World Population Day 2017: Population facts and figures

  • World Population day is observed on July 11 every year. Established by the United Nations in 1989, it seeks to increase attention on global population issues: overpopulation, poverty, mortality. World Population day provides avenues to critically debate population-related issues such as the importance of family planning, poverty, maternal health, gender equality, human rights, etc. with a view to finding lasting solutions to make the world better.

    World Population Day was first observed on 11 July 1990. It was celebrated in more than 90 countries.

    The 2017 theme for World Population Day is “Family Planning: Empowering People, Developing Nations”.

    Family planning, according to Merriam-Webster (online) dictionary, is the use of birth control to determine the number of children there will be in a family and when those children will be born.

    As often misunderstood, family planning is not only limited to the use of contraception: It is way beyond that. Hence, family planning services include “educational, comprehensive medical or social activities which enable individuals, including minors, to determine freely the number and spacing of their children and to select the means by which this may be achieved.” (National Child Abuse And Neglect Data System (Ncands) Glossary).

    The importance of family planning can’t be underestimated: it helps reduce unnecessary population growth, it reduces unwanted/adolescent pregnancies, it reduces infant mortality, it helps reduce HIV/AIDS spread, prevents pregnancy-related risks in women.

    As we observe the 2017 World Population day, let’s take a look at some important facts about population, family planning, and other population-related issues:

    • In the developing world, the number of children aged 5 to 14 has been declining since 2000 and will change very little between 2010 and 2025, thus facilitating the achievement of universal education.
    • High population growth is an impediment to the achievement of full and decent employment.
    • Slowing population growth can stimulate greater productivity and savings.
    • The under-five population in the least developed countries is large and continues to grow.
    • The overall population of the 49 least developed countries is growing today nearly twice as fast as that of the rest of the developing world.
    • Demand for family planning is outpacing supply.
    • Adequate funding coupled with country-specific strategies can lead to successful family planning programmes.
    • In Ethiopia, 25% of women are malnourished and the country has one of the world’s highest rates of maternal deaths (673 per 100,000) and disabilities.
    • Only 6% of women receive delivery assistance from a health professional, 19,000 women die from childbirth-related causes every year, and many more suffer from birth injuries, including obstetric fistula and prolapse.
    • Sub-Sahara Africa records the highest population growth rates worldwide.
    • The number of people in the sub-Saharan Africa is likely to double to two billion by 2050.
    • The current growth pace is adding about 78 million more people every year–the population of Canada, Australia, Greece, and Portugal combined.
    • The world total fertility rate has declined by nearly half in 50 years (from 5 children per woman in 1950 to 2.5 in 2010-15, with wide country variations). If current trends continue, humankind will number just over 9 billion by 2050 and more than 10 billion by the end of the century.


    National Child Abuse And Neglect Data System (Ncands) Glossary

    United Nations Population Facts

    Family Planning And Reproductive Health, Usaid Ethiopia

    Sub-Saharan Africa: Data and Facts

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