --- 2025-2030 rate: 2.63% (202% above world average)
    --- 2030-2035 rate: 2.44% (213% above world average)
    --- 2035-2040 rate: 2.25% (226% above world average)

    The smallest nation on mainland Africa, roughly twice the size of Delaware, The Gambia is also one of the continent's most densely populated. The Gambia depends largely on tourism and agriculture, which employs 75% of workers, to spur its economy. Poverty is rampant in rural areas, with 74% below the poverty level.

  • #13. Equatorial Guinea
    39/ alarico // Shutterstock

    #13. Equatorial Guinea

    - Average annual rate of predicted population change: 2.57% (210% above world average)
    --- 2020-2025 rate: 3.09% (215% above world average)
    --- 2025-2030 rate: 2.7% (210% above world average)
    --- 2030-2035 rate: 2.34% (200% above world average)
    --- 2035-2040 rate: 2.16% (213% above world average)

    The only Spanish-speaking country in Africa, Equatorial Guinea is rich in oil, but misuse of generated funds keeps much of the population in poverty. Considered a hotbed of human trafficking, high fertility and low contraceptive use continue to help the population grow. Equatorial Guinea is considered one of the least-free nations in Africa, and has been under the rule of President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo since 1979.

  • #12. Burkina Faso
    40/ OLYMPIA DE MAISMONT/AFP // Getty Images

    #12. Burkina Faso

    - Average annual rate of predicted population change: 2.59% (211% above world average)
    --- 2020-2025 rate: 2.76% (182% above world average)
    --- 2025-2030 rate: 2.66% (206% above world average)
    --- 2030-2035 rate: 2.53% (224% above world average)
    --- 2035-2040 rate: 2.39% (246% above world average)

    Improved health care has precipitated a drop in mortality and increased fertility rates in Burkina Faso. Cotton and gold are among its chief exports, but the landlocked African nation depends on regular rainfall to avoid economic swings. Much of the population lives below the poverty level, and education participation is among the lowest in all of Africa.

  • #11. Chad
    41/ Ken Doerr // Wikimedia Commons

    #11. Chad

    - Average annual rate of predicted population change: 2.61% (214% above world average)
    --- 2020-2025 rate: 2.87% (193% above world average)
    --- 2025-2030 rate: 2.69% (209% above world average)
    --- 2030-2035 rate: 2.52% (223% above world average)
    --- 2035-2040 rate: 2.34% (239% above world average)

    Virtually no contraceptive use and the fourth-highest fertility rate, according to the CIA Factbook, will keep Chad's population growing. Landlocked in north-central Africa, Chad depends on oil for 60% of export revenues. The country has been a destination for refugees from surrounding nations Sudan and Central African Republic.

  • #10. Mozambique
    42/ Unsplash

    #10. Mozambique

    - Average annual rate of predicted population change: 2.62% (215% above world average)
    --- 2020-2025 rate: 2.82% (188% above world average)
    --- 2025-2030 rate: 2.7% (210% above world average)
    --- 2030-2035 rate: 2.55% (227% above world average)
    --- 2035-2040 rate: 2.39% (246% above world average)

    Despite ranking among the worst in the world for life expectancy, and HIV/AIDS prevalence and deaths, Mozambique's population is spurred by high fertility rates. An estimated 46% of the population lives below the poverty level and the AIDS crisis has taken a toll on the population. One-fifth of Mozambique is protected land, consisting of parks and lakes.

  • #8. Zambia (tie)
    43/ KITAMU // Shutterstock

    #8. Zambia (tie)

    - Average annual rate of predicted population change: 2.67% (221% above world average)
    --- 2020-2025 rate: 2.85% (191% above world average)
    --- 2025-2030 rate: 2.75% (216% above world average)
    --- 2030-2035 rate: 2.61% (235% above world average)
    --- 2035-2040 rate: 2.45% (255% above world average)

    Lack of employment and education for women has created and will sustain population growth for Zambia. Africa's second-largest exporter of copper, Zambia's economy depends on mineral resources. Victoria Falls, one of the seven natural wonders of the world, runs between the border with Mozambique.

  • #8. Burundi (tie)
    44/ Christopher Morley-Pegge // Shutterstock

    #8. Burundi (tie)

    - Average annual rate of predicted population change: 2.67% (221% above world average)
    --- 2020-2025 rate: 2.93% (199% above world average)
    --- 2025-2030 rate: 2.73% (214% above world average)
    --- 2030-2035 rate: 2.57% (229% above world average)
    --- 2035-2040 rate: 2.43% (252% above world average)

    Burundi ranks third-highest in the world for total fertility rate, with nearly six children born for each woman. Conflict around elections in 2015 cast a negative cloud over the economy, with Burundi losing substantial foreign aid. Roughly 90% of Burundians rely on agriculture for employment.

