World population hits 8 billion, creating many challenges



LAGOS, Nigeria (AP) — The world’s population will likely hit an estimated 8 billion people on Tuesday, based on a United Nations projection, with much of the expansion coming from developing nations in Africa.

Amongst them is Nigeria, where resources are already stretched to the limit. Greater than 15 million people in Lagos compete for every thing from electricity to light their homes to spots on crowded buses, often for two-hour commutes each way on this sprawling megacity. Some Nigerian children set off for college as early as 5 a.m.

And over the following three many years, the West African nation’s population is anticipated to soar much more: from 216 million this yr to 375 million, the U.N. says. That may put Nigeria in a tie for third place with the USA after India and China.

“We’re already overstretching what we’ve got — the housing, roads, the hospitals, schools. Every part is overstretched,” said Gyang Dalyop, an urban planning and development consultant in Nigeria.

The U.N.’s Day of 8 Billion milestone Tuesday is more symbolic than precise, officials are careful to notice in a wide-ranging report released over the summer that makes some staggering projections.

The upward trend threatens to depart much more people in developing countries further behind, as governments struggle to offer enough classrooms and jobs for a rapidly growing variety of youth, and food insecurity becomes a fair more urgent problem.

Nigeria is amongst eight countries the U.N says will account for greater than half the world’s population growth between now and 2050 — together with fellow African nations Congo, Ethiopia and Tanzania.

“The population in lots of countries in sub-Saharan Africa is projected to double between 2022 and 2050, putting additional pressure on already strained resources and difficult policies aimed to cut back poverty and inequalities,” the U.N. report said.

It projected the world’s population will reach around 8.5 billion in 2030, 9.7 billion in 2050 and 10.4 billion in 2100.

Other countries rounding out the list with the fastest growing populations are Egypt, Pakistan, the Philippines and India, which is ready to overtake China because the world’s most populous nation next yr.

In Congo’s capital, Kinshasa, where greater than 12 million people live, many families struggle to seek out inexpensive housing and pay school fees. While elementary pupils attend free of charge, older children’s probabilities depend upon their parents’ incomes.

“My children took turns” going to highschool, said Luc Kyungu, a Kinshasa truck driver who has six children. “Two studied while others waited due to money. If I didn’t have so many children, they might have finished their studies on time.”

Rapid population growth also means more people vying for scarce water resources and leaves more families facing hunger as climate change increasingly impacts crop production in lots of parts of the world.

“There may be also a greater pressure on the environment, increasing the challenges to food security that can be compounded by climate change,” said Dr. Srinath Reddy, president of the Public Health Foundation of India. “Reducing inequality while specializing in adapting and mitigating climate change needs to be where our policy makers’ focus needs to be.”

Still, experts say the larger threat to the environment is consumption, which is highest in developed countries not undergoing big population increases.

“Global evidence shows that a small portion of the world’s people use many of the Earth’s resources and produce most of its greenhouse gas emissions,” said Poonam Muttreja, executive director of the Population Foundation of India. “Over the past 25 years, the richest 10% of the worldwide population has been accountable for greater than half of all carbon emissions.”

In response to the U.N., the population in sub-Saharan Africa is growing at 2.5% per yr — greater than 3 times the worldwide average. A few of that might be attributed to people living longer, but family size stays the driving factor. Women in sub-Saharan Africa on average have 4.6 births, twice the present global average of two.3.

Families change into larger when women start having children early, and 4 out of 10 girls in Africa marry before they turn 18, based on U.N. figures. The speed of stripling pregnancy on the continent is the very best on the earth — about half of the youngsters born last yr to moms under 20 worldwide were in sub-Saharan Africa.

Still, any effort to cut back family size now would come too late to significantly slow the 2050 growth projections, the U.N. said. About two-thirds of it “can be driven by the momentum of past growth.”

“Such growth would occur even when childbearing in today’s high-fertility countries were to fall immediately to around two births per woman,” the report found.

There are also necessary cultural reasons for big families. In sub-Saharan Africa, children are seen as a blessing and as a source of support for his or her elders — the more little kids, the greater comfort in retirement.

Still, some large families “may not have what it takes to really feed them,” says Eunice Azimi, an insurance broker in Lagos and mother of three.

“In Nigeria, we imagine that it’s God that offers children,” she said. “They see it because the more children you may have, the more advantages. And you’re actually overtaking your peers who cannot have as many children. It looks like a contest in villages.”

Politics even have played a job in Tanzania, where former President John Magufuli, who ruled the East African country from 2015 until his death in 2021, discouraged contraception, saying that a big population was good for the economy.

He opposed family planning programs promoted by outside groups, and in a 2019 speech urged women to not “block ovaries.” He even described users of contraceptives as “lazy” in a rustic he said was awash with low cost food. Under Magufuli, pregnant schoolgirls were even banned from returning to classrooms.

But his successor, Samia Suluhu Hassan, appeared to reverse government policy in comments last month when she said contraception was needed so as to not overwhelm the country’s public infrastructure.

Whilst populations soar in some countries, the U.N. says rates are expected to drop by 1% or more in 61 nations.

The U.N. report put the present U.S population at 337 million, reaching 375 million in 2050. The population growth rate in 2021 was just 0.1%, the bottom for the reason that country was founded.

“Going forward, we’re going to have slower growth — the query is, how slow?” said William Frey, a demographer on the Brookings Institution. “The true wild card for the U.S. and lots of other developed countries is immigration.”

Charles Kenny, a senior fellow on the Center for Global Development in Washington, says environmental concerns surrounding the 8 billion mark should concentrate on consumption, particularly in developed countries.

“Population is just not the issue, the way in which we devour is the issue — let’s change our consumption patterns,” he said.


Asadu reported from Abuja, Nigeria. Associated Press writers Krista Larson in Dakar, Senegal; Sibi Arasu in Bengaluru, India; Wanjohi Kabukuru in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt; Christina Larson in Washington; Rodney Muhumuza in Kampala, Uganda, and Jean-Yves Kamale in Kinshasa, Congo, contributed.


Associated Press climate and environmental coverage receives support from several private foundations. See more about AP’s climate initiative here. The AP is solely accountable for all content.

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