World Population Hits 7 Billion - What Number are YOU?
Perhaps one of the biggest factors impacting sustainability today is global population, which has just topped 7 billion people. Scientists estimate this milestone occurred on or around October 31, 2011, a Halloween trick more than a treat for our Earth. Population continues to grow by an estimated 200,000 people per day, and experts predict it could reach 10 billion by the end of the century. This comes after a century of already exploding population growth – the UN estimates that there were only 2 billion people on Earth in 1927, and that number has swelled by 3 and ½ times in less than 100 years.
More people in the world puts more strain on the resources needed for these people to thrive. The world has also seen a rapid explosion in the growth of cities, with many people moving from rural to urban areas for increased opportunity. Many of these cities, however, are strained and do not have the resources and infrastructure to provide for so many more cities. The UN reports, however, that there is good news. Global life expectancy is longer, and in many countries the quality of life is improving and birth rates are falling.
Advanced Article: Christian Science Monitor – “World Population Hits 7 Billion, But There are Easy Ways to Curb Growth”
Intermediate Article: USA Today – “World Population Hits 7 Billion”
Beginner/ESL Article: BBC News – “Population Seven Billion: UN Sets Out Challenges”
Multimedia and In-Depth Resources:
- National Geographic has a special year-long series on world population, with features on the impacts in Brazil, Bangladesh, to biodiversity, and more.
- BBC News: Calculate what number you are among the world’s 7 billion.
- World Population: This great 7 minute video gives some context and great visuals to illustrate the world’s rapid population growth. From Population Connection
- UN State of World Population 2011 Report
- Population Reference Bureau – publishes annual population statistics and data
- In what year did population hit the 2 billion mark? 3 billion? 4, 5, and 6 billion?
- Name the mathematical concept that the world’s population growth illustrates.
- Why is the rate of population growth increasing so rapidly?
- What impacts will the continued explosion of population growth create for the Earth?
- What are some ways in which the rate of population growth could be slowed, and what impacts will this have?
Population Connection: This non-profit has dozens of teacher-tested, interactive lessons for teaching students about population growth, carrying capacity and more.
National Geographic: To go along with their in-depth series, NG has collected a series of interdisciplinary lessons and mapping activities for use in classrooms.
PBS Newshour Extra: The World at 7 Billion
World History: 10.11 Modern World Economy
Mathematics: Statistics, Data Sets and Data Analysis, Exponential Growth Curve
Science: Ecology, Resources