Nov 16, 2022

World’s population hits 8 billion Transcript

World’s population hits 8 billion Transcript
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The world’s population has hit eight billion, just 11 years after passing the seven-billion milestone, the United Nations has said. Read the transcript here.

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Speaker 1 (00:00):

Now, the global population is projected to hit an all time high on Tuesday, reaching the landmark figure of eight billion people. That’s according to United Nations. The world’s population has doubled in less than 50 years and is set to keep rising. Our medical editor, Fergus Walsh, has been examining what the figures mean for us all.

Fergus Walsh (00:21):

Our planet has never held so many people as the era of huge population growth continues. Back in 1800, there were around one billion people on Earth, and it took over a century for that to double. Then it really took off in the 20th century, reaching three billion in 1960 and putting on nearly a billion each decade after that. It reached seven billion in 2011. We’re now set to hit eight billion people on the planet. So what about the future?

The UN projects there’ll be nine billion people by around 2037 and 10 billion by 2058. Global population could peak at around 10.4 billion in the 2080s, and then plateau before declining in the next century. The United Nations says more than half the projected population increase to 2050, will be in just eight countries. Half of them are in sub-Saharan Africa. Indeed, the total population of this entire region is set to almost double to two billion by 2050. Remember, it includes some of the world’s least developed countries, many already experiencing food insecurity.

India and China are the world’s most populous countries, both a home to more than 1.4 billion people. But India will overtake China next year. China’s population along with scores of other countries is set to fall sharply later this century. Now that’s because global fertility is declining dramatically. Back in 1950, women gave birth on average to five children. That has since more than halved to 2.3 births, and it’s set to fall even further. But there are so many people of childbearing age now that explains why the global population will keep rising for much of this century.

Another reason is, we’re living longer. Average global life expectancy reached almost 73 years in 2019, up almost nine years since 1990. Covid actually pushed it down by nearly two years, but it’s projected to keep rising.

The world’s population is also aging. About one in 10 people on the planet is now 65 or older. By 2050, it’ll be almost one in six, so that will put a greater burden on the young.

Our growing population also puts increasing pressure on resources, food, water, energy, as well as infrastructure. Huge issues for society with lasting implications for our planet.

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