Population

November 24, 2012 3:12 am

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Population
Can you guess how many people there are in the world? It’s a big number. The population of the world is about 6 billion (6,000,000,000) people. If all these people lined up side by side, they would circle the Earth at least 60 times.
Population is the number of people in a place. We speak of the population of a village, a city, a country, a continent, or even the whole world.
Scientists sometimes use the word population to talk about the number of animals, plants, or other living things. But most of the time, population refers to human beings.
Knowing about the population helps people plan. For example, governments can plan how many schools, hospitals, and other buildings they need to build.
THE WORLD’S GROWING POPULATION
The population of the world is growing faster and faster. It took a long time to reach the first billion people. Each billion after that took less time.
The population of the world grew to 1 billion over thousands of years. It reached 1 billion people in the early 1800s. Just over 100 years later, the world population climbed to 2 billion. It reached 3 billion in 1960, less than 50 years later. The population had grown to 5 billion by 1987, and to 6 billion in 1999.
The population of the world doubled—from 3 billion to 6 billion—in just under 40 years! That’s a lot more people in a very short time.
WHY THE POPULATION IS GROWING
The size of the population changes as babies are born and people die. When there are more new babies than deaths, the population grows. The population will stop growing only when fewer babies are born.
Today, about 90 million people are added to the world population every year. The main reason for this huge growth in population is a drop in the rate of death. Fewer babies and children are dying young, and adults are living longer than ever before. Sewers and clean water supplies have improved sanitation. Fewer people, especially babies, now become sick and die from drinking polluted water. New drugs and medical treatments also have helped reduce death rates.
THE FASTEST-GROWING POPULATION
The population of Africa is growing faster than the population of any other continent. Africa also has some of the world’s poorest countries. Rapidly growing populations make it difficult for poor countries to develop. Poor countries have difficulty feeding all their people. They cannot provide housing or health care for so many people. They do not have enough schools or jobs. The countries stay poor as a result.
Some poor countries are trying to slow population growth. They encourage families to have fewer children.
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