Who Is the World’s Eight-Billionth Person?
According to the United Nations, the world’s population has crossed the eight billion threshold. Although it is only a rough guess, the UN’s best estimate is that our planet reached that figure around November 15 – give or take a year or even two. In a symbolic gesture, the United Nations Population Fund has named baby Damián of Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, as the world’s eight-billionth person – though reactions are mixed about how this milestone should be received. Damián joins seven-billionth person Sadia Sultana Oishee of Bangladesh (born 2011), six-billionth person Adnan Mevic of Bosnia-Herzegovina (born 1999), and five-billionth person Matej Gaspar of Croatia (born 1987).
With advances in nutrition, health care, and hygiene, people worldwide are living longer than ever. At the same time, education and improved access to birth control are slowing the rate of population increase. Demographers anticipate that the global population will plateau sometime this century. The UN projects it will happen in the 2080s, with a peak population of around 10.4 billion, though others predict it will happen slightly earlier and at less than 10 billion. Regardless of the year or the figure, much of that growth will be concentrated in the Global South, with a handful of countries (India, Pakistan, the Philippines, Tanzania, Egypt, Ethiopia, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo) predicted to account for the most significant increases.
Eight billion people may sound alarming, but experts say that it’s our use of resources, more than population figures, that is the real worry. We are using the planet’s resources 1.8 times faster than they can regenerate. Wealthier countries use disproportionately more resources than poorer ones. For example, if everyone on the planet consumed resources at the same rate and level as the United States, we would need more than five Earths to cope with the demand.
- According to the UN, population growth is already slowing. According to projections, it will take another 15 years for the world to cross the nine billion threshold, whereas it took less than 12 years for the population to climb from seven to eight billion.
- In many parts of the world, especially in Europe and East Asia, national population growth is below the replacement level, meaning that the fertility rate is lower than required to maintain a steady population.
- The Philippines is also claiming the eight-billionth person. The Philippine Commission on Population and Development named Vinice Mabansag, born in Manila in the early hours of November 15, 2022 as their symbolic #8 billion.
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