Hey Baby, What’s Your Number?
The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) would have me believe that mine is 3,536,155,740. They also suggest that someone will claim the number 7,000,000,000 sometime during today.
7 billion people. That’s a lot of humanity. And a milestone worth noting, and discussing the implications of. But before we spend too much time pondering the possibilities for a planet of 7 billion (and problems that we face) it’s worth noting that there is some dissension among the various bodies that track population figures.
The reality is simply that making an accurate count of the planetary population is an ideal fraught with complications. Witness the challenges being faced by our own Statistics SA in their present efforts to count just the population of South Africa through Census 2011. And that’s in a fairly advanced society with (around) 50 million people in it. The developing worlds of Africa, India, China all pose significantly more complex challenges for enumerators.
The US Census Bureau for example believes that the 7 billion milestone will only be reached sometime in March 2012. The UN itself seems to be in slight conflict with two of its related web sites indicating slightly different figures, with 7 Billion and Me indicating a figure just below 7 billion at the moment, whilst its’ sister site, 7 Billion Actions indicates the nicely rounded number has already been passed.
Let’s accept that were talking in estimates here, not specifics.
Whatever the actual number, both those sites are well worth a visit. The first (7 Billion and Me) is the source for the images in this post. Use it to see your place in the world and gain some interesting insights into where your birth fits into the global population.
The second (7 Billion Actions) provides a wealth of information about the impact that 7 billion will have on the planet and the sort of actions that people can (and are) taking to improve things like food and water security for the Earths’ growing mass of humanity.
National Geographic magazine also have a fascinating mini-site focusing on the 7 billion number. Those of the iPad set will also find a (free for now) brilliant iPad enabled app available from their site as well.
Some insights from the recently released “State of World Population 2011” UN Report:
- The 7 billion mark is a huge spike from less than a century ago – in 1927 the global population was 2 billion.
- It was only 13 years ago that the population was at 6 billion.
- People under the age of 25 make up 43% of the world’s population.
- About half of the world’s population lives in cities. Within about 35 years, two-thirds will.
- Women are on average having fewer children than they were in the 1960s.
- The number of children a woman is expected to have dropped from an average of 6 to 2.5.
- Today there are 893 million people over the age of 60; by the middle of the century, that number will rise to 2.4 billion.
- Asia will remain the most populous area this century, but Africa will see its population more than triple, increasing from 1 billion in 2011 to 3.6 billion in 2100.
- The combined population of other areas – including the Americas, Europe, and Oceania – is currently 1.7 billion, and is expected to rise to nearly 2 billion by 2060, and then start to slowly decline.
So, go visit 7 Billion and Me and tell us, what’s your number baby!
(Send a Print screen/Screen grab/Screen clip to us at firstname.lastname@example.org and let’s see who gets closest to the magic 7,000,000,000 number.)