Human Population Statistics Rationalize Agriculture

Figures on human population statistics generated by the United Nations, Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Population Division (UN-DESA-PD 2011) indicate a surging world population even with some countries posting negative growth (see table below).

After only four decades starting in 2010, it is estimated that in 2050 there will be an additional 2.41 billion (2,410,239,000) more people to feed.

Ensuring food supply means continuing crop and livestock agriculture and other food production systems including fisheries.

Consequently, exponential growth will be expected in the demand for water, energy, and other resources for agricultural, industrial, and domestic use.

Population Statistics Comparing Estimated Total Human Population

Table 1-PS. Population statistics comparing the estimated total human population (in thousands) of the world, selected regions, and countries for the years 2010 and 2050 (Source: UN-DESA-PD 2011).



Population Increment*Percent Increase (%)
More developed regions1,235,9001,311,73175,8316.14
United Kingdom**62,03672,81710,78117.38
United States of America**310,384403,10192,71729.87
Southeast Asia593,415759,207165,79227.94
Brunei Darussalam39960220350.88
Lao People’s Democratic Republic6,2018,3842,18335.20
Timor Leste1,1243,0061,882167.44
Viet Nam87,848103,96216,11418.34
Least developed countries832,3301,726,468894,138107.43

*Population statistics supplied by the author. Population increment is the difference between the populations for 2050 and 2010. Percentage (%) increase refers to the proportion of population increment to the 2010 population.

** Australia, the United Kingdom, the United States of America, and Japan are among the countries belonging to the More Developed Regions according to the classification of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (UN-DESA-PD 2011).

***According to the National Statistics Office (2012) based on the national census, the population of the Philippines in the year 2010 was 92,337,852.

The above population statistics show that the percentage increase in human population in 2050 over those in 2010 is minimal in the more developed regions (6.14%) compared to those of the Least Developed Countries, World, Asia, and Southeast Asia (107.43%, 34.95%, 23.48%, and 27.94%, respectively).

More developed regions are defined by the United Nations (UN-DESA-PD 2011) as comprising Europe, Northern America, Australia/New Zealand, and Japan.

Japan, also an Asian country is projected to achieve negative growth (-14.21%) at the end of the period.

The same negative projection (-3.41%) applies to China, an Asian giant.

As to Southeast Asia, all 11 component countries will have more population in 2050 topped by Timor Leste, the Philippines, and Malaysia in terms of percentage increase (167.44%, 66.13%, and 53.00%, respectively).

However, population densities, which also indicate how populous a country is per unit of land area, differ.

Population statistics from UN-DESA-PD (2011) also show that in 2050 these countries are projected to have population densities of 2.02, 5.16, and 1.32 persons per hectare which are equivalent to the land-to-man ratio of about 4,950, 1,938, and 7,576 sq. meters per person, respectively.

Population density is computed by dividing the total population by the total country area which includes the area under inland water bodies.

The 2,410,239,000 additional populace in 2050 is equivalent to 34.95 percent of the 2010 population.

This also indicates that throughout the world at least 34.95 percent or more than one-third more food has to be produced compared to the 2010 volume.

Statistical data from 1995 to 2008 show that there has been an increasing trend in chronic hunger throughout the world (FAO 2009).

In 2011, according to FAO (2011), almost 1 billion people throughout the world are undernourished with 239 million in Sub-Saharan Africa and 578 million in Asia.

For the less and least developed countries with a high population growth rate, the picture of a starving population and the expectation of increased expenditure for food and other basic needs would be more vivid.

Many countries and their people must have been fully convinced of the ill effects of a bloated population, and so they have installed drastic programs to curb population growth.

Whatsoever, the world will continue to accommodate humans.

Agriculture must necessarily go on. It means generating more efficient agricultural technology in the most expeditious manner.

It means more efficient utilization of available land without destroying the environment.

Agricultural productivity per unit area of land must have a huge leap within the shortest time possible.

Agricultural production areas have to be expanded.

Click here to read an update on how microbes can boost agricultural yields


[FAO] Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. 2011. The state of the world’s land and water resources for food and agriculture. Retrieved from

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Ben Bareja

Ben Bareja, the owner-founder-webmaster of This website was conceptualized primarily to serve as an e-library for reference purposes on the principles and practices in crop science, including basic botany. Read more here

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