Home > DEP Home > DEPweb > Learning Modules > Population Growth Rate
Population Growth Rate
Complete these exercises with information from Chart 1.

Chart 1 Exercises with Answers

Chart 1. Total World Population by Country Income Group, 1980, 1998, 2015

1. Study Chart 1 which shows the world population size by country income group for 1980, 1998, and 2015. What is the total world population for each year? How much will total world population have increased from 1998 to 2015? [1980: 4.4 billion; 1998: 5.8 billion; 2015: 7.1 billion; an increase of more than 1 billion people].

2. Use the data from the table below to complete the exercises that follow.

1998 (millions)
2015 (millions)
Low-income economies



Middle-income economies



High-income economies



Total world population



  1. Calculate the percentage of the world population that lived in low-, middle-, and high-income countries in 1998. [60%; 25%; 15%]
  2. Describe the general distribution of the world’s population among low-, middle-, and high-income countries. [There are twice as many people in low-income countries than in middle-income countries, and 85% of the world’s people—more than 4 out of every 5 people—live in low- and middle-income countries combined.]
  3. Calculate the percentage of the world’s population that is projected to live in low-, middle-, and high-income countries in 2015. [62%; 25%; 13%].
  4. Compare the percentages for each country income group and describe the change between 1998 and 2015. [The proportion of people in low-income countries is expected to increase, the proportion of people in middle-income countries is expected to stay the same, and the proportion of people in high-income countries is expected to decrease.

3. Use the Social Data Table to identify the five most populous countries in 1998 along with their populations, their regions, and their income groups, and fill in the following table:

1998 population (millions)
Income group
[Asia (South & East)]
[Asia (South & East)]
[United States]
[North & Central America
and the Caribbean
[Asia (South & East)]
[South America]

  1. Which two countries had the largest populations? [China and India]
  2. To which income group did these two countries belong? [low income]
  3. Which region had the most countries in the top five most populous nations? [Asia (South and East)]

4. Use the Social Data Table to fill in the population information for China and India in the following table. Next, calculate the percentage of the world’s population that is represented by China and India for 1998 and 2015 and add that information to the table. (Divide each country’s population by the world’s population and multiply the figure by 100.) Then answer the questions that follow.



% of world

Average annual
growth rate


% of world



















  1. Compare the population size of these two countries in 1998. How many times larger was China’s population than India’s? (Divide China’s population by India’s population.) [China’s population is about 1.3 times larger.]
  2. Compare the population size of these two countries in 2015. How many times larger is China’s population expected to be than India’s? [1.1 times]
  3. India has a smaller population base than China, yet the gap in their populations is expected to decrease significantly in the next few years. How can you account for this? [India’s population is growing more than one-and-a-half times faster than China’s.]
  4. Add the projected 2015 populations of the two countries. What percentage of the world’s population will they represent? [(1389 + 1224) 7113 = 37%]
  5. Given the population size projections of these two countries, in what ways might they play important roles in the world economy? In your answer consider China and India’s potential as producers and consumers, and to what extent this potential depends on the development of their human capital and the use of their natural resources. [Answers will vary. Possible answer: If the current and future workers have adequate access to health services, food, education, and training, they may provide a large capable workforce for the production of goods and services for their own countries and for export. They might also provide large markets for imported goods and services, particularly if selling their goods and services abroad gives the average person more money to spend (measured in terms such as GNP per capita). In the short run, however, rapid population growth in low-income countries tends to lead to lower GNP per capita, allowing fewer resources per person to be invested in human capital development—the key to improving labor productivity. Large populations can also place stress on the environment as natural resources can become depleted, and increased energy use and general consumption can increase pollution—all of which can eventually affect productivity. Two great challenges for China and India as the most populous nations in the world will be to develop labor forces that will be able to support their future populations, and to manage their natural resources so that they will have the raw materials to remain productive for generations to come.]

5. In 1998, four out of every five people in the world lived in low- and middle-income countries. As this percentage increases, what might be some of the impacts on the global economy? On the environment? On peace and security issues? [Answers will vary.]

Explore Chart 1:

Contact Us | Help/FAQ | Index | Search
© 2001 The World Bank Group, All Rights Reserved. Terms and Conditions. Privacy Policy.