Populous Pakistan

Back in 1950, the population of Pakistan stood at just 37 million people. By 2005, that figure had grown more than four-fold. With 164 million people, the country now has the world's sixth-largest population. We wonder: How many people are expected to live in this South Asian nation by 2050?

A. 140 million
B. 200 million
C. 290 million
D. 340 million

A. 140 million is not correct.

By 2050, the populations in 50 of the world’s 192 countries will be lower than they are today. However, Pakistan will not be one of them. In fact, Pakistan is expected to have far more than 140 million people — which is the estimated size of the current Muslim population in India.

That gives India the third-largest Muslim population in the world — after Indonesia and Pakistan. However, while only 12% of India's population is Muslim, 88% and 97% of Indonesia's and Pakistan's populations are Muslim, respectively.

B. 200 million is not correct.

Today, there are four nations in the world that each have a population greater than 200 million people. They are China, India, the United States and Indonesia.

By 2050, that figure will double to eight — with Nigeria, Brazil, Bangladesh and Pakistan all posting large enough population gains to place them into that category.

C. 290 million is correct.

By 2050, Pakistan's population is expected to reach 292 million people — comparable to the current population of the United States, at 300 million.

According to projections by the United Nations, Pakistan will be the world's fifth most-populous nation in 2050 — after India, China, the United States and Indonesia. Back in 1950, it was only the world's 14th most populous nation.

D. 340 million is not correct.

The six most populous European nations — Germany, France, Great Britain, Italy, Spain and Poland — currently have a combined population of nearly 343 million.

Until 2004, Pakistan's population in 2050 was projected to reach 344 million — and thus be equal to the current combined population of the EU's "big six." Since then, a slight decline in fertility rate assumptions has led the United Nations Population Division to revise its forecast of Pakistan's 2050 population downward.

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