(Photo – Luis Molina)
The world’s population reached 8 billion people last week, according to a United Nations projection.
The estimate came 11 years after the worldwide population hit 7 billion in October 2011.
UN Secretary-General António Guterres said in a press release that “the milestone is an occasion to celebrate diversity and advancements while considering humanity’s shared responsibility for the planet.”
As we welcome the 8 billionth member of our human family, we must think ahead.
By 2050, the world’s population will be approaching 10 billion.
Action – or inaction – by the G20 will determine whether everyone can live sustainably & peacefully on a healthy planet.
— António Guterres (@antonioguterres) November 15, 2022
It will take approximately 15 years —until 2037— for the population to reach 9 billion, according to the UN, which suggested that the overall growth rate of the global population is slowing.
Dr Don Kerr, a demographer for Kings University College in Canada, said that the current population trend will keep going for the near future.
“They [UN] project a stabilization and some decline. There are some demographers who suggest that the UN’s medium growth is perhaps a bit high.”
Fertility rates are key in the discussion when comparing populations’ growth throughout the world.
With such an increase, currently 60 percent of the world’s population live in countries with below replacement fertility.
He said, “That is, a Total Fertility rate of less than 2.1 [kids on average per woman]”.
Dr Kerr added that much of the world has already experienced a major fertility decline, which is responsible for a slowing in the global rate of population growth.
“It is within the realm of possibility that population growth on a global scale could stabilize at around 9 billion. Perhaps unlikely, but possible,” he said.
Similar growth has taken place in the United Kingdom, where population was estimated to be 67.1 million at mid-year 2020.
The Office for National Statistics projects that the UK population will rise over this decade by 2.1 million to 69.2 million in 2035, an increase of 3.2 percent.
In fact, the UK Government expects the national population to surpass 72 million by mid-2041.
London’s mid-2020 population was 9,002,488 million, with a growth of .045 percent, marking the first time that the capital’s population passed 9 million.
The availability of resources for an enlarged world population amid ongoing concerns about supplies and environmental costs is one key topic.
Dr Kerr said that humanity already faces major challenges such as climate change and declining biodiversity.
The demographer said that increased population growth does tend to imply increased demand for resources and energy.
“We need to maintain our natural areas and conserve the biodiversity that remains.”
In terms of current growth, Dr Kerr said that the population in Europe is close to being stable. He added that future growth will come to Africa and Asia.
“I believe ‘population ageing and population decline’ can be accommodated much more readily than continued rapid population growth in less developed countries.”
The UN said that countries with the highest fertility rates tend to be those with the lowest income data.