According to the United Nations, a baby born somewhere on Tuesday will be the world eighth billionth individual.
“The milestone is an opportunity to celebrate diversity and progress while reflecting on humanity’s shared responsibility for the planet,” said U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres in a statement.
The United Nations attributes the increase to human development, with people living longer lives as a result of advancements in public health, nutrition, personal hygiene, and medicine.
It is also the outcome of rising fertility rates, especially in the world’s poorest countries, the majority of which are in Sub-Saharan Africa, which jeopardizes their development aspirations.
Population increase has exacerbated the environmental consequences of economic progress.
While some worry that eight billion people are too numerous for the world, most experts believe the bigger issue is the wealthy’s overconsumption of resources.
“Some express concern that our globe is overpopulated,” said Natalia Kanem, head of the United Nations Population Fund. “I am here to state unequivocally that the sheer number of human lives is not cause for concern.”
According to Joel Cohen of Rockefeller University’s Laboratory of Populations, there are two sides to the question of how many people the Earth can support: natural constraints and human choices.
Humans consume significantly more biological resources, such as forests and land, than the world can recover each year as a result of our decisions.
Overconsumption of fossil fuels, for example, increases carbon dioxide emissions, which contribute to global warming.
“We are illiterate. Lacked vision. We are avaricious. We don’t make good use of the knowledge we have. That is where the options and problems are “Mr. Cohen stated.
However, he rejects the notion that humans are a curse on the planet, arguing that people should be given more options.
The present population is more than three times that of 1950, when the world’s population was 2.5 billion.
However, after peaking in the early 1960s, the world’s population growth rate has slowed substantially, according to Rachel Snow of the United Nations Population Fund.
Annual growth has declined from a high of 2.1% between 1962 and 1965 to less than 1% in 2020.
According to the United Nations, this figure could fall to around 0.5% by 2050 if fertility rates continue to fall.
The United Nations predicts that the world’s population will reach 8.5 billion in 2030, 9.7 billion in 2050, and 10.4 billion in the 2080s.
Other groups, however, arrived at different conclusions.
In a 2020 research, the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) in the United States predicted that the global population will peak in 2064, never exceeding 10 billion, and then drop to 8.8 billion by 2100.
Since the first humans appeared in Africa over two million years ago, the world’s population has exploded, with only brief respites from the increasing number of people sharing Earth.
…The world population has surpassed 8 billion, with India expected to surpass China by 2023, according to the United Nations.
To retain their nomadic lifestyle, our forefathers were hunter-gatherers who had fewer children than later settled tribes.
Around 10,000 BC, agriculture was introduce, resulting in the first record big population surge.
With agriculture came sedentarization and the ability to store food, which caused birth rates to soar.
From around six million in 10,000 BC, the global population leapt to 100 million in 2,000 BC and then to 250 million in the first century AD, according to the French Institute for Demographic Studies.
As a result of the Black Death, the human population dropped between 1300 and 1400, from 429 to 374 million.
Other events, like the Plague of Justinian, which hit the Mediterranean over two centuries from 541-767, and the wars of the early Middle Ages in western Europe, also caused temporary dips in the number of humans on Earth.
From the 19th century on, the population began to explode, due largely to the development of modern medicine and the industrialization of agriculture, which boosted global food supplies.
Since 1800, the world’s population has jumped eight-fold, from an estimated one billion to eight billion.
The development of vaccines was key, with the smallpox jab particularly helping zap one of history’s biggest killers.