BBC Teaches About Population By Assigning Everyone A Number

The world’s population is expected to hit seven billion in the next few weeks. After growing very slowly for most of human history, the number of people on Earth has more than doubled in the last 50 years. Where do you fit into this story of human life? Click here to get your number and find out some staggering statistics about the booming population of the planet we all share.

What’s next? The global population will continue to increase during your lifetime and beyond, reaching 10 billion by 2083. However, the rate of growth is expected to slow. Little of the current growth is happening in developed countries like yours.

Longer lives: Working-age people like you will be supporting increasing numbers of older people during the next decades. By 2050, there will be just 2.2 people of working age supporting every person aged 65 or older in the developed world. In Europe, this will drop to just two.

Battle for resources: It is estimated that your group of the richest countries consumes double the resources used by the rest of the world. The UN estimates that if current population and consumption trends continue, by the 2030s we will need the equivalent of two Earths to support us.

Did you know? The average family size globally has declined by half since 1950 – from five children to the current 2.5.

I created a sample person (not my real birthday) to illustrate how the BBC tool works below. As you can see, it’s an interactive infographic that’s perfect for teaching students about global population growth. Plus it’s quite fun! (Click any image to enlarge)

Sources:

All population data are based on estimates by the UN Population Division and all calculations provided by the UN Population Fund. The remaining data are from other sections of the UN, the Global Footprint Network and the International Telecommunications Union.

Want to find out more? Visit the UN Population Fund’s detailed population calculator, 7 billion and me.

Notes on the data: Only birth dates after 1910 can be accommodated and only countries with populations of more than 100,000 people are included. Where available, the UN’s medium variant and average figures from 2005-2010 have been used. World and country population clocks are estimates based on the latest UN figures and growth rates. They may not tally precisely with other clocks because of the way this application is configured.

Three country groupings – developed, developing and least developed – featured in the conclusions are those referenced by the UN for assessing the Millennium Development Goals. The transition countries of Eastern Europe have been grouped with developed nations.

1 Comment

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