The world’s population will reach 8 billion people on Tuesday, marking a “milestone in human development” before birth rates begin to decline, according to a United Nations projection.
In a statement, the UN said the figure meant a billion people had been added to the world’s population in just 12 years.
“This unprecedented growth is due to the gradual increase in human life due to improvements in public health, nutrition, personal hygiene and medicine. It is also the result of persistently high levels of fertility in some countries,” the UN statement read.
Middle-income countries, mainly in Asia, accounted for most of the growth over the last decade, gaining some 700 million people since 2011. India added around 180 million people and is poised to surpass Porcelain as the world’s most populous nation next year.
But even as the global population hits new highs, demographers note that the growth rate has steadily fallen to less than 1% a year. This should keep the world from reaching 9 billion people until 2037. The UN projects that the world population will peak at around 10.4 billion people in the 2080s and stay at that level until 2100.
Most of the 2.4 billion people that will be added before the world population peaks will be born in sub-Saharan Africa, according to the UN, marking a move away from China and India.
Reaching a world population of 8 billion “is an occasion to celebrate diversity and progress while considering humanity’s shared responsibility for the planet,” UN Secretary-General António Guterres said in the statement. the ONU.
Having more people on Earth puts more pressure on nature, as people compete with wildlife for water, food, and space. Meanwhile, rapid population growth combined with climate change is likely to spark mass migration and conflict in the coming decades, experts say.
And whether it’s food or water, batteries or gasoline, there will be less to go around as the world’s population grows. But how much they consume is just as important, suggesting that policymakers can make a big difference by requiring a change in consumption patterns.
The carbon emissions of the richest 1%, or about 63 million people, were more than double the emissions of the poorest half of humanity between 1990 and 2015, according to a 2020 analysis by the Stockholm Environment Institute. and the non-profit organization Oxfam International.
The pressure on resources will be especially daunting in African nations, where populations are expected to grow, experts say. These are also among the countries most vulnerable to climate shocks and most in need of heated Finance.
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