On Tuesday, the United Nations said planet Earth reached a milestone: a human population of 8 billion.
The figure means that one billion people had been added to the global population in just 12 years, the UN said in a statement.
Soon thereafter, however, birth rates are expected to slow. It could take 15 years to reach nine billion and the UN doesn’t expect to reach 10 billion until 2080.
Middle income countries, mostly in Asia, accounted for the bulk of the population growth over the past decade, gaining some 700 million people since 2011. India alone increased its population by about 180 million people.
UN Secretary General António Gutrres said the population milestone is “an occasion to celebrate diversity and advancements while considering humanity’s shared responsibility for the planet,” pointing out that more people means more competition for Earth’s resources. Experts say that rapid population growth combined with climate change is likely to cause mass migrations in coming decades.