There are officially eight billion people on the planet.
Earth reached this massive milestone this week, a direct result of a rapid population spike that has taken place between 2010 and now. In that timeframe, the world increased from seven billion. This is largely due to advancements in medicine, which have improved the overall quality of life. The current global life expectancy sits at almost 73 years old and is expected to reach 77 years by 2050. Other factors contributing to the boom are increased fertility in some regions and improved personal hygiene.
While this is a reflection of improved healthcare, the U.N.’s population division of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) warns that this boom may have detrimental effects. Countries may strain under the pressure of housing and feeding that many people. Climate change and preventing pollution are also top concerns. Poverty-stricken areas already stretched thin for resources will bear the burden of supporting more residents.
Over half of the projected increase by 2050 will occur in Sub-Saharan African nations. India gained nearly 180 million people, gearing up to surpass China as the world’s most populous nation in 2023. By the 2080s, the U.N. projects that the global population will sit at 10.4 billion people but should remain there until 2100.
Though there is no way to declare who was the eighth billion baby born, the director of the U.N. Population Division of DESA, John Wilmoth, says the milestone is still essential to note.