In recent hours the 8,000,000,000th human being alive came into being, concludes a United Nations reporting team. Humankind reached 7bn 11 years ago, but growth rates have slowed and will not reach 9bn for at least 15 years.
This decelerated growth in population is explained by a number of factors, including more readily available birth control and better education. Some countries have birth rates so low the U.N. predicts they will not be able to maintain their populations. Life expectancy for the least developed countries lagged seven years behind that of the most developed countries as of last year. The U.N. cautions that countries with older populations will need to develop better systems to take care of their elders, including social security and universally available health care.
The coming months will bring a long-expected population milestone: India overtaking China as the world's most populous country.