The world population has started increasing rapidly in the twentieth century, and the annual rate of growth has also increased consistently except for the period of 1940-1950.
During the period 1900-1950, the average annual rate of world population growth was 0.8 per cent. This rate raised to 1.9 per cent during 1950-1970, that is, more than twice the rate in the earlier period.
It is interesting to note that during 1900-1950, the average annual rates of growth for the developed and the developing countries were identical, that is, 0.8 per cent.
During the next twenty years, however, the population in the developing countries increased rapidly, registering, on an average, an annual growth rate of 2.22 per cent.
On the other hand, the rate of growth in developed countries was also increasing, but their average rate of growth was 45 per cent lower than that in developing countries.
The year 1950 has been crucial from the point of view that it has registered a phenomenal rise. In other words, rapid population growth is quite a recent phenomenon, covering a little more than a quarter of a century.
Illustrates vividly how the population of the work has increased since 1650 and how the time taken to double the population size has dramatically been reduced over the years. Also reveals that during 1990-98 the doubling time has increase because there has been reduction in the rate of increase of the world population.
Growth of Population in Developed and Developer Countries: Table 3.5 gives the average annual rates of populates growth for the developed and developing regions.
It is apparel from this Table that, during 1650-1750, the average annual rate of growth for the developed and developing regions were low an almost identical. In later years, they began to increase though, up to 1920, this increase was more in the developed regions than.
The Developing Areas
A high mark in the growth rate was recorded by the developed countries during 1850-1900 that is 1.05 per cent after which it started declining; and from 1920 onwards, the developed regions invariably recorded a lower growth rate than the developing regions.
As a result of ‘baby boom’, the growth rate in the developed regions increased during 1950 to 1960, and afterwards had consistently declined.
The growth rates in the latter have been consistently rising since 1930 up to 1970-75 after which the rates have been declining.
The course followed by the growth rates in the developing regions has been marked by ups and downs. The reasons for this zigzag pattern of growth rates will be taken up for discussion later in this Chapter.
It is interesting to study the distribution of the world population in the developed and developing regions over the years. In 1650, almost 21 per cent of the world’s population lived in the developed regions.
In 1920, this percentage reached its peak (nearly 34 per cent). Since 1930, however, world population in the developed regions has almost consistently declined till, in 1990 only 22.80 per cent was found to live in the developed regions, while the remaining 77.20 per cent was found to inhabit the developing regions.
In 1998 this percentage has further declined to 20 per cent. It is estimated that the percentage of the population in developed countries will be only 15 per cent in 2050.