According to a report by the United Nations, the global population will reach 7 billion within the next five days.
The U.N. Population Fund report The State of World Population 2011 notes that the record population size can be viewed in many ways as a success for humanity because it means people are living longer and more children are surviving worldwide. But not everyone has benefited from this achievement or the higher quality of life that this implies, it added.
The world must seize the opportunity to invest in the health and education of its youth to reap the full benefits of future economic development or else face a continuation of the sorry state of disparities in which hundreds of millions of people in developing nations lack the most basic ingredients for a decent life, said Babatunde Osotimehin, executive director of the United Nations Population Fund.
Although global population levels are not growing as fast as in the mid-1960s because developed countries have lower birth rates now, the number of people in 58 other countries, including India, continues to grow.
Much of this increase is expected to come from the high-fertility countries, which comprise 39 in Africa, nine in Asia, six in Oceania and four in Latin America, the U.N. fund reported.
The population question is not about the amount of space people take up, Osotimeh added, It is about equity, social justice, distribution and consumption. He pointed out that of the projected population of 7 billion, 1.8 billion were between the ages of 10 and 24.
Our work is far from done, Osotimehin said, We must tear down economic, legal and social barriers, to put women and men and boys and girls on an equal footing in all spheres of life.