Maps illustrate world population changes created at the University of Sheffield

Population TrendsA series of maps demonstrating the distribution and changing trends of the world´s population have been created at the University of Sheffield.

The three maps have been developed by Dr Benjamin Hennig and Professor Danny Dorling from the University of Sheffield´s Department of Geography as part of a project funded by the Leverhulme Trust. They illustrate the most recent global population shifts between 1990 and 2015. The declaration of the 7th billion person living on the planet marks a significant milestone within that dynamic development.

With recent estimates from the United Nations stating that the world´s population will rise to over 10 billion by 2100, the maps show where the world´s population is growing and declining as well as growth patterns within individual countries.

Dr Hennig said: "It is important to reflect on the global population development beyond the issue of mere growth and the national-level trends, but to look at the diverse patterns that happen within countries. These tell us so much more than the current focus on either growth or decline within a country and reveal more complex patterns of changing populations."

Population GrowthThe researchers also produced a time series showing the change in population trends between 1950 and 2100 based on United Nations population projections.
The map animation demonstrates changing distribution of people ranging from the 2.5 billion people that lived in the middle of the last century to the present population of nearly 7 billion, moving the gravitational centre of people considerably from the wealthier regions in Europe and North America towards Asia.

This has now started turning towards the African continent. Africa has not only been a considerable part of the global population growth over the last quarter of a century, but is expected to outnumber Asian population growth considerably in the decades to come.

Europe will continue to lose large shares of its population in total as well as in relation to the rest of the world. The dominance of Asia slowly starts to be relativised by the increasing population shares on the African continent, making changes in the Americas almost insignificant from a global perspective.