World Population Hits 7 Billion

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By Halloween night, the human population will reach seven billion, according to the U.N. Population Fund.

“In Western Europe, Japan and Russia, it will be an ironic milestone amid worries about low birthrates and aging populations,” David Carry writes for the Huffington Post. “In China and India, the two most populous nations, it’s an occasion to reassess policies that have already slowed once-rapid growth.”

Demographers say the world’s population hit one billion in 1804, two billion in 1927, three in 1959, four in 1974, five in 1987, and six in 1998. By 2011, the UN says we will hit eight billion mark.

According to a new study by the journal Nature, we have enough resources on earth to potentially feed up to 10 billion people. The UN guesses we will reach that number by 2083.

Babatunde Osotimehin, the executive director of the U.N. Population Fund, “describes the 7 billion milestone as a call to action – especially in the realm of enabling adolescent girls to stay in school and empowering women to control the number of children they have,” Carry writes.

Lisa Hymas at Grist has a few more suggestions.

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