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Countries by Population Growth, 1970–Present

Name the countries with the fastest population growth between 1970–2024, both in percentage terms and absolute numbers.
As of 1 February 2024. Source.
Quiz by Quizmaster
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Last updated: February 2, 2024
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First submittedOctober 29, 2015
Times taken80,529
Average score70.0%
Rating4.88
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by Percentage
3475%
United Arab Emirates
2457%
Qatar
817%
Djibouti
750%
Jordan
707%
Oman
678%
Bahrain
624%
Angola
623%
Saudi Arabia
602%
Niger
559%
Kuwait
by Absolute Numbers
884 m
India
618 m
China
184 m
Pakistan
172 m
Nigeria
165 m
Indonesia
143 m
United States
122 m
Brazil
107 m
Bangladesh
100 m
Ethiopia
84.1 m
D. R. Congo
+158
Level 82
Dec 28, 2015
Found the right column very easy and the left column impossible.
+6
Level 41
Dec 28, 2015
yes.....
+51
Level 84
Feb 27, 2017
Ditto. At least until I got 5-6 of them for finally guessing in the correct region. :-)
+39
Level 72
Dec 7, 2017
Snap. I think I went through most of Africa before I stumbled on the right part of the world purely by chance. With 30 seconds to go I had 1 of the left column.
+18
Level 82
Mar 12, 2018
After seeing the answers it makes some sense, with the huge influx of foreign workers to the area following the spike in oil prices in the 60s and 70s.
+2
Level 82
Mar 14, 2018
Though there are still the bottom 3 which I don't know enough about to explain.
+5
Level 73
Mar 15, 2018
@Kalbahamut The oil price surge is a factor but I think it's more about the fact that four of the ten countries in the left column didn't even exist in 1970, and were poulated at the time mostly by nomads and small groups of warring tribes. These four all gained independence in late 1971/early 1972 if my memory didn't fail me. Two of the other six gained independence in the 60s.
+10
Level 82
Feb 22, 2021
Millions of people wouldn't be moving there for independence if they didn't also have money and jobs.
+2
Level 17
Aug 5, 2021
In first column you can write arab countries
+6
Level 75
Jun 17, 2022
Small groups of warring tribes? The 1950s want their worldview back. Everything to do with: 1) the spike in oil and gas prices; 2) the increased state capture of those oil revenues (and spin-off benefits to particular national favourites in the private sector); 3) the Gulf's model of development/accumulation through the use of temporary foreign labour.
+10
Level 70
Mar 12, 2018
Many of them in the left make sense once you think about the mass exodus of refugees from Syria, Yemen, and Iraq.
+13
Level 82
Mar 15, 2018
They found oil in the 1930s. It wasn't until 1973 following King Faisal and OPEC's oil embargo against those they saw as supporting Israel's right to defend itself that the price of a barrel of oil quadrupled and these countries started to become very wealthy.
+12
Level 75
Nov 1, 2019
It also helps that the UAE, Qatar, Bahrain, etc. are recruting a lot of Indians to do build their cities, Palm Jumeirah, World Cup stadiums, etc. by promising them wages that seem high in India and then essentially putting them in slavery.
+5
Level 82
Feb 22, 2021
paid for with oil money
+4
Level 73
