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The world’s population is about to reach a breathtaking milestone

The world population will reach 8 billion on November 15, 2022, according to the UN. While this figure is a clear indicator of success in public health and development, it also poses a challenge for sustainability and social and economic growth.

Despite the uncertainties regarding fertility and mortality trends around the world, previous United Nations population estimates were quite accurate.

“Thirty years ago, in his 1992 revision of the World Population Prospects, we predicted that world population would reach 8 billion by the start of 2020,” said Bela Hovy, of the Economics Department’s Population Division. and Social Affairs of the United Nations. Pleasemynews.

“There are many uncertainties about population data and population estimates for many countries and regions, so even the year it reaches 8 billion should be taken with caution,” said Tomas Sobotka, senior fellow at the Wittgenstein Center. for Demography and Global Human Capital. , Told Pleasemynews. “But, based on the best available data and estimates, we can conclude that the world is reaching 8 billion this year.”

As recently as 1950, the world population was only 2.5 billion. It has since increased by more than 300%. Fortunately, Hovy said the rate of that increase is starting to slow.

“While the world’s population continues to grow, it is now growing at a slower rate than in recent decades. In 2020, the world population growth rate fell below 1% per year for the first time since 1950…Based on past and recent demographic trajectories, the world population is projected to reach 9 billion by 2037.”

Population growth is expected to peak in the 2080s, when it reaches around 10.4 billion.

“The figure of 8 billion for the world population comes from the aggregation of the populations of all countries and regions of the world,” he said.

“The production of quality population estimates and projections depends on the collection of reliable and timely demographic data… In the 2022 revision of the World Population Prospects, 1,758 population censuses were taken into account. Information on births and deaths from civil registration and vital statistics systems from 169 countries and demographic indicators from 2,890 surveys were considered in this assessment.”

However, the data set is still incomplete.

“While a large amount of data has been taken into account, gaps remain,” Hovy said. “Collecting basic demographic information remains a challenge…Less than three-quarters of all births that take place in the world are correctly registered, and only two-thirds of all deaths are registered.”

Reaching a population of 8 billion is a major milestone.

“It calls for a celebration as a major success in public health, improvements in sanitation and disease control, better access to clean water, and the development of antibiotics and vaccines,” Hovy said.

Such advances in health are essential for social and economic development, but population growth is also putting pressure on our planet. On average, each person on Earth is responsible for emitting four and a half tons of carbon dioxide each year, and with each new person we can expect emissions to increase.

However, an individual’s actual contribution varies greatly depending on the country in which they live. For example, a person living in the United States is responsible for emitting 14.24 tons per year, while a person living in the Democratic Republic of Congo emits only 0.03 tons.

“It would be a huge challenge if a world of 8 billion people had a standard of living similar to high-income countries, due to unsustainable production and consumption patterns in those countries,” Hovy said.

“Future growth in the world’s population will take place primarily in low-income and lower-middle-income countries,” he said.

While people in these countries tend to emit less carbon dioxide on average, population growth in these regions comes with other problems.

Sobotka said, “Future population growth will be heavily concentrated in counties with high fertility today, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa, and a few low- and middle-income countries in Asia. These are also the regions where the future pressure of population growth on resources, food production and possible violent conflicts will be greatest.”

There are also concerns about how we will produce enough food to feed our growing population. In 2021, around 828 million people faced hunger worldwide.

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