Population Overload

The effects of 8 billion people on the Earth

After 11 years of the human population being in the 7 billion range, it reached a new height on Nov. 15, 2022, hitting 8 billion. While human population growth is something to traditionally celebrate, it is also something that needs to be put into perspective as to how this could affect global resources and poverty rates.

“While the milestone is notable, the exact size of the global population is less critical than the dynamics of where people are living, working and moving,” Jack Goldstone, Public Policy Professor at George Mason University said to npr.org.

Although the human population has steadily increased over the past 70 years, this is currently the slowest increase since the 1950s, according to un.org. The cause for the decrease in speed of the population growth rate is from the betterment of science and technology, according to nytimes.com.

The growth rate is highly affected by lower-middle and low income countries. In higher income nations where methods of contraception and reproductive healthcare are more accessible, fertility rates and population growth have both decreased. When the next billion people are born between 2022 and 2037, these two different income groups are expected to make up more than 90% of global growth, according to un.org.

Unsustainable consumption amounts could also be what drives the population down in coming years. Fuel, food and other natural and man-made resources will start to decrease and in some places, they already have. The rapid growth of the human population has contributed to the demand for resources, increased deforestation and resource depletion in various forms of environmental degradation, including global warming, climate change and loss of biodiversity, according to un.org.

There are not many fast solutions to improve the state of the planet, but there are small things that can be done to help bit by bit. These could include using less fuel and increasing recycling.

“The sooner we can get into that clean, lower-cost future, the better for the world,” Goldstone said to npr.org.