OECD Factbook 2013: Economic, Environmental and Social Statistics
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branch Population and Migration
branch Population
    branch Total population

The size and growth of a country's population are both causes and effects of economic and social developments. The pace of population growth has slowed in all OECD countries.

Population projections, which give indications of likely changes in the future population size and structure, are a common demographic tool. They provide a basis for other statistical projections (e.g. service provision, employment) and as such, they are a very valuable tool for helping governments in their decision making.


Data refer to the resident population, that is, they are a measure of the population that usually lives in an area. For countries with overseas colonies, protectorates or other territorial possessions, their populations are generally excluded. Growth rates are the annual changes resulting from births, deaths and net migration during the year. Working age population is those aged 15 to 64.


For most OECD countries, population data are based on regular, ten-yearly censuses, with estimates for intercensal years derived from administrative data. In several European countries, population estimates are based entirely on administrative records. Population data are fairly comparable.

For some countries the population figures shown here differ from those used for calculating GDP and other economic statistics on a per capita basis, although differences are normally small.

Population projections are taken from national sources where these are available, but for some countries they are based on United Nations or Eurostat projections; the projection for the world comes from the UN. All population projections require assumptions about future trends in life expectancy, fertility rates and migration. Often, a range of projections is produced using different assumptions about these future trends. The estimates shown here correspond to the median or central variant, that is; there is an estimated 50 percent chance the population could be lower, and a 50 percent chance it could be higher.

It should be noted that in the case of Mexico, the population according to the Population and Household Census taken in 2010 was 112.3 million compared with the previous estimate of 108.4 million presented in the table. The time series with the results of the Population and Housing Census for Mexico is underway by the Ministry of Interior. As soon as data is available, it will be updated in the digital version of the OECD Factbook, available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/factbook-data-en.


In 2010, OECD countries accounted for 18% of the world's population of 6.9 billion. China accounted for 19% and India for 18%. Within the OECD, in 2010, the United States accounted for 25% of the OECD total, followed by Japan (10%), Mexico (9%), Germany (7%) and Turkey (6%).

In the three years to 2010, growth rates above the OECD population average (0.6% per year) were recorded in Israel, Mexico and Turkey (high birth rate countries) and in Australia, Canada, Chile, Luxembourg, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States (high net immigration). New Zealand and Ireland also recorded population growth rates above the OECD total which can be attributed to both a birth rate equal to the replacement fertility rate (a total fertility rate of 2.1 children per woman) and a positive net migration rate.

In Hungary and Germany, populations declined mostly due to low birth rates. Growth rates were also negative in Estonia while they were very low, although still positive, in Japan, Poland, Portugal and the Slovak Republic. The population of OECD countries is expected to grow by less than 0.2% per year until 2050.



  • For OECD member countries: national sources, United Nations and Eurostat.
Further information
Analytical publications
Statistical publications
Methodological publications
Online databases
Indicator in PDF Acrobat PDF page

Population levels
    Table in Excel
Population growth rates
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Working age population
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World population Figure in Excel
World population
OECD population Figure in Excel
OECD population
Population growth rates Figure in Excel
Population growth rates
Working age population Figure in Excel
Working age population

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