The world’s population hit 8 billion on Tuesday, according to estimates from the United Nations, even as the international body says an increase in births in low-income countries could pose a risk.
Here’s what it means for the next few decades:
Population growth slows down
Much of the world’s population growth has occurred in the last century as better living standards and health advances extended life expectancy, with the total number of people on earth increasing from 2 billion in 1927 to 6 billion in 1927. 1998. Still, there are early signs that this growth is slowing.
Annual population growth is currently at its slowest since 1950. Although it took 12 years for the world’s population to increase by one billion, it will take 15 years to reach the next milestone and about two decades. next century, according to United Nations projections.
Fewer babies in rich countries
The slowdown is largely due to affluent countries, where the costly burden of raising a child and falling marriage rates mean that countries from South Korea to France are facing a population decline due to insufficient number of children being born to replace the elderly.
Even as governments use measures like payouts and better home loans for families with more children, the UN sees little sign that that is changing. It predicts that over the next three decades, the number of people under the age of 65 in high- and upper-middle-income countries will decrease while the older demographic of that age group will increase.
Baby Boom in poorer countries
The United Nations forecasts that most of the world’s future population growth will be concentrated in low-income countries, with just eight countries accounting for most of the projected increase through 2050. The majority of these are countries in sub-Saharan Africa such as Nigeria and Ethiopia, as well as other emerging countries such as India, Pakistan and the Philippines.
That creates a challenge for such countries, which already suffer from relatively low per capita incomes. With more and more young people potentially putting additional strain on limited resources like education and healthcare, countries and nonprofits are working to raise awareness of the issues. as birth control to reduce birth rates.
The doomsday scenario is unlikely
There have been commonly drawn apocalyptic scenarios in the past of global population spikes — including those popularized by the “Population Bomb” by University of California professor Paul Ehrlich. Stanford wrote in 1968, warning of mass famine. That did not happen due to advances in farming technology and the decline in birth rates.
Even so, the United Nations warns that population growth has contributed to harm to the environment, while also fueling global warming and deforestation.
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