World population reaches 7 billion: 7 things you should know

For some time now, the UN has estimated that today, October 31, the world’s population is set to reach 7 billion. That's a big number, but what does this mean for all of us? How much do we really know about how the rest of the world lives? If you're asking yourself these questions, start here: 7 things you should know...

1. The highest rates of population growth are in less developed countries. Too many people are born in poverty and live out their days with little hope for better lives.

2. Good news! In developing regions, the number of people living on less than $1.25 a day dropped from 46 percent to 27 percent from 1990 to 2005. Even with the economic downturn, the world is on track to meet Millennium Development Goal #1 -- to halve extreme human poverty by 2015.

3. Despite economic growth, poverty is a huge problem in South Asia. While Africa’s 26 poorest nations account for 410 million people, eight states in India have 421 million who are just as poor.

4. 884 million people don’t have access to safe drinking water worldwide.

5. More than 350,000 women die each year because of complications of pregnancy or childbirth, 99 percent of them live in developing countries.

6. For the first time, more than half the world’s population lives in cities and towns. One billion people live in typically unsafe and overcrowded urban slums.

7. While the world’s population growth is slowing, the number of people in child-bearing years — 3.7 billion — means that there will be many more of us to care for in the coming decades.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, in July during the launch of a report progress toward the Millennium Development Goals, said, “The poorest of the world are being left behind. We need to reach out and lift them into our lifeboat."

As it is estimated today, when the world’s population odometer rolls over to 7 billion, we won’t know whether it happens in a hospital delivery room in suburban Chicago or a tin shack in sub-Saharan Africa. While the 7 billion number is real, the observance is largely symbolic.

But when the 7 billionth human raises a cry, she — or more likely he — will stake a claim on the air, water, food and care needed to grow and live for 69 years. Boy or girl number 7 billion also stakes a claim on us as fellow humans to reach out and lift them up.

Sources: UNFPA, UN News Centre

How do these 7 things affect the way you think about the world? As the global population reaches 7 billion today, what other questions are you asking yourself?


    Because the population of the world ultimately affects most of the issues that we all really care about, the 7 Billion: It's Time to Talk campaign is working to open up the conversation on population to new audiences around the globe. When everyone recognizes that there is a need to talk openly about population growth and the importance of family planning, the empowerment of women, and reproductive health and rights, we can more easily find the solutions to issues like global hunger and the environment. When people discover how a rapidly growing world population affects them and their hopes for the future, we know that more people, particularly young adults, will want to lend their voices to the global discussion.

    Amen Barbara!


    I must disagree with you on your first statement. I do not think this is written to be a call for abortion, but to help educate people about the population on this earth. As stated in the blog, there is a whole campaign dedicated to awareness of the population. The tone and word usage of "staking a claim" sounds threatening. The reference to the millennium goals , in the blog, helps relay the message. The message gets across that we, as humans, have a part in lifting mankind up. We all have a part in making this world a better place

    I totally agree with you! I think that this article is meant to shock us into action. Yes, we need to support those parts of our world where there is extreme lack of essential human needs. I do feel that some people look at this statement, and make judgements on how others will act, without acting themselves. Is Abortion the wrong solution? Yes, for the obvious reason that there are many people already suffering. So we need to do what will help those people NOW, get them on their feet, and then let them decide their own future.

    it angers me and confuses me how our government/ country can afford to give away millions of dollars on something as ...silly as scratch tickets. there should not be one person starving anywhere. May god be with those people suffering, and my god help those who are blessed- find it in their heart to help others.

    What I see here sound like a call for more abortion. The answer to life issue can not be a call for death. We need a call for people all over the world to love one another. Whether you believe it or not the kind of love that really reaches out to help can only come from God Almighty, the God of Abraham, Issac and Jacob. Period!

    Today is my birthday, who am I to rob someone else of their's. The Word tells us to "not rely on our own understanding", and abortion is man's way of takeing matters into his own hands. Abortion seems like a logical solution, the suffering is great, but if someone comes into being, our job is to love, nurture and promote the life God has granted this world. The rest is in his hands. Have a little faith!

    we definitely need cooperation ,unity and perfect love. do onto to others like you would like done to you / nemaste

    The Goverments have a responsibility in this world since the people just don`t care! They have to control the worlds population! The universe is about a man and woman becoming one! One child not 20!

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