Our world is constantly growing, with the world population growth rate currently sitting at 0.83% per year. In November, we hit the impressive milestone of a population of 8 billion. Although China, India, and the United States have the greatest populations, an increase can be observed across all countries on Earth.
Life expectancy has skyrocketed in the past 200 years, jumping from 29 to 73. This is a clear indication of better overall global health and an older world population. World health is measured based on life expectancy and the general health index score assigned by professionals to each country. Currently, the five healthiest countries on Earth according to these criteria are Spain, Italy, Iceland, Japan, and Switzerland. In contrast, the five unhealthiest are South Sudan, Somalia, Chad, Central African Republic, and Sierra Leone.
A growing world of this nature also has large effects on businesses. On the negative side, global GDP growth has slowed, and the potential for labor shortages is much more threatening. However, on the bright side, the older population increases productivity, and growing countries lead to an increase in multinational corporations.
Experts have a bittersweet outlook on this population milestone, praising the human race for our resiliency and growth, but also wondering what this means for the future of the environment. “Humankind has made tremendous progress,” says Dr. Mrittika Shamsuddin of Dalhousie University, “however, rapid population growth might lead to congestion, depletion of non-renewable resources, deforestation, pollution…”
Experts say that the 9 billionth baby is only 15 years away, as our growth has become unstoppable. It is for these reasons that scientists and experts agree that the only constant that we may rely on is that change is inevitable.