This blog is intended to go along with Population: An Introduction to Concepts and Issues, by John R. Weeks, published by Cengage Learning. The latest edition is the 12th (it came out in 2015), but this blog is meant to complement any edition of the book by showing the way in which demographic issues are regularly in the news.

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Wednesday, July 11, 2018

World Population Day 2018

Today is World Population Day, the theme of which this year is "Family Planning is a Human Right." It is genuinely sad to think we have to keep emphasizing that point, rather than all of us just taking it for granted. Another thing we typically take for granted is being alive, but I missed last year's World Population Day celebration because I was in the hospital intensive care unit as a whole team of physicians (several of them immigrants, I should point out) saved my life when I came down with sepsis (cause still unknown). So, I am very grateful to be here thinking about the 8th anniversary of this blog. 

Back in 2010 the world's population was getting very close to the 7 billion mark (which we hit the next year in 2011). As of today, the Census Bureau's population clock estimates that we are at 7.5 billion. So, in the eight years that I have been blogging, we have added 500 million people to the planet (and, no, I am not to blame for that!). Other demographic trends have been moving in the right direction during this time. The UN Population Division estimates that since 2010 the world's total fertility rate has dropped from 2.57 to 2.47, while life expectancy at birth (both sexes combined) has gone up from 69 to 72. 

We have to remember, though, that the medium variant of the UN population projections suggests that the world's population will continue to grow until at least to the end of this century, and that takes into account expected declines in fertility and mortality. Those things are not likely to happen automatically, however. We need to stay active in the pursuit of those improvements in the quality of life all over the globe.

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