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World Population

  • Date Submitted: 09/29/2012 01:39 AM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 51.2 
  • Words: 9121
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1 Are too many people being born?
Journalists and campaigners are sounding the alarm
about population growth. But demographers don’t
seem to be panicking. Let’s look at what they are
studying: the numbers. And, in particular, at the birth
SOMEOnE hAS TAKEn the trouble to calculate
that during the course of one day at least 200 million
people on our planet will have sex.
Don’t ask how they know or what definition of
‘having sex’ they are using. Suffice to say that it’s
happening and while, today, most of those people
having sex will be using some form of contraception,
many millions will not. Which might well contribute
to the next figure.
Every 10 seconds – about the time it’s taken you to
read thus far – 44 people are born. That’s around 140
million new babies over the course of a year. If you
subtract the number of people who will die during the
year, it’s still adding another 83 million people to the
world. That’s the equivalent of another Germany or a
quarter of the US.
It mounts up, and in the gap between my writing
this and your reading it, any precise figure for current
global population will have become out of date. So
let’s settle for a nice round seven billion of us.
That’s up from 5.9 billion a decade ago and by
2045-50 there are likely to be at least nine billion
according to the Un’s medium projection. Or there
could be just under eight, if you go with the lowest
projection. Or over 11 if you go with the highest.
Bewildered? You are not alone. But the middle
projection of nine billion is the one that most
demographers are going with, so let’s stick with that
(see chart page 13).
Before the 20th century no-one had ever witnessed
1 2
Are too many people being born?
the doubling of global population. now some people
have lived through a tripling of it. And not so long
ago, global population was a subject that fascinated
few people apart from family planning professionals...


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