Population growth is like a snowball rolling down a snow-covered hill. As the snowball rolls, more snow sticks to it and it gets heavier and gains more momentum. The heavier it becomes, the more rapidly it grows.
Imagine a fictional country with a population of one million people and apply the 2003 population growth rate of Qatar, which was 2.87 percent.
The population would increase by 28,700 the first year. The second year, assuming the growth rate stayed the same, the population would grow by 29,524 people. The third year it would increase by 30,371.
After five years, the population would have grown by 151,988 people, or about 15 percent. After 10 years, the population would be 1,327,063. That’s almost a 33 percent increase.
The yearly increase after 10 years, in real terms, would have increased 29 percent, from 28,700 the first year to 37,024 in the tenth year.