World Population Day

World Population Day - Thursday, July 11, 2024

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Sure, you might know that there are more than 7 billion people on earth right now, but how often do you stop to think about what that really means? World Population Day is a holiday that’s dedicated to focusing on the importance of population issues. The day was established by the United Nations as an outgrowth of the massive interest people had in Five Billion Day in 1987. Five Billion Day was meant to acknowledge the date that the world’s population reached five billion people, which supposedly happened on July 11 of that year (hence the annual date). And look how much the population has increased since then! Population issues cover a lot of territory, from family planning to gender equality to environmental impacts to human rights concerns. Read on for more information to help you celebrate this important holiday.

Every year the world continues to get more and more crowded. While we’ve a tendency to pack ourselves into massive cities, and there are presently still long open stretches of countryside, every year that gets whittled away at more and more.

The power and food needs of the world continue to place a greater and greater strain on our ability to meet them, and resources in general are becoming harder and harder to come by.

World Population Day comes along each year to remind us that our present rate of population growth is unsustainable, and the present social and logistical issues we are experiencing to meet the demand of that population will only get worse if we don’t do something.

Learn about World Population Day 

World Population Day was established by the United Nations Development Programme. The reason for its creation was to increase awareness regarding global population issues. The purpose of the day is to increase the awareness that people have about a number of different population issues, including the importance of human rights, maternal health, poverty, gender equality, and family planning. 

The issue with overpopulation

In order to understand why World Population Day is so important, you need to understand what human overpopulation is and why it is a vital issue. Human overpopulation is when there are too many people for the environment to sustain with breathable air, drinkable water, food, and so on.

There are a number of different reasons why overpopulation can occur. Of course, the most obvious is an increase in the number of births. However, there are also other reasons as well, including depletion of resources, an increase in immigration, and a decline in mortality rates. 

Those who advocate moderating the population cite a number of different potential problems in order to argue for population decline. This includes the risk of mass starvation, impact on the quality of life, imminent or potential ecological collapse, global warming, and exceeding the carrying capacity of the Earth. 

Some facts about the population

  • Life expectancy is growing all of the time. In 2000, 67-years-old was the worldwide life expectancy rate. In 2015, this number increased to 71-years-old. It is then predicted that by the time we get to 2050, the life expectancy age will be 77-years-old. We are also seeing less variation across the world in terms of this rate.
  • The world’s population is growing at a rapid pace. Of course, this is where this day stems from. At the moment, the world’s population is growing by approximately 83 million people per year.
  • Fertility has dropped all over the world. Despite the fact that population rates are growing, you may be surprised to learn that the worldwide birth rate has actually fallen since the 1960s. 

History of World Population Day

In 1987 there was an event called “Five Billion Day”, which recognized when the human population boiled over the 5 billion mark. Since then the United Nations Development Programme has been working to anticipate, support, and offset the needs of a rapidly growing population.

The population had been deemed to be growing out of control, and awareness was being spread about the need for family planning, ways to offset poverty, and the ability to ensure that proper maternal health was observed.

The existing strain of supporting our present population is already causing grievous crimes in the areas of human rights and gender equality. As more people come into an a world that’s already doing a poor job of taking care of its citizens, there are more and more of them coming vulnerable to human rights violations such as human trafficking and child labor.

World Population Day reminds us that we are part of an ever-growing world and that to ensure there’s a great future ahead for any of us, there has to be a great future for all of us.

How to celebrate World Population Day

Not to start off too personal, but the first thing you can do is make sure that your own family planning schedule is properly taken care of. So many places in the world see an uncontrolled growth in population due to a lack of access of proper preventative measures and poor maternal health monitoring.

If you’re lucky enough to not be in those areas, be sure you’re taking advantage of your privileges. While you’re at it, see what you can do to support those areas that don’t have access to these materials, and educate yourself on what we can do to help make the world a better place for all of us.

Another way to observe World Population Day is to spread word about the issue and raise awareness. You can take to social media or your blog if you have one and raise awareness about population issues and the steps that we can take in order to combat them. There will be a lot of fact sheets and infographics going around in the build-up to World Population Day, so make sure you share these with your friends, family, and followers.  

You can also use World Population Day in order to educate yourself about the population. There is even a population counter online, so you can stay up-to-date with the latest population figures. It is also interesting to read about populations in different countries and continents and to understand how they have changed over the years. Do a little bit of digging online and you may be surprised by some of the information you stumble across!

World Population Day timeline

April 24, 2017


On this day, statistical models estimate that the world population reached 7.5 billion


Sixth Billion

Just 40 years after it reached 3 billion, the population doubles to 6 billion


A Holiday Is Born

The United Nations recognizes July 11 as World Population Day


Third Billion

The world population reaches 3 billion


Second Billion

The world population doubles to 2 billion


First Billion

The world population reaches 1 billion people

How to Observe World Population Day

  1. Educate yourself

    There is an enormous amount of information out there about population issues, so use World Population Day to do some research. A great place to start is with the United Nations Populations Fund, the lead UN agency for tackling population issues. We know there is a wide breadth of resources, so choose a few that really interest you and take a deep dive into their problems and potential solutions.

  2. Then share that information with your networks

    As we said earlier, if you live in a developed nation, you probably aren’t that affected by population issues, at least in ways that are visible in your day-to-day life. That means your friends, family, and followers probably aren’t, either. Use World Population Day to ask people to have a good long think on these issues, and what they can do to help. If you’re posting on social media, make sure to hashtag it with #worldpopulationday.

  3. Donate to organizations focused on population issues

    There are so many amazing nonprofits and NGOs out there that are doing tough work on population issues every single day, especially in the developing world. They include organizations that educate women about contraception and family planning, ones that help people lift themselves out of poverty, and ones that help refugees that have fled their homes because of environmental issues or human rights abuses. If you are able, find ways to donate your time and/or your money to these heroic organizations.

Why World Population Day is Important

  1. It touches everyone

    If you live a comfortable lifestyle in a first world country like the United States, you probably don’t think of population issues of having that much of an effect on your life. However, the more people are added to the population, the more power and food is needed to sustain all of them. It’s hard to keep up that food and power production at the rate that the population is growing, and efforts to do so are contributing greatly to climate change, which affects you no matter where you live.

  2. It asks us to look forward

    World Population Day obviously reminds us to look at the current population and population issues that influence how people live now. However, it’s really focused on the future, and what efforts it will take to slow population growth. The most important thing to think of is what the world will look like for your kids, grandkids, great-grandkids, etc. if the population continues to grow at this rate.

  3. There’s a big disparity in how population issues affect different countries

    Population issues disproportionately affect people in developing countries. For instance, did you know that people in very poor countries have a life expectancy that’s about 20 years shorter than people in rich, developed countries? How about that 1/3 of population growth is due to unplanned pregnancies, which often happen when people are lacking education and family planning services? World Population Day is a good reminder to step outside ourselves and focus on these important issues.

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