Tag Archives: planet Earth

7 billion of us now. Better than 9 billion

This month, the population of Planet Earth will reach seven billion. That’s a lot of people. Here’s a quick look at recent history.

  • 1800     900 million
  • 1900     1.6 billion (added 700 million in 100 years)
  • 1950     2.4 billion (added 2 billion in 50 years)
  • 1980     5.1 4.4 billion (added 2 billion in 30 years)
  • 2000     6 billion (added 1.3 1.6 billion in 20 years )
  • 2011      7 billion (added 1 billion  in 11 years)

Until very recently we were headed for population Armageddon; in the 1970’s demographers began sounding an alarm about what they saw in their projections. And we very likely would have gotten to that awful place, but for one thing. Contraception. In the last 20 years, access has spread worldwide in spite of the religious resistance (from Christians here in the US and from large segments of the  Muslim world). Women embraced birth control; lower birth rates led to better nutrition, more education and ultimately increased prosperity, which itself is a factor in containing population growth.

Science. Good.