The United Nations’ Population Division has posted its World Population Prospects 2022, the first in three years.
So I created the latest version of my World’s Most Important Graph, comparing sub-Saharan Africa’s expected population to Europe’s.
The web page is marked “Embargoed until 11 Jul 2022.” If you send me something under embargo until a particular release date so I can get ready ahead of time, I always respect your request. However, if you don’t ask me personally and just post on an open website ahead of your planned release date, I don’t feel obligated to wait.
As we’ve discussed many times, it’s hard to predict the future, so it’s unlikely for these projections to turn out exactly right. The projections themselves bounce around, rising in the 2000s as the UN discovered that the current population of Africa was higher than it thought, and then easing off lately.
Not a big downward revision in population by the UN's projections for SubSaharan Africa 28 years from now: from 2.12 billion to 2.09 billion.
Not a big downward revision in population by the UN's projections for SubSaharan Africa 28 years from now: from 2.12 billion to 2.09 billion.— Steve Sailer (@Steve_Sailer) July 9, 2022
The revision downward for 2050 was 1.1% since 2019. The downshift for distant 2100 was a more substantial 9.0%.
How accurate the latest release is, I couldn’t tell you. The last couple of years have been pretty slovenly for record-keeping in the developed world, so who knows how accurate vital statistics have been since COVID in sub-Saharan Africa?
The UN projections tend to expect current trends to continue onward without a major phase shift: e.g., no Malthusian famines, mass exoduses, religious revivals, wars, or unknown pandemics. That’s unlikely to happen, but it’s also hard to predict what exactly will change, and by how much.
The point is, of course, that this is a respectable source doing its best to estimate the future and the numbers it comes up with are eye-opening. In 1950, there were three Europeans for every sub-Saharan African. By 2005 the ratio was one to one. In 2022, there are 1.55 Africans for every European, and by 2050 there should be three Africans for every European. And out in the mists of 2100, the UN is projecting almost six sub-Saharans for each European.