Jun 17, 2022
No country in the left column except one - Jordan - has anything to do with those wars regarding their population increase. All those gulf states simply rose in population by taking in a bunch of South Asian migrants (practically slaves) as labour force in their oil fields and construction sites.
+1
Level 55
Jun 17, 2022
As Nerd0921 correctly stated, the population growth in these particular countries (though they are located near and at least partially involved in these conflicts) has nothing to do with (taking in) refugees, except for Jordan.
+3
Level 54
Jul 8, 2018
Very interesting quiz! Got all but two (Gambia and Ivory Coast.) The right column was easy. For the left, I figured they'd be comparatively small countries (for percentage to have an impact) and probably in the Islamic world (generally high fertility rates) plus experiencing huge changes (migrant workforce, wealth, something like that.) Once Qatar worked, the rest came pretty easily -- basically it seems to be a mix of high birthrate and workforce / migrant increase against a backdrop of small original numbers. The only total outlier is Ivory Coast (not small, not majority Muslim, and as far as I know not a migrant worker destination).
+2
Level 26
Feb 23, 2021
ikr i only got 2 in the left
+1
Level 82
Jun 17, 2022
The answers have shifted somewhat in the last 7 years. I don't know what the bottom 3 answers on the left were before, but now, the top 9 are all countries that had relatively small populations in 1970 but that then took on massive numbers of immigrant workers over the following decades. And then there's Niger, which has had very little immigration as far as I know but also has one of the highest birth rates in the world, but I think is only guessed so highly due to the fact that you can't spell Nigeria without it.
+1
Level 48
Jan 3, 2023
124 likes 👀
+1
Level 52
Mar 31, 2024
154 now
+1
Level 58
Feb 5, 2024
Same here - only when I got the right idea, it got easy, but my time was up.
+15
Level 57
Dec 29, 2015
I guess countries that went from 0 (non-existant) to any population doesn't count as infinite percentage increase?
+13
Level 31
Dec 30, 2015
That crossed my mind as well. When I saw "since 1970", my first thought was: South Sudan!
+5
Level 82
Dec 7, 2017
Nope that's not how it's done. South Sudan is just the newest country but there have been plenty others since 1970 (Russia ...). Either you use data by region (very easy in cases like Yugoslavia and USSR where borders are pretty much intact, in extreme cases you have to check raw data and recalculate), or it's "no data"
+2
Level 65
Dec 29, 2015
would this also include displacement due to war? Jordan has taken in many Syrian refugees lately and the same happens in parts of Africa due to violence in Nigeria and other countries.
+5
Level ∞
Dec 7, 2017
Yes, but that's not the reason these countries appear on the list. High birth rate is the predominant factor. In the Gulf states, there has also been a huge influx of migrant labor.
+2
Level 62
Dec 7, 2017
But are they temporary or permanent residents? I know Qatar for instance has lots of foreign laborers since they'll be hosting the world cup in a few years. When the construction is complete I assume they'll be sent home (if they survived the working conditions in Qatar).

