World Population Tops Seven Billion

Ana Abraham

The human population reached one billion in 1804.  In 1900, there were 1.6 billion people alive. We hit the five billion mark in 1987. Now, in 2011, we have seven billion people on Earth. The United Nations estimates that by the year 2100, there will be 10.6 billion people living on an increasingly over-stressed planet. October 31, 2011, was the day that the world population was considered to surpass seven billion.

Every five days, we are adding one million people to the planet. There is much controversy surrounding the extreme and relatively fast population growth, and the negative effect it has on the environment. Also, there is a very real concern for the effect more humans will have on human rights. Campaigns such as Population Seven Billion: It’s Time to Talk are championing the use of preventive measures to protect and sustain what’s left of the natural world. One such measure is encouraging family planning through the worldwide education of women. Many animal activist groups, as well, are concerned with the negative effect the growing population is having on the large number of endangered species Earth is home to. Every day, around 100 different species go extinct.

China still has what is known as a one-child policy, and even though it is currently being relaxed, there is serious debate about whether the policy would be effective in the U.S and other advanced nations. It has been estimated that China’s policy prevented up to 300 million births. Supporters say that since China was saved from a population boom it couldn’t support. Critics are often human rights activists, who say that the decisions made about a family’s growth, should be up to the family.