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World Population Milestone

1411 Digest

Earth's population will reach 8 billion people today, according to projections from the United Nations. The number is three times the population in 1950 and eight times that of the early 1800s.

The 200 years since the Industrial Revolution began (watch overview) have seen a massive population explosion due to a reduction in child mortality and an increase in life expectancy. Improvements in food production, sanitation, and medicine—as well as widespread access to household items like refrigerators and ammonia—have drastically reduced hunger and disease globally.

Annual population growth peaked at just over 2% in the early 1960s and has since declined to under 1% amid a decrease in fertility rates. By the end of this century, total annual deaths are expected to surpass births, likely resulting in a decline in population (learn why).

Overall, demographers estimate almost 120 billion people have lived on Earth.

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