The UN says that the world’s population has reached 8 billion, just 11 years after it passed the seven-billion mark. Population growth is beginning to level off after spiking in the middle of the 20th century.
The United Nations projects that the world’s population will reach 10 billion in the year 2080.
World Population Reaches 8 Billion
Accurate population estimates are difficult to come up with; even the United Nations acknowledges that its own numbers may be off by a year or two. However, it predicts that the eight billion mark will be reached on November 15th.
What can we learn from the histories of the newborns chosen by the UN to symbolize the five, sixth, and seven billionth children in the world? In the minutes following his birth in July 1987, Matej Gaspar was surrounded by a posse of well-dressed politicians and a flashing camera.
Alex Marshall, a UN official from Britain, was stuck in the back of a motorcade outside the small maternity unit in Zagreb’s suburbs and felt guilty about the little turmoil he had caused.
In 1987, “we simply looked at the estimates and dreamed up this idea that the world population will cross five billion,” he explains. The 11th of July was used for the statistics. The group agreed to give the five billionth human on Earth a name.
The UN demographers he consulted to clear the idea were appalled when he presented it to them.
“They had to break it to us thick-headed dummies that we had no idea what we were doing. We shouldn’t single out one person when there are so many to choose from.”
However, they went ahead and did it anyway. “It was all about putting a face to the numbers,” he explains. We learned the secretary general’s schedule on that day, and things progressed from there.
The five-billionth human being on Earth is 35 years old and has been attempting to forget his famous birth. According to his Facebook profile, he is a chemical engineer who lives in Zagreb with his wife and two children. However, he avoids media attention and even turned down an interview with the BBC.
To which Alex replies, “Well, I don’t blame him,” recalling the media frenzy that surrounded Matej on his first day.
There have been three billion more individuals added to the world since then. However, just two billion people are expected to be added to the world’s population in the next 35 years before it levels off.
Outside of Dhaka, Sadia Sultana Oishee is helping her mother prepare dinner by peeling potatoes. Even though she’s only 11, she’s already adamant that she be allowed to play football outside. After the epidemic wiped out their fabric and sari-selling business, the family was forced to relocate here. Because of the lower cost of living in the hamlet, they are able to send all three of their girls to private school.
Oishee, being the youngest, is the family’s lucky charm. She was one of the seven billionth humans to enter the earth in 2011.
The girl’s mother was completely unaware of what was going on. That day would have been the last she’d ever planned on having a baby. She went to the doctor, and then they rushed her to the labor and delivery ward for an emergency C-section.
At one minute past midnight, Oishee arrived at a throng of reporters and city officials craning to catch a glimpse of her. Those in the household were taken aback by their sudden happiness. Her father always wanted a son, but he is content with his three smart, hardworking girls. Oishee, his eldest son, is already enrolled in college and plans to study medicine. Adding that “Covid has made things harder,” he continues, “we are not that well off.” But I’ll do my all to make that happen for her.
There have been 17 million new additions to Bangladesh’s teeming population since Oishee was born. Even though Bangladesh’s growth has slowed somewhat, this is a fantastic medical success story. Women had more than six children on average in 1980 but now had fewer than two. And that is because of the importance that the government has placed on education. In general, fewer families are preferred by educated women.
Insight into this is essential for predicting the future distribution of humanity’s population. The United Nations, the University of Washington’s Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME), and the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)-Wittgenstein Centre in Vienna are the three primary organizations that make projections on global population, but they disagree on the expected gains in education.
Despite projections by the United Nations that the world’s population will reach 10.4 billion in the 2080s, the Institute for Humane Studies and the Ludwig Wittgenstein Institute both predict that it will peak between the years 2060 and 2070, at a significantly lower number.
“Instead of repeating the pattern of population alarmism, let’s use this milestone as a rallying cry.”
See what she means: https://t.co/PDKAtcSxRb
— UNFPA (@UNFPA) November 14, 2022
Nonetheless, these are merely estimates. There has been a lot of change in the globe since Oishee was born in 2011, and demographers are always taken aback by the results. Samir KC, a demographer at the IIASA, says, “We were not expecting that the Aids mortality would decrease so low, that therapy would be saving so many people.” Changing his model was necessary because of the ripple effect of reducing infant mortality; those children who make it to adulthood are more likely to have children of their own.
Also, the precipitous declines in birthrates are a major problem.
Humanity’s Six Billionth Baby The population of Adnan Mavic’s home country could drop in half within the next half-century.
According to Samir KC, demographers were taken aback when the average number of births per woman in South Korea decreased to 0.81. “How low can it go, then? Our primary concern is this.”
Our world population has now reached another milestone: #8billion. #8billionAndCounting!
See all 8 actions you can take to help us promote and support Population Matters as we reach this global milestone.https://t.co/19pQNg9ovH pic.twitter.com/ZwpXX3q0xI
— Population Matters (@PopnMatters) November 14, 2022
More and more nations will have to deal with this issue. Most of the world’s population growth over the next century will occur in only eight countries, with half of that growth coming from just eight African nations. However, the fertility rate in most nations will be below the 2.1 children per woman that is considered sustainable.
Adnan Mavic, a 23-year-old from Bosnia and Herzegovina, hansions for older people,” he warns. “There won’t be any young people left.”
His master’s degree is in economics, and he’s currently in the employment market. If he is unsuccessful in his job search, he plans to relocate to a European Union country. His country, like many in Eastern Europe, is struggling under the weight of both falling birthrates and high rates of emigration. Adnan and his mother Fatima have a house outside of Sarajevo, and Fatima has dreamlike memories of giving birth to him.
Who Is Sixth Billionth Child Born?
Despite the presence of medical professionals, Fatima was unable to determine the nature of the emergency. Adnan was the world’s six-billionth newborn, and former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan was present to celebrate. Fatima says with a chuckle, “I was so weary, I don’t know how I felt.” Adnan and his mother look through family photo albums together. Men in suits and khakis surround a small child who is sitting in front of a huge cake in one scene. Adnan claims that while other children were celebrating his birthday, he was instead visited by politicians.
However, there were benefits. As the world’s six-billionth child, he was given a special opportunity to meet his idol, Cristiano Ronaldo, when he was just eleven years old.
It amazes him that the global population has doubled in just 23 years. That’s a lot, he exclaims. I fear for the future of our gorgeous world.
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Jessa Martin is the author of Nogmagazine, A professional in writing by day, and novelist by night, she received her bachelor of arts in film from Howard University and her master of arts in media studies from the New School. A Brooklyn native, she is a lover of naps, cookie dough, and beaches, currently residing in the borough she loves, most likely multitasking.