The global population is set to hit 8 billion people by November 15, 2022, according to the United Nations' latest population projections.
The report also predicts 8.5 billion people by 2030, 9.7 billion in 2050 and 10.4 billion in 2100 — or, in simple terms, a rapid slowdown in the explosive growth we've seen over the past century or so.
Though we've known the population was going to hit this number since July of this year, the Wall Street Journal pointed out today that it's now essentially imminent, with it now being possible the world will hit the giant round number "any day now really."
Although the UN thinks we'll eventually cross the 10 billion mark, the WSJ argues that may not actually be the case. Wolfgang Lutz, founding director of the Wittgenstein Centre for Demography and Global Human Capital at the University of Vienna, predicts that education and increasing quality of life could drastically slow global fertility.
"There’s two big questions," Lutz told the paper. "First, how rapidly fertility will decline in Africa… The other question is China, and countries with very low fertility, if they will recover and how fast they will recover."
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As the population grows, it'll cause significant pain points. The most alarming might be the "population bomb," already being felt in some parts of the world, caused by a rapidly aging cohort without enough youngsters to care for them.
"The total population, in the end, is a meaningless number," Lutz told the WSJ. "It depends what these people are able to do, what their skills are, whether they have enough to eat."
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