Population: Now 6,169,232,446 and climbing

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NEW YORK – On July 11, World Population Day, the number of people on Earth was estimated at 6,169,232,446 and climbing.

In the 3 minutes it may take a reader to finish this article, the world’s population will have increased by 438 people, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

Speaking on the occasion of World Population Day, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan linked the growing population to ecological stress on the planet’s resources. “Our ecological footprints on the earth are heavier than ever before.”

World Population Day evolved as an outgrowth of the Day of Five Billion, set aside July 11, 1987 to build awareness of population issues.

India leads growth. The U.N. Population Division says world population is currently growing at an annual rate of 1.2 percent, or 77 million people per year.

Six countries account for half of this annual growth: India for 21 percent, China for 12 percent, Pakistan for 5 percent, Nigeria for 4 percent, Bangladesh for 4 percent, and Indonesia for 3 percent.

Developed regions. The population of more developed regions, currently 1.2 billion, is anticipated to change little during the next 50 years because fertility levels are expected to remain below replacement level, the United Nations predicts.

By mid-century the populations of 39 countries are projected to be smaller than today. Japan and Germany will be 14 percent smaller. Italy and Hungary will be 25 percent smaller, and the Russian Federation, Georgia and Ukraine will be up to 40 percent smaller, United Nations population analysts forecast.

World population is expected to be around 9.3 billion by 2050, the United Nations estimates, but it could be anywhere between 7.9 billion and 10.9 billion, depending on fertility, longevity and rates of death.

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