UN: World Population Reaches 8B

According to UN estimates, the global population reached 8B on Tuesday — a "milestone in human development" before birth rates are predicted to slow. It means 1B people have been added to the world's population in only 12 years.

UN: World Population Reaches 8B
Image credit: Joseph Chan / Unsplash

Facts

  • According to UN estimates, the global population reached 8B on Tuesday — a "milestone in human development" before birth rates are predicted to slow. It means 1B people have been added to the world's population in only 12 years.
  • Despite the new high, the report noted that population growth is at its slowest pace since 1950 and fell under 1% in 2020. According to the UN, the global population could reach 8.5B in 2030 and 9.7B in 2050 before peaking at 10.4B during the 2080s and remaining at that level until 2100.
  • While reaching 8B people is a sign of human success, the UN warned it could pose a risk for areas already facing resource scarcity due to climate change.
  • The UN says that the growth is largely due to longer life expectancy, thanks to advancements in public health, nutrition, hygiene, and healthcare.
  • Over half of the global population lives in only seven countries: China, India, the US, Indonesia, Pakistan, Nigeria, and Brazil, with India projected to surpass China as the world's most populated country in 2023.
  • Meanwhile, the UN expects five nations in sub-Saharan Africa to contribute to more than half of the next billion: the Democratic Republic of Congo, Egypt, Ethiopia, Nigeria, and Tanzania.

Sources: CNN, UN, Reuters, WEforum, and StKittsNevis Observer.

Narratives

  • Narrative A, as provided by CNBC. The issue of concern in this report is the slowing pace of growth that, if left unchecked, will snowball into a population collapse disaster. Despite popular rhetoric, overpopulation isn't the threat; stagnating birth rates — which don't just represent a crisis for a specific country but are an existential threat to the entire planet — are.
  • Narrative B, as provided by Wired. There's a lack of consensus that stagnated birth rates pose an existential threat to the planet. There are now 8B people and counting on the earth, and there likely won't be a population collapse any time soon. Besides, slowing population growth would actually bring a myriad of economic and environmental benefits in a world struggling with the threat of climate change.

Predictions