Today, the world is celebrating ‘World Population Day‘, an annual event observed on July 11 to raise awareness about global population issues.

In 1989, the Governing Council of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in its decision 89/46 recommended that, in order to focus attention on the urgency and importance of population issues, the need to find solutions for such issues, July 11 should be observed by the International community as World Population Day. The decision was taken in the context of overall development plans and programmes.

As the world population rose to 7 billion people in 2011 (up from 2.5 billion in 1950), it has had profound implications for development. A world of 7 billion people is both a challenge and an opportunity with implications on sustainability, urbanization, and access to health services and youth empowerment.

The UN agency behind the event allocates different themes every year for the day. For 2014, the theme is “Investing in Young People.”

The UN website notes that there are today about 1.8 billion young people who are “shaping social and economic realities, challenging norms and values,” and are acting as the foundation for the future of this globe.

However, there are too many of them who are struggling with poverty, inequality and human rights violations that prevent them from contributing towards the wellness of the collective population.

“On this World Population Day, I call on all with influence to prioritize youth in development plans, strengthen partnerships with youth-led organizations, and involve young people in all decisions that affect them,” said UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

Few interesting facts about the World Population:

1. As of 1 January 2014, the world’s population was estimated to be 7,137,661,030, and increases by 2.3 people every second.

2.The total number of people who have ever lived has been estimated by the Population Bureau to be around 108 billion.

3.The world population is estimated to have reached one billion in 1804, with two, three and four billion in 1927, 1960 and 1974 respectively.

4. Vatican City (800) and Nauru (9,378) are the states with the lowest populations.

5. 30% of the world’s population generally eats with chopsticks.

6. China, India, USA, Indonesia, Pakistan and Brazil account for half the world’s people. More than one in three people are Chinese or Indian.

7. It is also said that in 2011, there were more number of mobile phones on Earth then the number of people.

8. The world population is expected to reach 11 billion by 2050.

Population Issues in India

  • As far as India is concerned, according to the statistics, as of March 2011, the total population of India was over 1.21 billion. The population clock in the Union Health Ministry in New Delhi now ticks at the rate of 31 persons per minute. The clock shows that about 44,640 babies are born in India everyday.
  • This gigantic growth rate is due to the industrial and technical revolution that has taken place. The new technologies have brought down the death rate because of the vastly improved medical facilities resulting in increased life expectancies. Various cultures and norms, migration and various other factors have contributed to this this population boom.
  • India is projected to overtake China as the world’s most populous nation by 2030.
  • The overpopulation has given rise to various problems like illiteracy, unemployment, pollution and poverty. Overpopulation is leading to fierce competition for the nation’s limited natural resources, resulting in quarrels between the states, communities and even families. The fast rate of the growth of population has affected the quality of the life of the people.
  • After a bad experience of trying to control the fast growth of the population during the Emergency years by Sanjay Gandhi, every party in India has tried to avoid the ‘Issue of Family Planning’.
  • Rajasthan CM Vasundhara Raje, while speaking at the eve of the World Population Day, advocated the need for small family concept. Terming population growth a barrier to development, Raje urged the people of Rajasthan to follow the concept of small family and maintaining the sex ratio. She said that rapid increase in population makes growth opportunities ineffective and full benefit of the government’s welfare schemes does not reach to the beneficiaries.
  • India with 16% of the world population needs a strict implementation of the existing population control mechanisms in order to ensure a good quality of life for its citizens.