The Most Populous Countries in the World

Source: MarioGuti / E+ via Getty Images

The world population surpassed 8 billion on Tuesday, according to population projections made by the United Nations earlier this year. This shockingly comes just 11 years after the world population passed 7 billion. It has only taken 48 years for the world’s population to double. The U.N. projects that the world population will continue to expand by the tens of millions every year, crossing the 9 billion mark around 2037, before finally peaking at 10.4 billion in the 2080s. 

24/7 Wall St. used the U.N.’s World Population Prospects 2022 report to list the 36 most populous nations on earth, with population figures listed as of July 2022. These countries represent 80% of the world’s population. Past years’ population estimates and future projected figures, as well as population growth and life expectancy at birth are all from the U.N. report.  

While these projected population figures are alarming, growth does appear to be slowing down. The global population’s annual growth rate as of July 2022 was 0.83%, the slowest in decades, and the U.N. projects that rate will continue to decline until the population begins to shrink in the 2080s. (Here are rich countries with the biggest families.)

In some of the most populous countries on Earth, population growth rates have leveled out. These include the United States, which in 2021 had a population growth rate of just 0.21%, its lowest such figure in decades. In China, currently the world’s most populous nation, the annual population declined in 2022, the first time in 60 years

On the other hand, while there are countries like the United States and China, there are other nations that continue to have meteoric population growth. Nigeria, for example, added 5.2 million people between July 2021 and July 2022, a 2.3% growth rate. The African nation is currently the world’s seventh most populous, but in 20 years the U.N. projects it will become the fourth most populous. 

Meanwhile, India, which currently has the second largest population, added 9.7 million in the 12 months through July 2022. The U.N. projects India’s population will surpass China’s some time next year. (These are the fastest growing countries in the world.)

Click here to see the most populous countries in the world.