But maybe that number pales in comparison to the rest of the migrant workers on other projects in Qatar.

+2
Level 54
Jul 8, 2018
Don't know how "population" is calculated in each case, but I'd guess that, while migrant workers might not be counted in some places like Qatar, long-term residents without citizenship would be included in the figures. There are a lot of long-term residents from India, Pakistan etc in those countries who run and own (or co-own) businesses and would presumably count, even if migrant construction workers, sweepers, etc aren't counted.
+1
Level 70
Feb 2, 2024
Jordan is more likely due to Palestinian refugees, many of whom came after the Nakba. Jordan is a relatively poor country unlike the Gulf Countries.
+1
Level ∞
Feb 2, 2024
That doesn't match the timeline. Those refugees would have come over a couple decades earlier.

I think this accounts for most of the increase.

+4
Level 71
Dec 7, 2017
Missed Djibouti, Gambia, and Ivory Coast
+3
Level 80
Dec 8, 2017
3,829% for the UAE. Damn.
+8
Level 71
Feb 22, 2021
I was just gonna comment on this. It's kinda insane, but it also kinda makes sense given that: 1. the UAE was just a small, mostly unhabited patch of desert in 1970 and now is an incredibly wealthy, urbanized state. 2. the UAE has TONS of migrant workers who are only arrived recently.
+11
Level 71
Dec 8, 2017
UAE: Before --> 237,000, Now --> 9,270,000
+2
Level 66
Dec 8, 2017
Didnt see the middle east.
+2
Level 76
Dec 8, 2017
What are the reasons behind The Gambia, Ivory Coast and Djibouti? Djibouti might be because of the conflicts in Somalia, but the other two?
+3
Level 82
Dec 9, 2017
High birth rate I presume
+14
Level 75
Mar 12, 2018
Lack of condom
+2
Level 68
Mar 12, 2018
;)
+6
Level 49
Mar 12, 2018
I thought there'd be more African countries
+2
Level 66
Mar 12, 2018
had all in the left column, missed indonesia and philippines in the right.
+2
Level 36
Mar 16, 2018
missed only gambia and ivory coast
+3
Level 45
Oct 24, 2018
WHY IS IT ALL IN ARABIA!?!?!
+4
Level 43
Jun 18, 2019
Economic boom. Especially with the UAE and Qatar
+2
Level 70
Jan 3, 2020
The lowest 10 are left column and highest ten are right column. I got all of the ones on the right column and seven on the left column
+2
Level 67
Mar 24, 2020
I managed to get none from the % I had typed bahrain, but obviously made a typo or hadnt deleted all the letters of my previous guess. Had that one worked, I would have tried more in the region.
+4
Level 56
Jun 3, 2020
I got all the ones by numbers than spent at least a minute getting none right in the percent column... then I got all the Gulf States and the rest of the Middle East (+Djibouti), but I never would have gotten Gambia or Cote d'Ivoire. Nice quiz!
+2
Level 89
Jan 10, 2021
I missed 2 that I knew for a fact were not countries in 1970 and skipped right over trying them.
+4
Level 72
Jan 12, 2021
What the heck are all those people doing for a living in Djibouti? The only professions there are animal herding and salt mining. (It IS obvious where they're all immigrating from, though.)
+6
Level 88
Feb 22, 2021
From Wikipedia: "Djibouti is strategically located near some of the world's busiest shipping lanes, controlling access to the Red Sea and Indian Ocean. It serves as a key refuelling and transshipment center, and is the principal maritime port for imports from and exports to neighboring Ethiopia. A burgeoning commercial hub, the nation is the site of various foreign military bases, including Camp Lemonnier."

So, probably a lot of jobs are involved with transportation, shipping, and service industries.

+10
Level 61
Feb 22, 2021
Only missed Equatorial Guinea. If I just had 4 more minutes....I would still have missed Equatorial Guinea.
+2
Level 56
Feb 23, 2021
the left column was really hard!!
+1
Level 35
Mar 1, 2021
this is the only quiz where india is the most guessed
+1
Level 60
Jun 18, 2022
I can think of plenty of quizzes that have a good chance of having India as the top-guessed. Countries that Start with I, for example.
+1
Level 47
Mar 15, 2021
right-100%

left-0%

+1
Level 43
Sep 28, 2021
The first column was so hard omg
+2
Level 69
Jan 23, 2022
Left column is purely oil reserves!
+2
Level 84
Jun 10, 2022
% correct is right column followed by left column, except for Niger, which people got while typing Nigeria.
+1
Level 59
Jun 17, 2022
I typed Kuwait and finished the whole quiz!
+3
Level 53
Jan 7, 2023
yeah left was hard. was never gonna get angola lol even the others i only guessed. niger was only done because i was putting nigeria
+2
Level 69
Mar 23, 2023
This is a certified Gulf State moment
+1
Level 77
Feb 2, 2024
Took me almost the entirety of the quiz to get the left column, but once I found a couple, I just went nuts with that area.
+1
Level 58
Feb 5, 2024
It's interesting, that the two columns have no countries in common. That shows that the reasons for the population growth are wildly different, since the percentages in the first column could never be achieved by a high birthrate.

I think, almost all of the "new citizen" from the first row originate in countries from the second row, who left their country for work.

+1
Level 55
Feb 15, 2024
FYI the source link doesn't work
+1
Level 69
Feb 24, 2024
Link to the source doesn't work.
+1
Level ∞
Feb 24, 2024
Fixed