World population: limit of eight billion is being cracked | tagesschau.de

Status: 14-11-2022 11:31 am

It took humanity hundreds of thousands of years for the first billion. After that it went faster and faster. From tomorrow there will be eight billion people living on Earth. An end to growth is not yet in sight.

According to UN calculations, the number of people in the world will exceed eight billion tomorrow. That is more than three times as much as in 1950.

“This unprecedented growth is due to the gradual increase in life expectancy as a result of improvements in health services, nutrition, personal hygiene and medicine. It is also the result of high and persistent birth rates in some countries,” the United Nations said recently.

Since it is impossible to keep track of hundreds of thousands of births and deaths per day, the UN has chosen the middle of the month for the Humanity Milestone.

However, world population growth has slowed considerably. While it grew at an annual rate of 2.1 percent between 1962 and 1965, growth fell to less than one percent in 2000. Due to the declining birth rate, the growth rate could fall to about 0.5 percent by 2050, according to UN estimates.

Experts disagree on peak growth

There is no end in sight to the steady growth. The UN estimates that by 2037 there will be nine billion people on Earth. The world is likely to peak around 2080, when there will be about 10.4 billion people on Earth, according to UN predictions.

Other experts calculate different numbers. In a study published two years ago, the US Institute for Health Measurement and Evaluation predicted that the peak would be reached in 2064 and would be below ten billion. This is due to different assumptions about the birth rate.

Fewer births, rising life expectancy

According to the UN, by 2021 every woman had 2.3 children in her life. By 2050, the rate should therefore fall to 2.1. Another factor is average life expectancy. This is steadily increasing. By 2050, the UN expects an average life expectancy of 77.2 years.

In combination with the declining birth rate, this means that the proportion of over-65s in the total population will increase from the current ten percent to 16 percent in 2050.

This also increases the burden on the state pension systems, the need for elderly care increases and at the same time there are fewer young workers available. UN expert Rachel Snow reports a growing number of questions to the UN Population Fund about how states can boost their population growth.

Major regional differences

There are major differences in population development between regions of the world. According to the UN, by 2050, more than half of the population growth will occur in the eight countries of India, Nigeria, Egypt, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Pakistan, the Philippines and Tanzania.

The average age in several regions is also higher than ever: currently 41.7 years in Europe and 17.6 years in Sub-Saharan Africa.

According to UN forecasts, the world’s two most populous countries, China and India, are likely to switch places on the podium as early as next year. India’s total population is set to grow to about 1.4 billion in 2023 and 1.7 billion in 2050. In contrast, China’s population is expected to drop to 1.3 billion by 2050.

Cause for celebration or cause for concern?

For the head of the United Nations Population Fund, Natalia Kanem, the current figure contains many positives. After all, it reflects a fundamental leap: “Eight billion people, that is an important milestone for humanity. And it is the combination of longer life expectancy, lower maternal and child mortality and increasingly effective health systems,” Kanem recently told a UN expert. meeting.

According to Kanem, the fact that many people are concerned about overpopulation is unfounded: “I am here to say clearly that the sheer number of human lives is no reason to be afraid.” In any case, according to the UN, there are sufficient resources – what matters is a fair and fair distribution.

Regarding global warming, Frank Swiaczny of the Federal Institute for Population Research adds, “More people doesn’t necessarily mean a bigger carbon footprint.” Nearly half of global CO2 emissions are caused by the ten percent of the world’s highest income population, while the contribution of the poorest half is negligible.

Eight Billion People on Earth: Nigeria – An Example of Population Growth

Sebastian Felser, ARD Rabat, 14/11/2022 12:59 PM

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