Population Connection Statement on a World of 8 Billion
Written by Olivia Nater | Published: November 15, 2022
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Today, November 15, 2022, the world population has officially grown to 8 billion, according to the UN. While light-hearted media stories about the “8 billionth baby” will likely abound, not enough attention is being paid to what our huge and growing numbers mean for humanity and our planet.
The last year we marked a population milestone of this magnitude was in 2011, when we became 7 billion. The duration between milestones has become ever shorter—it took until 1804 to reach our first billion, then another 123 years until we added the second billion. Now, we add another billion every 11-15 years. The UN projects our population will grow to 9 billion by 2037, and will likely stop increasing at just over 10 billion in the 2080s.
Our escalating, interlinked environmental crises, including climate change, resource depletion and biodiversity loss, reflect our collective failure to address the root causes, which include human population growth. We are also seeing depressing setbacks on development issues, including the renewed increase in world hunger after decades of hard-won progress. Empowering measures to slow population growth are key to averting a grim future.
Population Connection President & CEO John Seager says:
The fact that we are facing a future population size of more than 10 billion reflects too slow progress on women’s empowerment, especially relating to access to family planning and education. Whenever women gain bodily autonomy and the power to choose their family size, they tend to have fewer children. But 257 million women around the world still have an unmet need for modern contraception.
Our population size and trajectory has great bearing on human wellbeing, planetary health, and our ability to solve the problems we face today. By ramping up investment in the advancement of women’s and reproductive rights around the world, we can significantly slow population growth in the second half of this century and achieve a happier, more sustainable world.
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