The world’s population will reach 8 billion people on Tuesday, representing a “milestone in human development” before birth rates start to slow, according to a projection from the United Nations,CNN informs.
In a statement, the UN said the figure meant 1 billion people had been added to the global population in just 12 years.
“This unprecedented growth is due to the gradual increase in human lifespan owing to improvements in public health, nutrition, personal hygiene and medicine. It is also the result of high and persistent levels of fertility in some countries,” the UN statement read.
Middle-income countries, mostly in Asia, accounted for most of the growth over the past decade, gaining some 700 million people since 2011. India added about 180 million people, and is set to surpass China as the world’s most populous nation next year.
But even while the global population reaches new highs, demographers note the growth rate has fallen steadily to less than 1% per year. This should keep the world from reaching 9 billion people until 2037. The UN projects the global population will peak at around 10.4 billion people in the 2080s and remain at that level until 2100.
Most of the 2.4 billion people to be added before the global population peaks will be born in sub-Saharan Africa, according to the UN, marking a shift away from China and India.