Health, Politics

We Are Turning Seven Billion Strong

Crowd; Image: iStock PhotoThe population of the world is about to hit a new milestone.

As of Oct. 31, demographers (people who study populations) say there will be seven billion people living on earth.

Back in 1804, we hit the one-billion mark. It took another 123 years to reach two billion.

Nearly every new billion since then has happened a little faster than the one before:

1804 – 1 billion
1927 – 2 billion
1959 – 3 billion
1974 – 4 billion
1987 – 5 billion
1998 – 6 billion
2011 – 7 billion
Projected (by the United Nations)
2025 – 8 billion
2083 – 10 billion

By 2083, the population rate could be much faster or slower, depending on a few factors including average life expectancy. In 1950, the average person lived to about 48 years old. Today the average person lives to about age 69.

It is the poor who are always hit hardest by population increases, researcher John Bongaarts told The Globe and Mail newspaper. There are more people drawing on the earth’s resources—food and energy, for instance. More than 900 million people in the world don’t get adequate nourishment.

Different areas of the world have different rates of population. China and India have the biggest populations. Western Europe, Japan and Russia actually have concerns about their low birth rates and aging populations. Sub-Saharan Africa has the world’s highest birth rates at the same time as it has the worst poverty.

However, Bongaarts said the population increase is not a cause for alarm; the earth can absorb the extra people and sustain them as it has done for hundreds of years.

By Kathleen Tilly

Writing/Discussion Prompt
Bongaarts explained that we do not have to worry about the population increase because the earth can sustain the extra people.  However, the article also explains that more than 900 million people do not have adequate nourishment.
If, according to Bongaarts, the earth can sustain everyone, why are so many people hungry and malnourished?

Reading Prompt
What do you think has caused the average life expectancy to increase from 48 to 69?

Make inferences about texts using stated and implied ideas from the texts as evidence (OME, Reading: 1.5).

Use stated and implied ideas in texts to make inferences and construct meaning (OME, Reading: 1.5).

Develop and explain interpretations of increasingly complex or difficult texts using stated and implied ideas from the texts to support their interpretations (OME, Reading: 1.5).

Grammar Feature: Writing large numbers using numerals
In North America, when we write large numbers using numerals, we add commas to separate groups of three digits.
For example: one thousand and fifty-three is written: 1,053. A bigger number like two million is written: 2,000,000.

Add commas to the following numbers:
1) 48312
2) 9900
3) 421000
4) 8000000
5) 91245

How would you write seven billion using numerals?