The world population has crossed eight billion, the United Nations said on Tuesday as it warned of the impact of climate change and resource scarcity.
John Wilmoth, director of the UN’s population division said that reaching eight billion people is “a sign of human success, but it’s also a great risk for our future”.
According to a statement by the UN, the global population is growing at its slowest rate since 1950.
UN projections suggest that the global population could grow to around 8.5 billion in 2030 and 9.7 billion in 2050.
It is projected to reach a peak of around 10.4 billion people during the 2080s and to remain at that level until 2100.
The figures were earlier released by the UN in a report ahead of World Population Day in July.
“India is projected to surpass China as the world’s most populous country in 2023,” it added.
Despite the global population increasing, experts say that the growth rate has fallen steadily to less than 1 per cent per year.
“A big part of this story is that this era of rapid population growth that the world has known for centuries is coming to an end,” Mr Wilmoth said.
Experts have warned that the rising population combined with the impact of climate change will adversely affect vulnerable nations and people.
Deborah Balk, a demographic researcher at the City University of New York, said: “African cities will, on average, grow.”
Ms Balk said that this will leave millions more urban dwellers exposed to climate threats such as rising seas.
Analysts warn that there will also be resource scarcity with the population rise.
“Every single person needs fuel, wood, water, and a place to call home,” said Stephanie Feldstein, population and sustainability director at Center for Biological Diversity.
UN officials have also said that rising population is likely to impact achieving sustainable development goals.
“The relationship between population growth and sustainable development is complex and multidimensional” said Liu Zhenmin, UN Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs in a statement.
“Rapid population growth makes eradicating poverty, combatting hunger and malnutrition, and increasing the coverage of health and education systems more difficult.
“Conversely, achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, especially those related to health, education and gender equality, will contribute to reducing fertility levels and slowing global population growth.”
(Additional reporting by agencies)
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