Human World

World Population Day 2023 is today, July 11

World Population Day: World map, in shades of blue, with darkest blue indicating higher population.
View this map as interactive. | Relative populations of the nations on Earth at the time of World Population Day, July 11, 2023. Map via the UN’s World Population Dashboard.

World Population Day is July 11

Tomorrow is World Population Day, observed on July 11 every year since 1990. The United Nations Population Fund organizes it, with the goal of raising awareness of global population issues. The 2023 event comes less than a year after November 2022, when, according to various estimates, world population reached 8 billion. The U.N. describes World Population Day as:

… meant to increase people’s awareness on various population issues such as the importance of family planning, gender equality, poverty, maternal health and human rights.

And the 2023 theme of the day is:

Unleashing the power of gender equality: Uplifting the voices of women and girls to unlock our world’s infinite possibilities.

The upward spiraling of human population

The U.N. explained:

It took hundreds of thousands of years for the world population to grow to 1 billion. Then, in just another 200 years or so, it grew sevenfold. In 2011, the global population reached the 7 billion mark, it stands at almost 7.9 billion in 2021, and it’s expected to grow to around 8.5 billion in 2030, 9.7 billion in 2050, and 10.9 billion in 2100.

From the 2023 State of the World Population Report:

The problem with too few

The problem with too many

Rights and choices are key

Women play a critical role

In recent decades, multiple studies have suggested that women play a key role in stabilizing population growth. The education of women, and falling growth rates, appear to go hand in hand. But, in much of the world, women still do not have the right of equal education to men, and do not have the right of control over their own bodies. The U..N offers these statistics:

– More than 40% of women around the world cannot make decisions on sexual and reproductive health and reproductive rights.

– As few as one in four women across low- and middle income countries are realizing their desired fertility.

– A woman dies every two minutes due to pregnancy or childbirth (and in conflict settings, the number of deaths is twice as high).

– Nearly 1/3 of women have experienced intimate partner violence, non-partner sexual violence or both.

– Just six countries have 50% or more women in parliament.

– More than 2/3 of the 800 million people globally who cannot read are women.

The U.N. pointed to studies suggesting that, when women and girls are empowered by societies to exert autonomy over their lives and bodies, they and their families thrive. For illustrations of this idea, check out the UNFPA 2023 State of World Population report and the studies that follow.

From the World Bank: Female education and childbearing: A closer look at the data

From the European Union: Educating all girls is key for global population size

From Frontiers in Public Health: Is educating girls the best investment for South Asia? Association between female education and fertility choices in South Asia: A systematic review of the literature

How World Population Day began

The Indian scholar K.C. Zachariah proposed a World Population Day. Zachariah was a senior demographer for the World Bank. He died in early 2023 at age 98.

World Population Day stemmed from public interest in 5 Billion Day, the approximate date on which global population reached 5 billion people, on July 11, 1987. The first World Population Day was July 11, 1990. More than 90 countries observed the day. From then on, in partnership with governments and civil societies, a number of United Nations Population Fund country offices and other organizations and institutions commemorate World Population Day.

Bottom line: World Population Day is an annual event, organized by the United Nations and observed on July 11 every year.

July 11, 2023
Human World

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Deborah Byrd

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