World Population Just Hit a Milestone

It's estimated to top 8B for the first time on Tuesday
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 15, 2022 6:42 AM CST
Tuesday Is a Milestone Day for World's Population
People crowd the Juhu beach on the Arabian Sea coast in Mumbai, India, Sunday, Nov. 13, 2022.   (AP Photo/Rafiq Maqbool)

You are now one of 8 billion people on the planet, according to UN estimates. The organization calculates the world population will cross the 8 billion mark on Nov. 15, though it admits it could be off as counting every single person on the planet is nearly impossible. Regardless, the UN will select a newborn to represent the eight-billionth person in the world, as it did with the five-, six-, and seven-billionth people. Eleven-year-old Sadia Sultana Oishee, born in the presence of TV cameras in 2011 as the apparent seven-billionth person, is considered the lucky charm of her family, now living outside Dhaka, Bangladesh, per the BBC. She hopes to become a doctor, and her father says he will "do everything to make her dream come true."

Though it has taken just 11 years since Oishee's birth to reach the mark of 8 billion people, the world population isn't expected to reach 9 billion until 2037. The UN doesn't expect the population to reach 10 billion until 2080. However, other bodies expect the world population to peak around 2060 or 2070, without ever reaching the 10 billion mark. The matter largely comes down to education. "As women become more educated they choose to have smaller families," per the BBC. A fertility rate of 2.1 children per woman sustains a population. But anything below that causes the population to decline. As of 2021, the average fertility rate globally was 2.3 births per woman, per the CBC.

In reaching the mark of 8 billion people, the UN credits "the gradual increase in human lifespan owing to improvements in public health, nutrition, personal hygiene and medicine" but also "high and persistent levels of fertility in some countries." Middle-income countries in Asia gained 700 million people over the last 11 years, per CNN. India gained 180 million. However, it is now one of several countries—including the US and South Korea—experiencing fertility rates below the replacement level. Most of the next 2.4 billion people are predicted to be born in sub-Saharan Africa, where women average 4.6 births in their lifetime, per the AP. The outlet adds resources there are "already stretched to the limit." (More world population stories.)

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