World Population Day was July 11, and the latest U.N. report shows that the human population is growing faster than previously thought. The world’s population is expected to reach 9.6 billion by 2050 (previously predicted to be around 9 billion), and nearly 11 billion by 2100.
The main reason for the higher numbers is results from household surveys across Africa, which showed that the average number of children per woman went from four to five. The number of people living in Africa alone is actually expected to go from 1.1 billion to 4 billion by the end of the century. Nigeria is on track to pass the U.S. as the third most populated country by 2050, and by the end of the century, it may even rival China. To put that in perspective, Nigeria is only slightly larger than Texas.
On average, women around the world have half as many children as they did in the 1960s. This shows how crucial it is to provide education, contraceptives and family planning services to women throughout Africa and the developing world, where only about 10% of married women are taking birth control. That’s compared to 72% of married women in the United States.
There is a lot of work to do from so many angles to help cut down on poverty, starvation, overpopulation, and a lack of resources. Contraceptives and family planning services are only a small part of that, but are still one of the most crucial links to providing a more stable way of life for developing countries.
World Population Day is a solid reminder that we have far more people to think about than ourselves.
Image CC licensed by Jeff Attaway: Crowed beach in Senegal.