February 5, 2023

World population reaches 8 billion: what does this mean?

The world population finally reached 8 billion on Nov. 15, 2022 and the population is still growing. 

This event marks a milestone in human population and development. According to the United Nations, the reason for this growth in population can be accounted for because of medical and health improvements, better nutrition and personal hygiene.

Births are outnumbering deaths, which causes the rise in population rather than a stable or stagnant number. 

It’s widely speculated that the world’s population reached 1 billion near the early 19th century. From there, it only took approximately 100 years to go from 1 billion to 2 billion people.

The UN attributes this population growth to ample fertility rates in various countries and predicts that the world population will reach 9 billion by 2037. However, it only took 12 years for the population to increase from 7 billion to 8 billion. This prediction marks a sign that population growth around the world is just starting to slow down.

The continued increase in population emphasizes urgency in economic development while maintaining environmental safety. It is thought that this predicted slower growth of the human population will help mitigate some environmental change in the future. 

Environmental change and damage has resulted from the world’s current rising population. However, the UN found that many wealthier regions contribute to the majority of greenhouse gas emissions and pollution. These wealthier regions often have stagnant or declining population trends, while poorer regions tend to have more rapidly increasing populations. 

According to UN DESA Policy Brief No. 140, ”rapid population growth poses challenges to progress in social and economic development by necessitating an ever-increasing investment of resources to meet the needs of growing numbers of people.”

The same report states that this fast growth of the population can cause problems with having enough housing, water, sanitation, schooling and employment opportunities to go around.

These factors can perpetuate poverty for many countries who are already struggling economically. 

To combat this, the UN predicts that “A significant increase in public expenditures will be required to meet the needs of the growing population of children and youth in low-income countries.” 

  • Melissa is a junior Professional Writing and Journalism major with the specialization of pre-law. She plans to pursue a degree at Capital's Law School after graduation.

Leave a Reply