Nearly eight billion. That's not great news
A growing, and ageing, population and, in contrast, a declining fertilty rate, is now an established demographic phenomenon
July 11 was World Population Day ... and the world population today is approximately 7.7 billion. As the figure grows, there is another, and bigger, concern. The number of people over 65 is increasing and the number of people under the age of five is falling. In general, the pattern of world population growth is an increase in the number of young people in general. So, this is a new phenomenon.
World Population Day was an event launched in 1989 by the United Nations Development Program to address population issues. Increasing population is by itself not considered a problem… but the age imbalance of the population is.
One of the great benefits of science is that it has been able to increase people's lifespan. But the rise in the number of older people is likely to compound socio-economic problems. By 2050, the proportion of people 65 and older will be 16%. This is more than twice the number of children under the age of five. The world is "aging" as the proportions of these two groups of people go in reverse directions as it were.
Population researcher Toshiko Kaneda says that in many countries the traditional pyramidal shape is now a barrel shape. The main reason for this is the decrease in pregnancy, and increased life expectancy.
Population pyramids are graphs that differentiate people by age proportional to the total population. This helps demographers understand the direction of population growth. The barrel shape is understandable given that the number of people of all ages is roughly the same.
It is most impacted by developing countries. Many such countries will age before they become rich. Aside from that population growth is set to strain scarce natural resources; the outlook for the near future is troubling to say the least.