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November 1, 2011

Earth's 7 Billion people set to keep expanding

POLITICS - Not even wars can slow down Earth's ever expanding population it seems. According to a variety of sources and estimates Earth now has 7 billion people. The "7 billionth baby" was supposedly born on October 31st 2011 (Halloween morning).

In reality its impossible to pinpoint who was the actual 7 billionth human to be born on Earth at this present day, it was really more symbolic of all the babies born on October 31st 2011.

The United Nations even marked the day with a series of festivals around the world.

But with 7 billion humans we also need to ask some questions:

#1. What happens when our population starts to run into food shortages? Some parts of the world are already dealing with that problem.

#2. Is there enough clean drinkable water to support this many people?

#3. Will everyone get an education or will the poor end up being treated like slaves? (Depending on where you go this is already happening.)

#4. Should more countries be promoting contraceptives and birth control pills?

#5. Will overpopulation lead to more wars over scarce resources? We're already fighting over oil and water supplies.

According to historians and demographers it was 1804 when the human population reached 1 billion. By 1927 it was 2 billion. Then 3 billion in 1959; 4 billion in 1974; 5 billion in 1987; 6 billion in 1998.

13 years later and we're already at 7 billion. We will likely reach 8 billion by 2024. Or less. It was only 11 years between 1987 and 1998 so it could just as easily be 2022.

When you factor together the birth rate (252 worldwide births per minute) and the death rate (107 worldwide deaths per minute) there is 145 more people on Earth every minute. 2.4 more per second.

In India the province of Uttar Pradesh is the most densely populated region in the world. But it could be growing even faster, were not for India's habit of aborting female fetuses. The Indian government has chosen to highlight that issue to draw attention to the growing shortage of women in India. India has 893 girls born for every 1,000 boys born.

“It would be a fitting moment if the 7 billionth baby is a girl born in rural India,” says Dr Madhu Gupta, an Uttar Pradesh gynecologist. “It would help in bringing the global focus back on girls, who are subject to inequality and bias.”

Meanwhile in China the population growth rate is at an all time low, thanks to China's one-child policy (Chinese parents can have more children, but they have to pay a tax on each additional child).

While China's policy has certainly helped their economy over the past 3 decades, eventually it will begin to hurt their economy as the older generation begins to retire and there won't be enough young Chinese to work in the factories. At some point China will have to start bringing in immigrant workers. China, like India, is also facing a shortage of women.

India's population is set to pass China by roughly 2030.

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