The world’s population has finally crossed the 8 billion mark, the United Nations has revealed.
The 8 billionth person was born somewhere in the world on Tuesday, according to UN projections.
Reaching eight billion people is “a sign of human success, but it’s also a great risk for our future,” said John Wilmoth, the director of the UN’s population division on Tuesday.
The population milestone was reached owing to a gradual increase in the average human lifespan, accomplished through improvements in medicine and public health.
Middle-income countries, mainly in Asia, accounted for most of that growth, gaining some 700 million people since 2011.
It took just 12 years for the world population to grow from 7 billion to 8 billion people, but the UN projects it will take 15 years to reach 9 billion people, a milestone expected to be reached by 2037.
India added about 180 million people and is set to surpass China as the world’s most populous nation next year.
Births have been steadily declining in the United States, Europe, and Japan. China, too, has struggled with the legacy of its One Child Policy programme and last year urged families to have a second and even third child as it also limited access to non-medical abortions.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said in a statement the world should celebrate the milestone but also exercise caution in the face of great challenges like climate change.
“The milestone is an occasion to celebrate diversity and advancements while considering humanity’s shared responsibility for the planet,” he said.