The world’s population is on target to reach eight billion people this year.
And India will overtake China as the world’s most populous country in 2023, the United Nations has forecasted.
UN secretary-general Antonio Guterres said the global population milestone*, expected to be reached on November 15, “is a reminder of our shared responsibility to care for our planet and a moment to reflect on where we still fall short of our commitments to one another”.
“This is an occasion to celebrate our diversity*, recognise our common humanity*, and marvel at advancements in health that have extended lifespans and dramatically reduced maternal* and child mortality* rates,” Mr Guterres said.
The UN’s World Population Prospects 2022 report found the world’s population was growing at its slowest pace since 1950 because of falling birthrates*.
The world’s fertility rate* has fallen from five births per woman in 1950 to 2.3 births per woman today. This is projected to fall to 2.1 births per woman by 2050, if not even earlier.
Falling birthrates can be partly explained by greater education of females, particularly in developing nations. Getting an education can give women more choice about what they do with their lives, resulting in them having babies at an older age and having fewer of them.
The UN predicted the world’s population would hit 8.5 billion in 2030 and 9.7 billion in 2050, peaking at about 10.4 billion people in the 2080s, before steadying at that level until 2100.
The UN report said more than half of the forecasted rise in the world’s population in the coming decades would be driven by eight countries: the Democratic Republic of Congo, Egypt, Ethiopia, India, Nigeria, Pakistan, the Philippines and Tanzania.
Australia’s population is also expected to keep growing. It is in a group of countries – along with the US, New Zealand and Canada – that is expected to see population increases as a popular new home for migrants*.
- milestone: a significant stage or event in the development of something
- diversity: range of different people
- common humanity: the things that all people have in common
- maternal: to do with mothers
- mortality: death
- birthrates: the average number of births per woman over a lifetime
- fertility rate: another way to say birthrate, that is the average number of births per woman over a lifetime
- migrants: people who move from one country to another to live and work
- On which date is the world’s population expected to hit eight billion people?
- Which country is expected to have the biggest population in 2023?
- Which other country will it overtake?
- What partly explains falling birthrates around the world?
- Why is Australia’s population expected to keep growing?
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1. Graphing the data
Create a line graph (based on information provided in this news story) to show the current population data and the predicted change over time through to the year 2100. Use graph paper and/or a ruler to ensure your graph is neat and to scale.
Hint: think carefully about the spacing of the years along the axis, given that the years you have data for are not at equal intervals.
Time: allow 20 minutes to complete this activity
Curriculum Links: English; Mathematics
Make a prediction about how the global population might change beyond 2100. Explaining the reasoning behind your prediction.
Time: allow 10 minutes to complete this activity
Curriculum Links: English; Mathematics; Critical and Creative Thinking
I spy nouns
Nouns are places, names (of people and objects), and time (months or days of the week).
How many nouns can you find in the article?
Can you sort them into places, names and time?
Pick three nouns and add an adjective (describing word) to the nouns.