Global Population Nearing 8 Billion By Dr Omer Javed

Global Population Nearing 8 Billion By Dr Omer Javed

Reaching a global population of eight billion is a numerical landmark, but our focus must always be on people. In the world we strive to build, 8 billion people means 8 billion opportunities to live dignified and fulfilled lives.’ – Antonio Guterres, Secretary General of United Nations (UN)

It is quite alarming in terms of the pace at which global population is close to adding one billion people in just over a decade, since it was in 2011 that it had reached seven billion people, and by mid-November it is expected to reach eight billion people, as pointed out in the report ‘World Population Prospects 2022’ by UN, which was recently released on the World Population Day on July 11. The report pointed out in this regard ‘The world’s population is projected to reach 8 billion on 15 November 2022. …Population growth is caused in part by declining levels of mortality, as reflected in increased levels of life expectancy at birth. Globally, life expectancy reached 72.8 years in 2019, an increase of almost 9 years since 1990. Further reductions in mortality are projected to result in an average longevity of around 77.2 years globally in 2050.’

In a related article ‘A world of 8 billion: Towards a resilient future for all – Harnessing opportunities and ensuring rights and choices for all’ published by UN, the pace of growth of world population over time– with forecasts till the end of the current centur – was summarized in these words ‘It took hundreds of thousands of years for the world population to grow to 1 billion – then in just another 200 years or so, it grew sevenfold. In 2011, the global population reached the 7 billion mark, it stands at almost 7.9 billion in 2021, and it’s expected to grow to around 8.5 billion in 2030, 9.7 billion in 2050, and 10.9 billion in 2100. This dramatic growth has been driven largely by increasing numbers of people surviving to reproductive age, and has been accompanied by major changes in fertility rates, increasing urbanization and accelerating migration. These trends will have far-reaching implications for generations to come.’

With regard to contributions in population growth by regions, a recently published article, highlighting on the UN population report pointed out ‘Which countries are driving the world’s population growth?’ on this report by The Economist highlighted ‘True, birth rates are falling and the population of some countries is shrinking. But the UN thinks the number of humans will reach 8bn on November 15th. … India is expected to replace China as the world’s most populous country next year. East Asia, including China, will soon shrink, but South Asia– India’s region– will continue growing for decades. Europe began its demographic decline last year. By the end of the century Germany’s population is expected to be less than 70m, lower than in the 1950s (in high-income countries, any population growth will come from immigration). But there will be many more Africans, in part because the region’s population is still young.’ The UN population report indicated in this regard ‘In 2022, the two most populous regions were both in Asia: Eastern and South-Eastern Asia with 2.3 billion people (29 percent of the global population), and Central and Southern Asia with 2.1 billion (26 percent). China and India, with more than 1.4 billion each, accounted for most of the population in these two regions.’

The same article, highlighting the UN population report, indicated that Pakistan will be among those few countries contributing significantly to population increase expected for the 2050 mark, whereby it pointed out ‘Sub-Saharan Africa’s share of the globe’s population will rise from one-seventh today to more than one-fifth by 2050. Just eight countries will account for more than half the rise in population expected by 2050: the Democratic Republic of Congo, Egypt, Ethiopia, India, Nigeria, Pakistan, the Philippines and Tanzania.’

Having said that, climate change and pandemics are likely to have a strong say, if serious effort is not made globally to stop this already unfolding phenomenon, whereby the existential threat of climate change is already accentuating the severity and frequency of many climatic disasters like floods, wildfires, heatwaves, rate of ice melting at the poles and glacier melting, water stress, among others. Consequences of a warmer world, of an average global temperature 1.5 °C above the present, are likely to be of immense negative impact, for instance, on population level and growth, global economy, and food security.

The latest report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) pointed out in this regard ‘For global warming from 1.5°C to 2°C, risks across energy, food, and water sectors could overlap spatially and temporally, creating new– and exacerbating current– hazards, exposures, and vulnerabilities that could affect increasing numbers of people and regions. Small island states and economically disadvantaged populations are particularly at risk. …Poverty and disadvantage have increased with recent warming (about 1°C) and are expected to increase for many populations as average global temperatures increase from 1°C to 1.5°C and higher. … At 1.5°C of warming, twice as many megacities (such as Lagos, Nigeria and Shanghai, China) could become heat stressed, exposing more than 350 million more people to deadly heat by 2050 under midrange population growth. … Karachi (Pakistan) and Kolkata (India) could experience conditions equivalent to the deadly 2015 heatwaves on an annual basis under 2°C of warming (Akbari et al., 2009; Oleson et al., 2010; Matthews et al., 2017).’

The UN population report also highlighted the status of migrants, as it pointed out ‘In 2020, Türkiye hosted the largest number of refugees and asylum seekers worldwide (nearly 4 million), followed by Jordan (3 million), the State of Palestine (2 million) and Colombia (1.8 million). Other major destination countries of refugees, asylum seekers or other persons displaced abroad were Germany, Lebanon, Pakistan, Sudan, Uganda and the USA.’ It, therefore, makes sense that these countries should be given some extra attention in terms of debt relief, and IMF special drawing rights (SDRs) allocation, given their higher fiscal burdens.

Having said that, a recent Financial Times published article on the UN population report indicated that in a number of countries population growth is likely to fall, as the article pointed out ‘The populations of 61 countries are forecast to decrease by at least 1 per cent between 2022 and 2050, and the associated low fertility rates will also combine with better healthcare to accelerate the ageing of societies.’

The same article highlighted the falling population growth rate in Europe, as ‘Europe’s population shrank by 744,000 in 2020 and by 1.4mn last year — the largest fall of any continent since records began in 1950, reflecting a surge in deaths, a fall in births and lower net migration linked to the pandemic. However, the pandemic “is not the main factor”, said John Wilmoth, director of the population division of the UN’s economic and social affairs department. The fertility rate “has been quite low in almost all European countries for many decades and that means there aren’t lots of young people”, he said. Europe’s population is expected to continue to contract until 2100, with Germany and other countries joining a trend already established in eastern and southern European countries such as Poland and Italy.’

The UN population report also highlighted the status of migrants, as it pointed out ‘In 2020, Türkiye hosted the largest number of refugees and asylum seekers worldwide (nearly 4 million), followed by Jordan (3 million), the State of Palestine (2 million) and Colombia (1.8 million). Other major destination countries of refugees, asylum seekers or other persons displaced abroad were Germany, Lebanon, Pakistan, Sudan, Uganda and the USA.’ It, therefore, makes sense that these countries should be given some extra attention in terms of debt relief, and IMF special drawing rights (SDRs) allocation, given their higher fiscal burdens.

Global Population Nearing 8 Billion By Dr Omer Javed

Source: https://www.pakistantoday.com.pk/2022/07/17/global-population-nearing-8-billion/

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