Congratulations, World! There Are Now Seven Billion People On Earth.
To infinity and beyond!
October 31 was to be the date when the world’s population hit the seven billion mark. So today, several countries are celebrating the births of several “seven billionth babies,” including the Philippines’ Danica Camacho, pictured above. But since it’s impossible to pinpoint exactly which baby is the official seven billionth citizen of the human race, symbolic celebrations are taking place around the globe. Feelings are certainly mixed on how everyone is taking this news. On one hand: the world’s population is so incredibly large, and many experts wonder if this kind of growth, should it continue, can be supported by the planet’s resources and the world economy. On the other hand: babies!
Besides Little Miss Camacho, who was actually born two minutes before midnight, but still qualified, another little boy in Russia is also being celebrated as the world’s seven billionth person. Peter (or Pyotr) Nikolaev was born in Kaliningrad two minutes after midnight, Moscow time. He, along with Danica and a few other babies, will receive a certificate from the United Nations to commemorate their milestone births.
But what is probably an incredibly promising sign of progress was the seven billionth baby born in Uttar, India. A little girl named Nargis was given the country’s honor, but will also stand for what India calls their seven million “missing girls.” Every year, women terminate their pregnancies if they find out they’re expecting a girl. Some baby girls are even killed after being born, all because Indian society prefers male children. The decision to name a girl as their “seven billionth baby” is a reassuring symbol of awareness of a very troubling problem.
Here is how rapidly our population is exploding:
The world first hit 1 billion people in 1804, then by 1927, there were 2 billion people. Just 32 years later, in 1959, we grew by another billion. In even less time, 15 years (1974), we were up to 4 billion. And throughout the 20th century, the population snowballed — 5 billion in 1987, then 6 billion was as recently as 1998. We are expected to see 8 billion people in 2025, 10 billion by 2083, unless more is done to control the growth. (Such as providing access to birth control for women in poorer countries, for a start.)