Nigeria will be just one million less than the American population in 2050, making it the one three 10 most populous countries in the world, according to a projection released this week by the Population Reference Bureau in Washington.

The report noted that after the United States dominated the 20th century, a view formed that Asia would be the next to lead the world in economic and cultural influence. Africa may have something to say about that before the century is out.

According to the report, the continent will claim three of the world’s 10 most populous countries in 2050. “The largest of those, Nigeria, will be just one million people shy of the U.S.’s size, with Democratic Republic of the Congo and Ethiopia entering the list.

They replace Russia and Mexico, with the former’s exit leaving Europe with no country on the top 10 list,” the report stated.

The report indicated that while the U.S. and other developed countries struggle to adapt their labour forces to an aging population, African countries are experiencing a baby boom.

Niger, South Sudan, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Somalia and Chad have the highest fertility rates in the world.

“The population gains are also due to a decline in mortality rates due to improvements in public health,” said Peter Goldstein, vice president with the PRB, who oversaw production of its 2015 World Population Data Sheet. “Africa is going to be a key driver in population growth over the next few decades,” the report says.

That may be one reason a majority of Africans surveyed by Pew Research Centre believe today’s children will be better off financially than their parents when they grow up.

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