  • #7. United Republic of Tanzania
    45/ BBM Explorer // Wikimedia Commons

    #7. United Republic of Tanzania

    - Average annual rate of predicted population change: 2.71% (226% above world average)
    --- 2020-2025 rate: 2.87% (193% above world average)
    --- 2025-2030 rate: 2.77% (218% above world average)
    --- 2030-2035 rate: 2.66% (241% above world average)
    --- 2035-2040 rate: 2.53% (267% above world average)

    After achieving independence from Britain in 1960, Tanganyika and Zanzibar merged to become the United Republic of Tanzania. Mount Kilimanjaro is a popular tourist destination within Tanzania, which depends on tourism and agriculture to spur the economy. The largest and most populated country in East Africa, birth and fertility rates are high and show no sign of abating.

  • #6. Syrian Arab Republic
    46/ Rosen Ivanov Iliev // Shutterstock

    #6. Syrian Arab Republic

    - Average annual rate of predicted population change: 2.72% (228% above world average)
    --- 2020-2025 rate: 5.52% (463% above world average)
    --- 2025-2030 rate: 2.91% (234% above world average)
    --- 2030-2035 rate: 1.38% (77% above world average)
    --- 2035-2040 rate: 1.07% (55% above world average)

    Civil war has ravaged Syria since 2011, leading to a steep population decline, with World Vision calling it the largest humanitarian crisis of our time. Nearly 6.7 million people have sought refuge across its borders in neighboring Jordan, Iraq, and Turkey, while another 6.5 million are displaced within Syria. The return of many of those refugees is expected to be one of the main reasons for Syria's 5.52% population growth by 2025.

  • #5. Mali
    47/ Dutourdumonde Photography // Shutterstock

    #5. Mali

    - Average annual rate of predicted population change: 2.73% (229% above world average)
    --- 2020-2025 rate: 2.9% (196% above world average)
    --- 2025-2030 rate: 2.82% (224% above world average)
    --- 2030-2035 rate: 2.68% (244% above world average)
    --- 2035-2040 rate: 2.51% (264% above world average)

    The CIA's World Factbook projects that Mali's population of 18 million could double by 2035, with a declining mortality rate, and the world's third-highest fertility rate reasons for the increase. Wars in the northern part of the country have precipitated rapid outmigration, while high infant and maternal mortality rates have tempered growth. One of the poorest countries in the world, Mali depends largely on gold and agriculture to sustain its economy.

  • #4. Somalia
    48/ Homo Cosmicos // Shutterstock

    #4. Somalia

    - Average annual rate of predicted population change: 2.76% (232% above world average)
    --- 2020-2025 rate: 2.9% (196% above world average)
    --- 2025-2030 rate: 2.85% (228% above world average)
    --- 2030-2035 rate: 2.72% (249% above world average)
    --- 2035-2040 rate: 2.56% (271% above world average)

    Somalia is still in the recovery stages from a brutal civil war, and the revival of the oil sector should help cut widespread poverty and famine. Despite refugees returning from neighboring Yemen, Somalia still has a net migration rate of -5.6% per 1,000 people. Agriculture is the driving industry, with over 70% of the workforce employed that vocation.

  • #3. Democratic Republic of Congo
    49/ Valeriya Anufriyeva // Shutterstock

    #3. Democratic Republic of Congo

    - Average annual rate of predicted population change: 2.77% (233% above world average)
    --- 2020-2025 rate: 3.02% (208% above world average)
    --- 2025-2030 rate: 2.84% (226% above world average)
    --- 2030-2035 rate: 2.69% (245% above world average)
    --- 2035-2040 rate: 2.51% (264% above world average)

    A cultural prevalence of bigger families has led the Democratic Republic of Congo to have one of the highest birth rates in the world, with nearly five children per woman. The country has also opened its borders to refugees from neighboring Rwanda, Burundi, and the Republic of Congo. Widespread poverty, high mortality among mothers and infants, and ongoing health crises are persistent issues affecting population growth.

  • #2. Angola
    50/ Fabian Plock // Shutterstock

    #2. Angola

    - Average annual rate of predicted population change: 2.99% (261% above world average)
    --- 2020-2025 rate: 3.15% (221% above world average)
    --- 2025-2030 rate: 3.06% (252% above world average)
    --- 2030-2035 rate: 2.95% (278% above world average)
    --- 2035-2040 rate: 2.81% (307% above world average)

    The Republic of Angola is among the fastest-growing economies in the world, thanks to vast oil and natural resources. A large wealth gap has much of the population living well below the poverty level, and the country has one of the highest birth rates in the world. High maternal and infant mortality rates, along with one of the lowest life expectancies, have kept the population from exploding. Improvements in these areas under a new government could help spur growth.

  • #1. Niger
    51/ Homo Cosmicos // Shutterstock

    #1. Niger

    - Average annual rate of predicted population change: 3.50% (322% above world average)
    --- 2020-2025 rate: 3.7% (278% above world average)
    --- 2025-2030 rate: 3.59% (313% above world average)
    --- 2030-2035 rate: 3.45% (342% above world average)
    --- 2035-2040 rate: 3.27% (374% above world average)

    Named after the Niger River, the landlocked country in western Africa has the highest total fertility rate in the world, with nearly seven children per woman in 2016. The population explosion, along with extreme drought and high unemployment, have led west Africa's largest country to be deemed the poorest in the world, according to the U.N.'s Human Development Index. An influx of refugees from neighboring Mali and Nigeria has maintained the population despite one of the highest outmigration rates in the world.

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