(September 2002) Every year, world population grows by a little over 79 million people, roughly the population of Germany, the Philippines, or Vietnam. Almost 99 percent of natural increase (births minus deaths, disregarding migration) occurs in the less developed countries. As the clock shows, more developed countries as a group account for a mere 1.4 percent of natural increase, although there is wide regional variation: Europe's population experiences a natural decrease of 1.0 million per year, but Australia, Japan, New Zealand, and North America have a natural increase of about 2.1 million.

Less developed countries, home to 81 percent of the world's population, have 90 percent of the world's births per year. But infant mortality rates are significantly higher in those nations.


World Population Clock

World More Developed Countries Less Developed Countries Less Developed Countries (less China)
Population: 6,214,891,000 1,197,329,000 5,017,562,000 3,736,850,000
 
Births per:
Year 133,144,457 13,280,363 119,864,094 102,728,168
Month 11,095,371 1,106,697 9,988,675 8,560,681
Week 2,560,470 255,392 2,305,079 1,975,542
Day 364,779 36,385 328,395 281,447
Hour 15,199 1,516 13,683 11,727
Minute 253 25 228 195
Second 4.2 0.4 3.8 3.3
 
Deaths per:
Year 53,930,540 12,168,652 41,761,888 33,526,910
Month 4,494,212 1,014,054 3,480,157 2,793,909
Week 1,037,126 234,013 803,113 644,748
Day 147,755 33,339 114,416 91,855
Hour 6,156 1,389 4,767 3,827
Minute 103 23 79 64
Second 1.7 0.4 1.3 1.1
 
Natural Increase per:
Year 79,213,917 1,111,711 78,102,206 69,201,258
Month 6,601,160 92,643 6,508,517 5,766,772
Week 1,523,345 21,379 1,501,966 1,330,793
Day 217,024 3,046 213,979 189,592
Hour 9,043 127 8,916 7,900
Minute 151 2 149 132
Second 2.5 0.04 2.5 2.2

Source: Population Reference Bureau, 2002 World Population Data Sheet.


About 6.6 million people are added to the world's population each month, equivalent to the population of Israel or El Salvador. The increase each week, at 1.5 million, is equal to the population of Gambia.

The number of people added annually to world population has been declining recently, after peaking at about 87 million around 1990 (see figure below). The number added each year has peaked several times in the past, affected by changes in China's birth rate. With China and India now accounting for one-third of births worldwide, if their birth rates rise, global growth could reach yet another peak.


Figure
Annual Increase in World Population, 1951-2001

Source: U.S. Census Bureau, International Database (www.census.gov/ipc/www/
worldpop.html, accessed July 22, 2002).


Carl Haub holds the Conrad Taeuber Chair of Population Information at PRB.