H O M E


THE ISSUES

» The Facts
» October 12
The Day of 6 Billion
» The Myth of Shrinking Population
» Three Faces of Reality
» Population & the Environment
» Poverty, Population &- Development
» Equality & Equity
Empowerment of Women
» Youth & Population
» Consumption & Resources
» Family Planning & Reproductive Health
Urbanization & Migration
» AIDS/HIV:
The New Trends
» Money Matters:
Financial Commitments

RESOURCES

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» Contacts:
United Nations
U.S.
International
» U.S. Scorecard
» Journalist's Notebook

 
 
The Facts of Life
in a World of 6 Billion

Here are some basic facts of life on Earth today.

In 1804, world population reached 1 billion.

1927: 2 billion (123 years later)
1960: 3 billion (33 years) 1974: 4 billion (14 years)
1987: 5 billion (13 years)
1999: 6 billion (12 years)

At the current pace, humanity is adding about 78 million more people every year - the population of France, Greece and Sweden combined, or a city the size of San Francisco every three days.

Since the beginning of humanity, an estimated 75 billion people have been born and died, and 6 billion born and still alive. This amounts to 81 billion people ever born on planet Earth.

In 1950, average life expectancy in the developing world was under 40 years. Today, it is 61, although AIDS and other factors are expected to bring it down in some countries, mostly in Africa. During the same period, life expectancy in the developed countries rose from 66 to 75 years.

More than 1 billion people on Earth are between 15 and 24. Another 1.8 billion are under 15. More than 95 percent of them live in developing countries, with limited access to education and to family planning and reproductive health information.

The number of women using contraception in developing countries has increased ten times since 1970 ­ from 50 million to 500 million. Worldwide, 50 percent of married women are using modern contraception, compared to 10 to 12 percent in 1970.

The number of older people is increasing so fast worldwide that for the first time, the U.N. in its 1998 Revised Population Estimates lists separate categories for people aged 80 to 90 (58.6 million), 90 to 100 (7.3 million) and over 100 (100,000). In 2050, these numbers are expected to be 311.1 million, 56.9 million and 2.2 million, respectively ­ more than a six-fold increase.

The U.N. International Conference on Population and Development Programme of Action calls for $17 billion in annual global population spending by 2000. That's $5.7 billion from developed countries, and the rest ­ more than two-thirds ­ from developing ones. Developing countries are more than two-thirds of the way to meeting the target while developed countries are only one-third of the way to fulfilling their commitment.

  • If current funding rates continue, 97 million people who would choose contraception each year will not be able to do so, according to U.N. estimates. Unintended pregnancies will rise by 130 million. Abortions will increase by 50 million. Unwanted births will rise by 59 million. Maternal deaths will rise by 300,000. And 3.6 million infants and 1.3 million more children will die from poor health care.

Of the 960 million illiterate adults in the world, two-thirds are women.

  • In poor countries, every additional year of a woman's schooling is associated with a 5 to 10 percent decline in infant mortality.
  • Children born to mothers below age 18 are 1.5 times more likely to die before age 5 than those born to mothers age 20-34.
  • Three of every four African women become mothers while they are in their teens, and 40 percent of births in Africa are to women under 17.

The number of cities with more than one million people rose from 111 in 1960 to 280 in 1995. Two-thirds of them are in developing countries. It is estimated that by 2010, the number of such cities in the developing world will rise from 173 to 368.

Top 10 Most Populous Counties, 1998, and Projections for 2050 (in millions)

1998

2050

1

China

1,256

1

India

1,529

2

India

982

2

China

1,478

3

United States

274

3

United States

349

4

Indonesia

206

4

Pakistan

346

5

Brazil

166

5

Indonesia

312

6

Pakistan

148

6

Nigeria

244

7

Russian Federation

147

7

Brazil

244

8

Japan

126

8

Bangladesh

213

9

Bangladesh

125

9

Ethiopia

170

10

Nigeria

106

10

Democratic Republic of the Congo

160