Pickup line of the month: You're one in seven billion!

On October 31 of this year (or thereabouts) the world population will hit seven billion. Seven billion! If you can’t quite get your head around what a billion looks like, then check out the real-time population counter on the Population Action International website -those spinning numbers kind of bring it home (the world grows by more than 200,000 people a day). And if you want to know where in that 7 billion you fall, you can enter your date of birth and the site will tell you your number.

And just in case these statistics didn’t make you think, “Holy crap, we need some birth control, stat!” here are a few more facts:

  • The most commonly cited figure by demographers for future population growth is 9 billion by 2043. But this assumes a dramatic decline in fertility rates across the world (down to 2.1 children per woman). This will only be possible if the 215 million women around the world who want to prevent pregnancy but need contraception get some help. (Without that, 11 billion is a more realistic number.)

  • But don’t look so smug, Developed Nations! From the PAI site: “A common argument is that the Earth cannot sustain seven billion people. PAI believes the issue is not the total number, but how much they consume and where they are concentrated. The average person in the United States, for example, consumes almost fifty times more energy than a person in Ghana. And the vast majority of greenhouse gasses have come from the developed world. If the problem is overconsumption, the international policy focus should be on developed nations’ consumption, not African fertility rates.”

So… what’s your number? And more importantly, what are you going to do about it?