World Population Day

Population in the grip of the COVID-19 pandemic

Over 7.7 billion people currently populate the world. It is expected that the world population will increase to 8.5 billion by 2030. From 2020 on, our lives have been marked by the COVID-19 pandemic. According to WHO, 3.9 million people worldwide have died of COVID-19 since the beginning of 2020.   

  • 6 July 2021 at 10:30
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  • Updated
  • 9 July 2021 at 09:47
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Global population is growing by 1.1% per year

According to the United Nations estimates, our planet is home to over 7.7 billion people. This number is still steadily growing, but at a slower pace with each passing year. Between 2015 and 2020, world population growth (1.1% per year) was half of the growth in the years from 1965 to 1970 (2.1% per year). Projections show that the global population will reach 8.5 billion in 2030, 9.7 billion in 2050 and 10.9 billion in 2100. It is expected that an additional 2.0 billion people will be added to the global population between 2019 and 2050. Stabilization or decline of the world´s population is expected sometime before 2100.

The most populated continent is still Asia, with about 61% of the world´s population. China and India continue as the most populated countries in the world, with more than a billion people living in each. Both countries together represent as much as 18% or 19% of the world´s population. It is projected that China´s population will decline by 2% between 2019 and 2050, while India is expected to become the most populated country in 2027.

Projections for 2050 show that more than half of global population growth will happen in Africa, which currently has 17% of the world´s population. Africa has the highest annual growth rate of 2.3%. The population of sub-Saharan Africa is expected to double by 2050. Therefore, we can expect that Africa will play a central role in shaping and distributing the world´s population in the upcoming decades. In Europe and North America, populated by about 10% of the global population, the growth of the population is stabilizing and calming down due to low birth rates. In more developed regions, the average number of live births per woman is less than 2.1, which is below the population replacement level. In 2020, the average number of live births in the more developed regions was 1.6 children per woman, while in the least developed parts of the world the average number of live births was 3.8 children per woman.

Slovenian demographic image

Slovenia, the sixth smallest EU Member State in terms of population, has 2.1 million people, accounting for 0.5% of the total EU population or 0.3‰ of the global population. Compared to the global average, the population of Slovenia is old and is continuing to age (in the last 30 years, the mean age has increased by 7.5 years). The age structure of Slovenia shows that 15% of the population in Slovenia is young (0-14 years), whereas in the world they represent 25%. The share of the elderly (65+ years) in Slovenia is much higher than in the world. Slovenia´s elderly population is 21%, while the global elderly population is 10%. In 2003, the number of the elderly exceeded the number of young people for the first time in Slovenia. Currently, in 2021, there are 137 elderly people per 100 young people. 

Further aging of the population can be expected in the following years as well, due to low birth rates. In Slovenia, the total fertility rate - the average number of live births per woman - is 1.6, which is below the replacement level. The total fertility rate in Slovenia is also lower than the total fertility rate in the world, which is 2.4.

What about the life expectancy at birth? According to UN estimates, the global life expectancy at birth is 71 years for men and 75 years for women. In Slovenia, the life expectancy at birth is higher. With unchanged mortality, boys born in Slovenia in 2020 can expect to live up to the age of 78, and girls up to the age of 83. To sum up, according to global standards, the life expectancy at birth in Slovenia is about 8 years longer for girls and 7 years longer for boys.

Population during the COVID-19 pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic has radically affected the lives of people around the world. It has severely affected people, communities and the economy. The COVID-19 pandemic showed us which social systems are particularly fragile. In addition, the pandemic also highlighted the most vulnerable, marginalized parts of the population. All the cracks in society, especially in the health, education, economic and social fields, became wider and even more problematic for the population during the pandemic. Exactly how much and how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected the world and the structure of the world´s population will be revealed in the upcoming years. Until then, the World Health Organization (WHO) has prepared the first estimates. From January 2020 to early July 2021, there were 183.6 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 worldwide, with 3.9 million deaths. 31% of these deaths occurred in Europe.

Between March 2020 and March 2021 there were 720,000 more deaths in the European Union and EFTA countries

In the previous year, the number of deaths in the EU Member States increased sharply, which can be attributed to the impact of COVID-19. According to Eurostat estimates, there were approximately 720,000 more deaths in the European Union and EFTA countries between March 2020 and the end of March 2021 than the average number between 2016 and 2019.

Over the period from January 2020 to April 2021, the European Union experienced two complete cycles of excess mortality (i.e. an excess number of deaths compared to the average number of deaths in the same period in the past) in comparison to the period between 2016 and 2019. In April 2020, the European Union had a 25% higher mortality rate compared to the average number of deaths in the same period between 2016 and 2019, and in November 2020, the mortality rate was higher by 40%. According to provisional Eurostat data, excess mortality in April 2020 was the highest in Spain (79%), followed by Belgium (73%) and the Netherlands (54%). In November 2020, excess mortality was the highest in Poland (97%), followed by Bulgaria (94%) and Slovenia (92%). Poland had the highest excess mortality among the EU Member States between January 2020 and April 2021. 

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Slovenia experienced the largest natural decrease since 1945 

The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic is also evident in Slovenia. Especially in the last quarter of 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic severely affected the population, mainly due to high mortality in November and December. In 2020, Slovenia recorded the largest natural decrease since 1945; it was −2.5 per 1,000 population. In 2020, 19% more people died than the average between 2015 and 2019. Excess mortality in Slovenia was the highest in November 2020, when it reached 92%. In other words, in November 2020, 92% more people died compared to the 2015-2019 average. According to provisional data, the number of deaths in Slovenia is slowing down, but the excess mortality rate is still positive. It was 7.2% in April 2021. 


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