Sometime in the next few days the number of people in the world will reach 7 billion, most likely with a child born in India. The Daily Beast looks at eight huge population milestones over the past two centuries.
The countdown is almost over: sometime in the next few days earth’s 7 billionth person will open his or her eyes for the first time. And it’s no surprise that demographers predict that baby will be born—around Oct. 31—in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, where about 200 million (PDF) people already live. For decades, developing countries in Asia—including India—and Africa have outstripped the developed world in population growth, with about 97 percent of current gains occurring in less-developed countries, according to the United Nations Population Fund.
Much of the population explosion has and will continue to occur in urban areas. Since the 19th century the period between each billionth person has gotten shorter and shorter—although population estimates show that the number of years between each billion will increase over the next century.
The story of Baby 7 Billion is preceded by decades of unprecedented population growth. From the year 0 to 1750, the world’s population increased by 160 percent, while from 1805 to 2011 it grew by 600 percent. The Daily Beast looks at the major population milestones since the world’s population reached 1 billion, in 1805.