Crowded House: How the World’s Population Grew to 7 Billion People

This fall, the world’s pop­u­la­tion reached sev­en bil­lion. A sober­ing thought. How did we get to this point? Pro­duc­er Adam Cole and pho­tog­ra­ph­er Mag­gie Star­bard of Nation­al Pub­lic Radio have put the world’s accel­er­at­ing pop­u­la­tion growth in per­spec­tive in a two-and-a-half minute video, above.

In those two and a half min­utes, 638 babies will be born world­wide, accord­ing to sta­tis­tics from the Unit­ed States Cen­sus Bureau, and 265 peo­ple will die. That’s a net gain of 373 peo­ple, just while you watch the film. The biggest growth, accord­ing to NPR,  is hap­pen­ing in sub-Saha­ran Africa, where access to fam­i­ly plan­ning is low and infant mor­tal­i­ty rates are high.

It may seem counter-intu­itive that pop­u­la­tion growth rates are high where infant sur­vival rates are low, but as Swedish glob­al health expert Hans Rosling put it dur­ing a recent TED talk, “Only by child sur­vival can we con­trol pop­u­la­tion growth.” Because pop­u­la­tion growth and infant mor­tal­i­ty rates are both cor­re­lat­ed to pover­ty rates, he argues, elim­i­nat­ing pover­ty is the key to achiev­ing a sus­tain­able world pop­u­la­tion. You can learn more in our Novem­ber 1 fea­ture,  “Hans Rosling Uses IKEA Props to Explain World of 7 Bil­lion Peo­ple.”

by | Permalink | Comments (1) |

Sup­port Open Cul­ture

We’re hop­ing to rely on our loy­al read­ers rather than errat­ic ads. To sup­port Open Cul­ture’s edu­ca­tion­al mis­sion, please con­sid­er mak­ing a dona­tion. We accept Pay­Pal, Ven­mo (@openculture), Patre­on and Cryp­to! Please find all options here. We thank you!

Comments (1)
You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.
  • agender says:

    My exact knowl­edge is about Euro­pean his­to­ry only, but it is a safe bet that in the whole of human­i­ty women feel the same:
    Since the witch­burn­ing (1400 to 1862 chris­t­ian time count) women were forced to have chil­dren they did not want, were not able to let hered­i­tary sick­ness­es die out, and not able to get rid of rapists‘ mon­sters — in the last years rapists have even been grant­ed FATHERS RIGHTS!!
    So gener­ic “Pover­ty” is not the whole sto­ry, human rights for women (begin­ning with repro­duc­tive rights and the infor­ma­tion about it, edu­ca­tion!) are nec­es­sary, too.
    Full dis­clo­sure: I am the prod­uct of a still exist­ing abor­tion­for­bid­ding law and rape, born into an abuse fam­i­ly and still, despite edu­ca­tion, poor and under pres­sure to pass on hered­i­tary sick­ness­es (plur­al),

Leave a Reply

Open Culture was founded by Dan Colman.