Earth officially reaches 8 billion people — so what now?

Earth’s population has officially grown to 8 billion people. Only 11 years ago, the world population reached 7 billion people worldwide. Growing by 1 billion in just over a decade is an unprecedented pace.

Though the growth rate is expected to slow down in the coming years, the population increase reveals some alarming trends. 

Population and infrastructure mismatches

70% of the population growth has come from the poorest countries with a lack of infrastructure and the public expenditure needed to support the rising populations. 

Slow growth isn’t necessarily good

On the other hand, slowing growth rates in countries like the US and China pose a threat to future generations. The combination of increased life expectancy and slow growth in these countries could lead to labor shortages and damage economic growth. 

Environmental challenges 

The drastic population growth has put a strain on the environment and exacerbated climate change. The growth has made fuel consumption grow at an unsustainable rate and has contributed to deforestation and the loss of biodiversity, according to the United Nations.

Though slowing the population rates may help mitigate further environmental damage, the countries that are most vulnerable to future climate impacts are also the ones with the fewest resources.

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