The United Nations Population Fund said that the worlds population reached 8 billion on November 15, 2022. This unprecedented growth is due to the gradual increase in human lifespan owing to improvements in public health, nutrition, personal hygiene and medicine. It is also the result of high and persistent levels of fertility in some countries.

 

Highlights

  • Overall growth rate of population is slowing —
    • The UN said while it took the global population 12 years to grow from 7 billion to 8 billion.
    • However, it will take approximately 15 years — until 2037 — for it to reach 9 billion. This is a sign that overall growth rate of global population is slowing.
  • Growth trend —
    • Falling mortality rate first led to a spectacular population growth, peaking at 2.1% per year between 1962 and 1965.
    • Between 1950 and 1987, world population doubled from 2.5 billion to 5 billion.
    • But as fewer children were born generation to generation, growth started to slow.
  • More than half the world’s population lives in Asia —
    • As of 2022, more than half the worlds population lives in Asia, China and India being the two most populous countries with more than 1.4 billion people each.
      • The World Population Prospects 2022, released in July 2022, put Indias population estimate at 1.412 billion this year, compared with China’s 1.426 billion.
      • It also said that India is set to become the worlds most populous country next year by surpassing China.
  • World population to peak in 2080s —
    • The UNFPA projects world population to peak at 10.4 billion in the 2080s and stay there until the end of the century.
      • As per the current trend, India is likely to peak in 2048 at 1.7 billion population and then start declining to 1.1 billion at the end of the century.
  • International migration is now the driver of growth in many countries —
    • According to the UN, international migration is now the driver of growth in many countries, with 281 million people living outside their country of birth in 2020.
    • All South Asian nations — India, Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka — have seen high levels of emigration in recent years.
  • Observations regarding India —
    • While Indias population growth is stabilising, it is still growing at 0.7% per year and is set to surpass China in 2023 as the world’s most populous country.
    • It noted that India’s fertility rate has hit 2.1 births per woman — replacement-level fertility — and is falling.
      • Replacement Rate — is the required number of births per woman in a country required to keep the population size stable.
  • Growing inequality —
    • A handful of billionaires control as much wealth as the poorest half of the world.
    • The top one per cent globally pockets one fifth of the worlds income.
    • People in the richest countries can expect to live up to 30 years longer than those in the poorest.
    • The UN said that unless we bridge the yawning chasm between the global haves and have-nots, we are setting ourselves up for an 8-billion-strong world filled with tensions and mistrust, crisis and conflict.

 

About United Nations Population Fund –

  • UNFPA (formerly the United Nations Fund for Population Activities) is formally named the United Nations Population Fund. The organisation was created in 1969, the same year the United Nations General Assembly declared “parents have the exclusive right to determine freely and responsibly the number and spacing of their children.”
  • Their work involves the improvement of reproductive health; including creation of national strategies and protocols, and birth control by providing supplies and services. The organisation has recently been known for its worldwide campaign against child marriage, obstetric fistula and female genital mutilation.
  • The UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) establishes its mandate. UNFPA is not supported by the UN budget, instead, it is entirely supported by voluntary contributions of donor governments, intergovernmental organisations, the private sector, foundations and individuals.
  • UNFPA works directly to tackle Sustainable Development Goals on health (SDG3), education (SDG4) and gender equality (SDG5).
  • The agency began operations in 1969 as the United Nations Fund for Population Activities under the administration of the United Nations Development Fund. In 1971 it was placed under the authority of the United Nations General Assembly. Its name was changed into United Nations Population Fund in 1987.