Today in Science
World Population Day
Today is World Population Day. It is set aside to raise awareness about population issues around the world. The United Nations designated July 11th as an annual observance in 1989, two years after the international organization marked the Day of 5 Billion.
Scientists and statisticians estimate that the world population hit seven billion near October 31, 2011. The world population is growing rapidly due to improvements in health care, life expectancy, and infant mortality rates. The earth's human population only hit one billion concurrent residents in 1804. While it took 123 years for it to reach two billion in 1927, each additional billion was achieved far more quickly -- 32 (in 1959), 15 (1974), 13 (1987), and 11 (1998) years respectively. Population growth has slowed slightly. This most recent billion mark took 14 years to reach, and experts estimate the eight billionth mark will not arrive for 14 more years -- in 2025.
Scientists study demography and population trends because of the underlying implications they have for human health, planetary resources, climate change, and a variety of other scientific fields.
The 2016 theme for World Population Day is "Investing in Teenage Girls," which focuses attention on young women around the world. While vulnerable everywhere, one-third of girls in developing nations are married by the age of 18. Eight hundred girls and women die daily of complications during preganancy and childbirth. More than a quarter of a billion girls and women lack access to modern family planning. The United Nations hopes to end child marriage, reduce teen pregnancy, and empower girls to make educated choices about their lives and healthcare, enabling girls to grow and thrive and societies to benefit.
Check out these population-related Science NetLinks resources to learn more:
- Collapse 1: Why Civilizations Fall (6-8)
- Sanitation and Human Health (6-8)
- Urban Ecosystems 3: Cities as Urban Population Centers (6-8)
- Urban Ecosystems 5: In Defense of Cities (6-8)
- Genes and Geography (6-12)
- Migration Station (6-12)
- Population Pyramids and Us (6-12)
- The Demographics of Mortality (9-12)
- Ethics and Reproductive Issues: The Dilemma of Choice (9-12)
- Genes, Environments, and Behavior 1 (9-12)
- Population Dynamics (9-12)
- Thinking about Segregation and Integration (9-12)