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.”

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  • 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),

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