The world's population has reached 8 billion and counting

A result of the gradual increase in human lifespan and high and persistent levels of fertility in some countries.
Mert Erdemir
Big crowd of people.
Big crowd of people.

Dmytro Varavin/iStock 

The world's population hit eight billion today, November 15, and this is a "milestone in human development," according to a statement by the United Nations (UN).

Considering the fact that the last time the global population notched seven billion was in 2011, the world population increased by one billion in the last 11 years. This raises concerns about overpopulation, which is directly linked to climate change.

"This unprecedented growth is due to the gradual increase in human lifespan owing to improvements in public health, nutrition, personal hygiene, and medicine. It is also the result of high and persistent levels of fertility in some countries," as per the UN statement.

The pace of world population growth is declining

You might remember that at the beginning of 2022, Elon Musk tweeted: "If there aren't enough people for Earth, then there definitely won't be enough for Mars ☹️." Well, sad news for him, but his plans for Mars are still in danger.

A campaign by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) points out a decline in world population growth, stating that the pace of world population growth has been dropping since 1970 and has fallen to less than one percent per year in 2020 for the first time.

It will take approximately 15 years - until 2037 - for the global population to surpass 9 billion, as per the UN report.

"Total fertility has fallen markedly in recent decades for many countries. Today, two-thirds of the global population lives in a country or area where fertility is below 2.1 births per woman, roughly the level required for zero growth in the long run for a population with low mortality," according to the World Population Prospects 2022: Summary of Results.

However, statistics show that countries with the highest fertility rates typically have the lowest per-capita incomes. Therefore, the world's poorest countries, most of which are in sub-Saharan Africa, have seen an increase in their share of the global population rise.

"Countries of sub-Saharan Africa are expected to continue growing through 2100 and to contribute more than half of the global population increase anticipated through 2050."

According to the UNFPA statement, the countries that have the biggest share of contribution to the 8th billion were lower-middle-income and low-income ones. The contribution of upper-middle-income countries, on the other hand, was about 250 million.

While the UN projects the population to continue growing to about 9.7 billion in 2050, only time will tell if the Earth can handle the increasing population and its consumption needs.

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