World Population Day
"Instead of controlling the environment for the benefit of the population, perhaps it's time we control the population to allow the survival of the environment."
--British Broadcaster and Naturalist Sir David Attenborough
Fertility, mortality and migration are the main drivers of population
growth or decline. Improvements in health care, life expectancy, and infant mortality rates have led to a rapidly growing world population. On July 11, 1987, United Nations Secretary-General Javier Perez de Cuellar symbolically designated a baby boy
born in Zagreb, Croatia as the 5 billionth human inhabitant of Earth. The U.N. Fund for Population Activities marked the "Day of Five Billion
" to draw attention to the accelerating
growth in the global population.
Two years later, it became an annual event known as World Population Day
. Since then, it has been observed each year to raise awareness of population trends and related issues and the underlying implications and impact they have on human health, planetary resources and climate change. The theme for 2018 is "Family Planning is a Human Right
Below are some facts and statistics that highlight global population issues:
* During the 20th century alone, the population in the world has grown from 1.65 billion to about 7.4 billion. In 1970, there were roughly half as many people
in the world as there are now.
* Before 2008, the majority of the world's population resided in rural areas. Today, more than half of the world's population lives in towns and cities
, and this is projected to grow to 70 percent
* In 2015, there were 1.8 billion people in the world between the ages of 10 and 24
. Many of them are concentrated in developing countries. Children or adolescents make up a majority of the population in the world’s 48 least developed countries.
* The U.S. Census Bureau
estimates there is one birth globally every 8 seconds and one death every 12 seconds, with a net gain of one person on Earth every 12 seconds.
* Fertility rates
have fallen all over the world. Globally, up until 1965 the average woman had more than 5 children. Over the last 50 years the global fertility rate has been cut in half, and the average woman has fewer than 2.5 children today. But there are still widely disparate rates
between countries and continents--Africa's rate is 4.7 births per woman, while in Europe it's only 1.6.
* As of 2000, Muhammad
(or one of many alternate spellings like Mohammed or Mohammad) was thought to be the most popular given name in the world, shared by an estimated 150 million men and boys.
The top 20 percent of the wealthiest people in the world today consume 86 percent of all goods and services
, while the poorest 20 percent consume only 1.3 percent.
* The world's annual population growth rate
reached its peak in the late 1960s, when it was at around 2%. Since then, it has dropped dramatically--to 1.09% in 2018 --which equates to an estimated at 83 million people per year. The growth rate is projected to continue to decline in the future.
* By 2024 India
will overtake China as the world's most populous country. China currently has 1.4 billion inhabitants, closely followed by India with 1.3 billion. Together they make up 37% of the world’s population.
* Tokyo, Japan
, with some 38 million residents, is the largest city in the world. The next four most populous cities are in the two most densely populated countries in the world--China and India.
Refer your students to the SIRS Issues Researcher Leading Issue Overpopulation
for background information, key points of contention, and current analysis that investigates how the overpopulation affects politics, personal beliefs, current events, and more.
SIRS Issues Researcher
is a curriculum-aligned database that provides a variety of international sources, interactives, images, statistics charts, and maps to help students understand, evaluate and form opinions on over 350 complex social issues. SIRS Issues Researcher contains 100% full text, lexiled articles, as well as a dedicated editorial team who selects targeted content and creates features, such as Pro/Con Essential Questions and research tools that promote critical thinking throughout the research process.
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