(ORDO NEWS) — In 1900, 1 billion 650 million people lived on Earth. Now we are approaching the milestone of 8 billion, but what lies ahead for us?
The world’s population is growing at a tremendous pace. And we decided to look at how the number of people on Earth has changed over time.
Since the appearance of the first people in Africa more than 2 million years ago, the world’s population has constantly, albeit with small pauses, increased.
Already in mid-November, the population of our planet will reach 8 billion people. In this regard, we decided to consider the main milestones of population growth on Earth.
The oldest known human fossils date back 2.8 million years and were found in East Africa. But estimates of the number of people inhabiting the Earth remained highly unreliable until the 19th century.
What we do know is that our ancestors were hunter-gatherers who had few children compared to later settled populations to support their nomadic lifestyle.
The planet’s population was sparse in part because hunter-gatherers needed a lot of land to feed themselves – about 10 square kilometers per person. The world’s population has indeed increased over time, but very, very slowly.
First baby boom
The introduction of agriculture during the Neolithic Age, around 10,000 BC, led to the first known major population surge. Agriculture led to settled life and the ability to store food, which led to a sharp increase in the birth rate.
Mothers were able to feed their babies porridge, which hastened the weaning process and shortened the time between births, allowing more babies to be delivered per woman.
However, the development of permanent settlements also brought dangers, as the domestication of animals led to the infection of people with new deadly diseases.
Child mortality rates were particularly high, with a third of all children dying before their first birthday and another third before they were 18 years old. According to scientists, from about 6 million in 10,000 BC. The world’s population grew to 100 million in 2000 BC and then to 250 million in the first century AD.
The Black Death brought population numbers to a sudden halt during the Middle Ages. The pandemic, which originated in Central Asia, on the territory of modern Kyrgyzstan, reached Europe in 1346 thanks to ships carrying goods from the Black Sea.
In just eight years, the plague has wiped out up to 60 percent of the population of Europe, the Middle East and North Africa. As a result of the Black Death, the population fell from 429 million to 374 million between 1300 and 1400.
Other events, such as the Plague of Justinian that struck the Mediterranean over the course of two centuries from 541 to 767, and the wars of the early Middle Ages in Western Europe, also caused temporary declines in the human population on Earth.
Starting in the 19th century, the population began to grow rapidly, largely due to the development of modern medicine and the industrialization of agriculture, which led to an increase in the world’s food supply. Since 1800, the world’s population has grown eightfold, from an estimated 1 billion to 8 billion.
The 1970s and 1980s brought another small revolution in the form of cardiovascular disease treatment, which helped reduce mortality in people over 60 years of age.
As a result, we have 8 billion people today. It is estimated that if the population continues to grow at the same rate, the milestone of 9.7 billion people will be reached by 2050.
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