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World population hits 8 billion

25th Nov 2022
World population hits 8 billion

Hamed Chapman

The population of the world was expected to hit 8 billion during November, even though growth is in decline. The number is expected to reach just below 11 billion by the end of the 21st century before falling in real terms. Muslims are expected to overtake Christians as the largest religious group.

According to the latest UN projections, global fertility rates have been dropping since 1964, from 5 births per woman to just under 2.5 today, with the speed of increase having already plateaued and the incremental intervals of adding additional billions getting longer.

 

A snapshot of the world

A snapshot of the world shows humanity is dominated by Asia, representing 58 percent of the global population (4.7 billion), followed by Africa, constituting 17.5 percent (1.4 billion), Europe (750 million, 9%), North America (602 million, 7.5%), and South America (439 million, 5.5%), while Oceania at 44 million is barely 0.5%.

On a country basis and perhaps relevant to the future of geopolitics, India and China are roughly equivalent, as they have by far the biggest populations of around 1.4 billion each. But while both are expected to shrink, the rates will be very different, with the UN predicting the number of Chinese to fall to as few as 500 million, while there would still be about one billion Indians.

Muslims have previously been recognised as the world’s fastest-growing religious group and are set to rise to around 3 billion in the second half of the current century and overtake the long reign of Christians as the largest.

Among the biggest issues facing the planet is the concentration of populations that effectively demonstrate grossly disproportionate dynamics, as in the case of Bangladesh, squeezed between India and the Bay of Bengal, contrasts with the world’s largest country, Russia, but with an actual smaller population.

Kathleen Mogelgaard, president and CEO of the Population Institute, has warned that reaching 8 billion is an “important turning point and wake-up call” for the largest generation in human history that is now coming of age, saying reproductive decisions made together with the opportunities, services, and rights they can claim “will profoundly influence our global future.”

Rapid population growth in the 20th century reflects public health progress, which lowered infant and child mortality and extended people’s lives.

But continued rapid growth would adversely affect people and the planet, stressing public health, the climate and environment, food security, water, infrastructure, and fuelling civil conflict, displacement, and global inequity. These are challenges that will reverberate in every corner of the world.

“Most of the growth will be concentrated in Africa and other places in the global South. This concentration reflects the severe inequities facing women, youth, and marginalised communities in these places,” Mogelgaard said.

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Over 120 people attended a landmark conference on the media reporting of Islam and Muslims. It was held jointly by The Muslim News and Society of Editors in London on September 15.

The Muslim News Awards for Excellence 2015 was held on March in London to acknowledge British Muslim and non-Muslim contributions to the society.

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