I love the cool infographic video from NPR. 7 Billion: How Did We Get So Big So Fast? is a video that uses colored liquids to visualize the population rates of the differen continents. High birth rates mean fast liquid pouring in, slower death rates slow down the liquid dripping out of the bottom.
The U.N. estimates that the world’s population will pass the 7 billion mark by the end of the year.
Much of that growth has happened in Asia — in India and China. Those two countries have been among the world’s most populous for centuries. But a demographic shift is taking place as the countries have modernized and lowered their fertility rates. Now, the biggest growth is taking place in sub-Saharan Africa.
As NPR’s Adam Cole reports, it was just over two centuries ago that the global population was 1 billion — in 1804. But better medicine and improved agriculture resulted in higher life expectancy for children, dramatically increasing the world population.
As higher standards of living and better health care are reaching more parts of the world, the rates of fertility — and population growth — have started to slow down, though the population will continue to grow for the foreseeable future.
U.N. forecasts suggest the world population could hit a peak of 10.1 billion by 2100 before beginning to decline. But exact numbers are hard to come by — just small variations in fertility rates could mean a population of 15 billion by the end of the century.
– Courtesy of NPR.org