July 11 is World Population Day, a date on which the human race can take stock of where it’s been and where it’s going. The day was created by a United Nations program to draw attention to some of the concerns around the issue of consumption and overpopulation, as these are increasingly important issues.
With that in mind, here are six facts about the state of the world’s population today:
1) We’re approaching 8 billion
It wasn’t so long ago that the world was hurtling toward having 7 billion people on earth, but that number is getting higher all the time, according to Compassion.com. We passed 7.5 billion a few years ago, having only hit 7 billion in 2005. Globally, the population grows by about 83 million people each year, and that number is rising steadily, meaning we are only likely to continue picking up speed.
2) It’s mostly young
Because so many more young people are being added to the global population each year, it should come as little surprise that the median age today is only about 30 years old, Compassion.com added. In some countries, the number is actually well below that.
3) China’s the leader – for now
For quite a long time, the heavily populated nation of China has been home to more people than any other country on earth, according to the World Economic Forum. China was the first country to pass 1 billion people and will soon likely surpass 1.5 billion. But hot on its heels is India, with 1.3 billion people and a population expanding so quickly it’s expected to overtake China by 2024. These two nations alone are home to more than 1 in every 3 people on earth.
4) Just a handful of countries account for most of the growth
Along similar lines, it’s expected that only nine countries – China and India, then Nigeria, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Pakistan, Ethiopia, the United Republic of Tanzania, Uganda, Indonesia and the United States – will account for half of all population growth in the world between 2017 and 2050, the World Economic Forum said. Note that most of those nations are in Africa, which will see its population double in the same span.
5) Life expectancy is increasing
Not only is it the case that tens of millions of people are born each year, they’re also not replacing older people at the same rate as they once did, according to One.org. That’s because, for the most part, the global life expectancy is climbing sharply. At the turn of the century, the typical person lived to only 67 years old. By 2015, that number had risen four years to 71. By 2050, the number is likely to hit 77.
6) Millennials are dominant today
Part and parcel with the low median age, it’s also little surprise that the biggest population on earth is millennials, who now range from their mid-20s to mid-30s, One.org said. About 2 billion people in the world were born between the early 1980s and late ’90s, making up more than 1 in every 4 people alive today.