The world population surged past 8 billion people on Tuesday, the United Nations said, warning that more hardship is in store for regions already facing resource scarcity due to climate change.
Whether its food or water, batteries or gasoline, there will be less to go around as the global population adds another 2.4 billion people by the 2080s, according to U.N. projections.
Resource pressure will be especially daunting in African nations, where populations are expected to boom, experts say. These are also among the countries most vulnerable to climate impacts, and most in need of climate finance.
In sub-Saharan Africa, where some 738 million people already live without adequate food supplies, the population is projected to jump by 95% by mid-century, according to the Institute for Economics and Peace. The think tank warned in an October report that much of sub-Saharan Africa will be unsustainable by mid-century.
Globally, the 8 billion population milestone represents 1 billion people added to the planet in just the last 11 years.
Reaching 8 billion people is“a sign of human success, but it’s also a great risk for our future,” said John Wilmoth, director of the U.N.’s population division.
Middle-income countries, mostly in Asia, accounted for most of that growth, gaining some 700 million people since 2011. India added about 180 million people, and is set to surpass China as the world’s most populous nation next year.
However, births have been steadily declining in the United States, Europe, and Japan. China, too, has struggled with the legacy of its One Child Policy program and last year urged families to have a second and even third child as it also limited access to non-medical abortions.