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In a Lagos market. Photo: Stefan Heunis/AFP via Getty Images

Nigeria is on track to have the third-highest population in the world, behind only India and China, according to the UN, a change that could reverberate globally since it's also likely to remain poor.

Why it matters: With more people will come more health risks, a need for more food from already-stressed agricultural land — and the potential for regional and global instability as poor Nigerians along with other Africans seek to migrate for a better life.

By the numbers: Nigeria is expected to surpass the U.S. population by 2050 and Africa is expected to make up 39% of the global population by 2100.

  • Already, Nigeria has the second-highest number of people living with HIV and, when combined with the Democratic Republic of Congo, accounts for more than 35% of the world’s malaria deaths, according to USAID.
  • This year there has been a record-breaking outbreak of Lassa Fever, the Atlantic reports.
  • The need to grow more food to feed Nigeria's growing population will cause humanitarian and environmental havoc, including increased greenhouse gas emissions from producing food.
"This projected increase in population poses a food security challenge for the people of Sub-Saharan Africa. The region is already the world’s hungriest."
World Resources Institute
  • If fertility rates could be reduced, it could help boost Africa's economy, as there would be fewer children to care for. Such a "demographic dividend" helped fuel the economic expansion of the East Asian "Tigers" between 1965 and 1990.

One solution: Empowering women. "We know when girls are educated and have access to family planning, and you have a decline in mortality rates among infants, every society that has seen that happen has reduced fertility rates dramatically and rapidly," said Timothy Searchinger, a researcher at Princeton.

Go deeper

Liz Cheney: Americans deserve better than choice of Biden or Trump

Rep. Liz Cheney talks with Lesley Stahl on CBS' "60 Minutes." Photo: CBS News

Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) told CBS' "60 Minutes" in an interview broadcast Sunday that Americans "deserve better than having to choose between" President Biden's "disastrous" policies and former President Trump, "who violated his oath of office."

Why it matters: Cheney made the remarks after CBS' Lesley Stahl put it to her in the interview that Republicans feel that her joining the House select committee in charge of investigating the Jan. 6 U.S. Capitol riot helps "keep the focus on Trump instead of on the shortcomings of the Biden administration."

5 hours ago - Politics & Policy

First look: The LCV's $4M ad buy

A screenshot from a new League of Conservation Voters ad supporting Rep. Stephanie Murphy.

The League of Conservation Voters and Climate Power are aiming another $4 million worth of ads at centrist House Democrats, urging them to support the climate provisions in President Biden’s $3.5 trillion budget reconciliation package, Axios has learned.

Why it matters: Progressive groups are trying to counter the onslaught of conservative money pouring into swing districts. Both sides are trying to define Biden’s Build Back Better Agenda and pressure lawmakers to support — or oppose — the legislation scheduled for a vote in the House this week.

5 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Shutdown Plan B

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The Senate will hold a futile vote Monday night — just 72 hours before a potential shutdown — on a House-passed bill to fund the government through Dec. 3 and raise the debt limit.

Why it matters: The bill is going to fail. Period. But then comes Plan B: A "clean" continuing resolution — stripped of language about raising the debt limit — that Democrats spent the past week preparing, Axios is told.