UN: Worldwide Population Hits 7 Billion
Record-breaking number scares doctors and humanitarians
Demographers are not exactly sure when the world’s population will exactly reach the seven billion mark, but the United Nations has used Oct. 31 as the milestone.
Worldwide, 7-billionth baby celebrations are going on, but everyone isn’t so happy.
"Seven billion is a number we should think about deeply," said Dr. Eric Tayag of the Philippines' Department of Health. "We should really focus on the question of whether there will be food, clean water, shelter, education and a decent life for every child," he said. "If the answer is 'no,' it would be better for people to look at easing this population explosion."
According to the United Nations Population Fund, the seven-billionth child is likely to be a boy or girl in India or China, but long-term, the rate may head in a different direction as fertility rates drastically drop, according to Dudley Poston, a professor of sociology and demographics at Texas A&M University.
For the first time, human reproduction rate is slowing in other places besides Europe and Japan.
"Once your fertility rates drops below two, it is very very hard to get it to go back up again," Poston told Reuters. "We now have 75 countries in the world where the fertility rate is below two," meaning the average woman is having fewer than two children.
In 1970, the average fertility rate worldwide was 4.5, MSNBC reports. Low birth rates are being seen in Brazil, China and in the Islamic Middle East, where the fertility rate in the United Arab Emirates is 1.8.
"Japan is losing more people today than they're gaining," Poston said. "South Korea has an alarmingly low fertility rate, 1.1."