This week marked the annual World Population Day, so we at Need to Know hope it was a good one for all the 6,948,915,000 of you out there – and the approximately 266 of you who were born in the time it took to read this. This is a momentous year to be born.
2011, after all, is the year demographers predict the world population will grow to seven billion people — just a little over two hundred years after hitting the 1 billion mark.
The United States is contributing its share; at 312 million people, this country is the fastest growing of the industrialized world and the globe’s third-most populous, behind India and China. Even though the U.S. rate of growth has slowed over the past decade, the Census Bureau predicts we’ll still reach 439 million by 2050.
Given the jumbo-sized reality show families, baby bumps on tabloid covers and headlines proclaiming “Four Kids is the New Two,” it’s hard to believe there was ever a time in our history when people worried about the size of their families and whether the world would have enough resources to support them.
But there was a moment when average Americans — Democrat and Republican alike — were engaged in a conversation about the “overpopulation problem” and what could be done about it. While the era didn’t last all that long, it’s still worth revisiting it today.