Day of 7 Billion Underscores Why Population Matters in Our World

Washington, DC – Today, the United Nations estimates the world population reached 7 billion. Population Action International marked the birth of the 7 billionth person with the launch of a new report, Why Population Matters. This adds to its other 7 billion materials: the popular online app What’s Your Number, an interactive map about climate change and population, and a new documentary.

“This milestone is important, but population is more than just a number, said PAI President Suzanne Ehlers. “Population matters to our health, our environment, and our shared future. The availability of contraception to women and young people will determine whether our world reaches anywhere from 8 to 11 billion by 2050, and the quality of life that each of us will enjoy.”

In conjunction with the milestone, PAI is releasing a new 11-chapter publication called Why Population Matters that explains how population is connected to other development issues such as maternal health, poverty, security, climate change, and biodiversity. In developing countries around the world, more than 200 million women want to prevent pregnancy but need modern contraception.
“Population is an issue that connects with many others,” said Roger-Mark De Souza, Vice President of Research and Director of the Climate Program at PAI. “From environmental sustainability, to development to national security, how we approach population policy has enormous implications. Providing voluntary family planning allows women to improve their health, while easing pressure on natural resources, increasing resilience to climate change and making emissions easier to reduce.”
In a world of 7 billion, PAI’s interactive online application What’s Your Number? shows users where they fit in. The app lets people enter their birth date to find out where they fall in the world’s 7 billion people and lets them add themselves to a map of the world’s population. Since the app’s launch more than a month ago, nearly 285,000 people have gotten and posted their numbers. The app is also available to embed on external websites.
PAI has also released two new products that explore the relationship between population and environmental pressures. Our interactive mapping database identifies 26 “hotspot” countries with low climate change resilience, rapid population growth and high projected declines in agricultural production. A new documentary, Weathering Change, follows women in Ethiopia, Nepal and Peru as they adapt to the climate change challenges that threaten their health and livelihoods.

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For more information, please contact Michael Khoo, mkhoo@popact.org, 202-669-7911 or Danielle Zielinski, dzielinski@popact.org, 202-557-3426