World population expected to reach 8 billion in November, UN report says

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The world’s population is expected to reach 8 billion next month, according to the United Nations.

India’s population is expected to surpass China as the most populated country in the world by 2023, the UN said in its World Population Prospects report published on Tuesday to mark World Population Day.

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On the occasion, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres urged people to “recognize our common humanity” and “marvel at advancements in health that extended lifespans and dramatically reduced maternal and child mortality rates.”

“At the same time, it is a reminder of our shared responsibility to care for our planet and a moment to reflect on where we still fall short of our commitments to one another,” the UN report quoted Guterres as saying.

The world’s population is currently growing at its slowest rate since 1950, having fallen under 1 percent in 2020. However, the UN’s latest projections suggest that the global population could grow to as much as 8.5 billion by 2030, 9.7 billion in 2050 and 10.4 billion by the 2080s.

UN Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs Liu Zhenmin said that this rapid growth in the global population means that combatting poverty, hunger and malnutrition will be “more difficult” moving forward.

“The relationship between population growth and sustainable development is complex and multidimensional,” Zhenmin said.

“Rapid population growth makes eradicating poverty, combatting hunger and malnutrition, and increasing the coverage of health and education systems more difficult,” Zhenmin said,

“Conversely, achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, especially those related to health, education and gender equality, will contribute to reducing fertility levels and slowing global population growth,” he added.

The report also found that fertility levels have fallen in many countries over the past few decades. On average, two-thirds of the global population live in a country or area where lifetime fertility is less than 2.1 birth per woman. The populations of over 60 countries or areas are expected to decrease by 1 percent or more between 2022 and 2050 due to sustained low levels of fertility and, in some cases, elevated emigration rates.

By 2050, over half of the world's projected population increase is expected to be concentrated in eight countries: the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Egypt, Ethiopia, India, Nigeria, Pakistan, the Philippines and the United Republic of Tanzania.

“Further actions by governments aimed at reducing fertility would have little impact on the pace of population growth between now and mid-century, because of the youthful age structure of today’s global population,” said John Wilmoth, Director of the Population Division of the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs.

“Nevertheless, the cumulative effect of lower fertility, if maintained over several decades, could be a more substantial deceleration of global population growth in the second half of the century,” he added.

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