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Population decline

With all the attention given to continuing strong growth in the world population, one thing might come as a surprise: Forty-three of the 193 nations around the world will register a decline in population by 2050. Which country will experience the most significant population decline in absolute terms by 2050?

ANSWERS: A. Germany B. Japan C. Russia D. Poland

A. Germany is not correct.

By 2050, Germany's population is expected to decline from 82.7 million to 78.7 million people, a drop of almost 5 percent. Spain (1.2 percent), Austria (1.5 percent), and Greece (3.4 percent) will all experience somewhat more moderate population declines. Italy's population, however, will decline by 22.4 percent, or more than four times as much as Germany's.

In comparison, the United Kingdom will register a population gain of 12.5 percent, while France's population will grow by 4.3 percent.

B. Japan is not correct.

Japan's population is expected to decrease from 128 million to 112 million, a drop of 12.5 percent. Neighboring South Korea will lose 6.7 percent of its population, or 3 million people.

Of the 45 nations in Asia, only five are expected to have declining populations. Meanwhile, population growth in India shows no sign of slowing down. The country's population will increase by another 44 percent by 2050, to about 1.6 billion people.

C. Russia is correct.

Russia's population is expected to decline by a staggering 31 million, from 143 million people to 112 million people.

Alcohol is one of the main factors contributing to this decline, primarily among men. It is accountable for the world's largest life expectancy gap between men and women in any country. On average, Russian men can expect to live only to the age of 55.

D. Poland is not correct.

Poland's population will decrease from 38.5 million to 32 million by 2050, or by 16.9 percent. Hungary's population will decline by 18.2 percent and the Czech Republic's by 17.3 percent over the next 4 1/2 decades. In fact, all other Eastern European countries except Albania will have declining population levels.

And among the 15 former Soviet socialist republics, 10 have declining populations, with Ukraine expected to lose the greatest percentage of its population, at 43 percent.

The Globalist Quiz is produced by The Globalist, a Washington- based research organization that promotes awareness of world affairs. © 2006 The Globalist,

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