Today (Wednesday) is the World Population Day. It’s been 30 years since the United Nations has been celebrating World Population Day to spread awareness about the rapidly increasing population on earth. According to an estimate, about 250 babies are being born every minute on average, which means over 130 million in a year.
The UN data suggests that the world’s population has increased by over 600 per cent in the last 200 years. By 2100, the population of humans on earth will reach 11 billion, with the fastest rise in Asia and Africa.
Although it was not sure if the estimate was right but the UN data suggests that there were about a billion people in the world in the year 1800. It increased hundred per cent in a century and reached two billion in the year 1927. The population of the world was about five billion in 1987, a sharp increase in just 60 years. Today, the total population of the world is just over 7.5 billion with China and India being the two most populated country.
The population is increasing rapidly in Asia and Africa. The two continents will have 15 of the 20 most populous countries by the year 2050 and India will top the list. According to a UN population forecast, India will overtake China to become the most populous country with over 1,600 million people. By 2050, there will be more Nigerians in the world than Americans.
While the birth rate has decreased worldwide, it has seen an upward trend in India in the last decade. However, there are several countries where the population growth has gone into reverse. In some parts of western Europe, Russia and Japan, the population growth has stalled and decreased.
In the early modern period, the fertility rate of 4.5 to seven children per woman was very common. Despite the high fertility rate, the population growth was very low at that time as the mortality rate was also high. However, with improving medical facilities over the years in the modern era, the mortality rate went down and the population began to soar even as the fertility rate went down to two children per woman.
According to the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs figures, more women are now using contraceptive methods. The data shows that 64 per cent of married and cohabiting women were using contraceptive methods as compared to just 36 per cent in 1970. However, the unevenness within regions and countries kept the trend of population growth upward.
Another major region for the sharp rise in world population is that people are now living a longer life. At least 30 countries like Japan, Switzerland, Spain enjoy an average life expectancy of more than 80. In India, the average life expectancy at birth is slightly higher than 60 years.
Humans are already draining the limited resources available on earth. The water, the fuel and other important resources are running out fast. According to a UN report, the scarcity of fresh water will be exacerbated as rapidly growing population was putting heavy pressure on water resources. In India, the Ganges Basin is draining due to the population and irrigation demands. The demands of limited natural resources such as water, food, coal, fuel are also increasing with the rise in population.
And the day is not far away when we will need alternatives to these resources lest the humanity on earth will be in peril. To avoid that, it is highly imperative to stop the soaring world population. And for that, family planning schemes are important. Spreading awareness about the use of contraception and giving women the control over their own fertility is the key to reduce the population growth.