ISLAMABAD - While women, on average, are having fewer children than they were in the 1960s, the global population continues to rise. As the world population is to reach 7 billion by this year, high fertility rates in some of the poorest countries hamper development and perpetuate poverty, whereas in some of the richest countries, low fertility rates and too few people entering the job market are raising concerns, according to a report. The annual report on global population, State of the World Population 2011 launched by United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) points to certain achievements, setbacks and paradoxes evolving the planets human population in the ongoing year. Carrying the theme, People and possibilities in a world of 7 billion, the 132-page report, launched simultaneously in 120 countries on Wednesday, is in sequel to the UNFPA global initiative Countdown to a World of Seven Billion People that was kicked off last month (September 12) and would conclude coming Monday (October 31). The UNFPA report particularly discusses the population challenges in nine countries that emanate out of either massive population outbursts on account of high rates of fertility or generation gaps causing a standstill in population growth due to low fertility rates. These countries include China, India. Egypt, Mexico, Finland, Ethiopia, Mozambique, Nigeria and Macedonia. In Pakistan, the much delayed and heatedly debated population census 2011 that was scheduled sometime in the recent months has been postponed till next year due to the monsoon floods in Sindh, pending electoral voters lists, and related constraints. Some reports suggest that the population census is likely by April next year. Whenever the population census takes place, the UNFPA would provide technical assistance and all the required expertise to the government. Weve been doing this over the years in Pakistan and rest of the world, UNFPA chief in Pakistan Rabbi Royan told this journalist by phone. We have a whole team of staff from Chief Technical Advisor to professional experts for this purpose, he said. Asked why Pakistan, that has over 180 million population, not been discussed in the UNFPA State of the World Population Report 2011, the UNFPA chief said, Thats not the case. The report took into account a range of regions from across the world. China and India are discussed in report because they are two largest countries in Asia. The report thoroughly discusses population challenges in diverse regions. Royan said that one of the emerging challenges in Pakistan was population urbanisation following 35 percent population been urbanised. He also mentioned of aging crises in China and fertility problems in India as respective challenges faced by these states. The challenges are there, yet every state can benefit from this report in tackling them. It helps in policy making by providing clear guidelines on opportunities, challenges, setbacks and different aspects of world population, said Rabbi Royan. Meanwhile, according to the UNFPA report, Asia will remain the most populous area in the world during the 21st century but Africa will gain ground as its population more than triples, passing from 1 billion in 2011 to 3.6 billion in 2100. In 2011, 60 per cent of the world population lived in Asia and 15 per cent in Africa. Africas population has been growing 2.3 per cent per year, a rate more than double that of Asias population (1 per cent per year). The population of Africa first surpassed a billion in 2009 and is expected to add another billion in just 35 years (by 2044), even as its fertility drops from 4.6 children per woman in 2005-2010 to 3.0 children per woman in 2040-2045. Asias population, which is currently 4.2 billion, is expected to peak around the middle of the century (it is projected to reach 5.2 billion in 2052) and to start a slow decline thereafter. The populations of all other major areas combined (the Americas, Europe and Oceania) amount to 1.7 billion in 2011 and are projected to rise to nearly 2 billion in 2060 and then decline very slowly, remaining still near 2 billion by the turn of the century. Among the regions, the population of Europe is projected to peak around 2025 at 0.74 billion and decline thereafter. Chinas population is about 1.3 billion followed by India, in Asia, with a population of 1.2 billion. In India, the fertility rate, at 2.5 children per woman, is still well above the replacement level of 2.1. China, now with about 1.3 billion, as the worlds most populous nation by 2025 and its size will affect the global population profile. People under 25 make up 43 per cent of the worlds population. When young people can claim their rights to health, education and decent working conditions, they become a powerful force for economic development and positive change, says the report.