World Population Reaches 8 Billion: UN


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    • Recently, the United Nations Population Fund, stated that the world’s population has reached 8 billion.

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    • Reasons for the growth:
      • This unprecedented growth is due to the gradual increase in human lifespan owing to improvements in public health, nutrition, personal hygiene and medicine. 
      • It is also the result of high and persistent levels of fertility in some countries, the United Nations said.
    • Reaching 9 billion:
      • The UN said that it took the global population 12 years to grow from 7 billion to 8 billion. 
      • It will take approximately 15 years — until 2037 — for it to reach 9 billion. 
        • It is a sign that the overall growth rate of the global population is slowing.
    • Projections of the peak:
      • The UNFPA projects world population to peak at 10.4 billion in the 2080s and stay there until the end of the century.

    • Trends of growth:
      • Slowing growth:
        • According to the UN, falling mortality rate first led to a “spectacular population growth, but as fewer children were born generation to generation, growth started to slow.
      • Impact of Per Capita income: 
        • Countries with the highest fertility levels tend to be those with the lowest income per capita as per UN.
      • International migration:
        • International migration is now the driver of growth in many countries, with 281 million people living outside their country of birth in 2020.
        • All South Asian nations — India, Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka — have seen high levels of emigration in recent years.
    • India’s “youth bulge”:
      • UNFPA has noted that India has its largest ever adolescent and youth population. 
      • According to UNFPA projections, India will continue to have one of the youngest populations in the world till 2030 and is currently experiencing a demographic window of opportunity, a “youth bulge” that will last till 2025.
      • It noted that India’s fertility rate has hit 2.1 births per woman — replacement-level fertility — and is falling.
    • India surpassing China:
      • As of 2022, more than half the world’s population lives in Asia, China and India being the two most populous countries with more than 1.4 billion people each.
      • According to the United Nations Population Fund, while India’s population growth is stablising, it is “still growing at 0.7% per year” and is set to surpass China in 2023 as the world’s most populous country.
      • China’s population is no longer growing and “may start declining as early as 2023”, the UN stated. 

    • Challenges:
    • Rapid population growth can make challenges of hunger and poverty steeper. 
    • Rapid population growth makes eradicating poverty, combating hunger and malnutrition, and increasing the coverage of health and education systems more difficult.

    Challenges for India & Way ahead:

    • A population of more than 1.4 billion will require the unflinching focus of policymakers on areas fundamental to human well-being — education, nutrition, healthcare, housing, and employment
    • Productivity and economy:
      • The youth will have to be equipped with skills that are indispensable to the knowledge economy
      • People’s productivity will have to increase for any given per capita income.
      • Will need policies to increase jobs so that labour force participation rate increases for both men and women.
    • Climate change:
      • The climate crisis and other ecological imperatives will mean that the footprints of many activities are kept light. 
    • Democratic challenges:
      • Most importantly, the challenges will spur debate, discussion, even dissension, and require that diverse voices are heard. 
      • India’s democratic traditions and the strength of its institutions will be needed to navigate the way forward from here.
    • Elderly population:
      • The 65+ category is going to grow quite fast and it faces several challenges. Provisioning of social security is obviously a big challenge. This will stretch the resources of future governments. 
      • If the aged stay within the family set-up, the burden on the government could be reduced. “If we go back to our roots and stick around as families, as against the western tendency to go for individualism, then the challenges would be less
    • State-wise focus:
      • Much more needs to be done on this, of course, in large parts of the country, including in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Madhya Pradesh, whose TFR is higher than the national average and where gender discrimination has deep social roots.
    • Choice to women:
      • To actually realise Population Control, educating women and giving them freedom to make choice and implement it, should be first to have attention by the Government.
      • State must ensure contraceptives are accessible, affordable and available in a range of forms acceptable to those using them.

    World Population Day:

    • World Population Day is observed annually on July 11 every year
    • It aims to highlight the problems of overpopulation and raise awareness about the effects of overpopulation on the environment and development.
    • This year’s World Population Day [July 11, 2022] falls during a milestone year, when we anticipate the birth of the Earth’s eight billionth inhabitant. 
    • World Population Day was established by the Governing Council of the United Nations Development Programme in 1989
      • It was inspired by the public interest in Five Billion Day, the approximate date on which the world’s population reached five billion people on July 11, 1987.

    Source: UN