Seven Billion & Counting

Today is the day the United Nations Population Fund has deemed the day most likely the world’s population hits the seven billion mark. We’ve just uploaded the video/podcast of our recent event, ‘Seven Billion: It’s Getting Crowded in Here!’, presented in partnership with the ABC and hosted by Radio National’s Natasha Mitchell (click the image below to watch the video).

In reality, it’s impossible to know where the seven billionth person will be born, but statistics favour India. The Fund’s State of World Population 2011 report has warned that a lack of investment in education, infrastructure and employment will stunt the life opportunities that would otherwise be potentially available to almost two billion young people across the world. The Guardian’s infographic tracing the history of human population begins 72 millennia ago.

It’s a subject we covered about three weeks ago but we’ve found a bunch more on the web to bring to your attention. The Herald Sun covered the story with an infographic that’s fun to play with. It graphs the rise in population from 1950 to the present day across the world, with the biggest rises in East and West Africa. The population of each of these regions now comfortably surpasses the billion mark.

In 1999, the Guardian invited Salman Rushdie to write a letter to the world’s six billionth person. Now, the newspaper has asked its readers to do the same. While it took only 12 years to jump from six to seven, the population growth rate is slowing. By mid-century, we should have topped nine billion, and by century’s end should only have grown one billion more. But the tiniest variation in fertility could see the 2100 mark hovering closer to 15 billion.

Meanwhile, this collection of photographs published on the Atlantic’s website brings home what would otherwise be a somewhat abstract milestone.

(Click to watch video.)

(Click to watch video.)

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