The National, Wednesday 30th November 2011
By SALLY TIWARI
THE world’s population has increased by the billion in a few years because of longer life expectancy and a drop in infant mortality rate, the United Nations Population Fund says.
The UNFPA State of the World Population Report, which was launched on Tuesday in Port Moresby, said the average life expectancy leapt from 48 years in the 1950s to 68 in the 2000s, while infant mortality rates plunged from 133 in 1,000 births to 46 per 1,000 in the period 2005 to 2010.
This has been attributed to immunisation campaigns which have reduced prevalence of childhood diseases as well as older people getting exposed to healthier lifestyles.
The report said in 1804 the world’s population had been estimated at a billion.
It said by 1927, 123 years later, it had reached two billion.
The report said:
l By 1959, 32 years later, the world population grew to three billion;
l By 1974, 15 years later , the world’s population stood at four billion;
l By 1987, 13 years later, the population was at five billion;
l By 1999, 12 years later, the world population hit six billion; and,
l By 2011 the world’s population had reached seven billion.
The report said although this reflected achievements in reducing infant mortality rate and an increase in longevity, it had downfalls as not everyone had achieved a higher quality of life in terms of education and health services.
The report highlighted a greater disparity between men and women and girls and boys.
It attributed the high population growth to high fertility rate in the world as the greatest contributing factor to the increasing population despite women having fewer babies as a result of exposure to education and other economical constraints.