Do your bit: Focus on days highlighting international issues International Days and Observances
World Population Day
World POPClock
Today, there are more than 6 billion people on the planet, with half of the world’s population under the age of 25—at or just reaching their childbearing years.

2010 Theme
Everyone Counts
... underscoring the importance of data for development
11 July
Ten years ago, 179 governments committed to the Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) by signed to it. The ICPD prescribes the steps that will not only save millions of women’s lives but empower societies to achieve a better future.

After growing very slowly for most of human history, the world's population more than doubled in the last half century and will cross the six billion mark in late 1999. Moreover, population is still increasing by about 78 million people a year, despite the trend worldwide towards smaller families. Total population size will likely grow for at least the next 40 years and by at least another 1.5 billion people. Almost all of this growth is occurring in the developing regions; most industrialized countries are growing very slowly or not at all, while in a few countries, population size is declining.

The Population Bomb?

In the last 50 years, global population has more than doubled, reaching a total of around 6.2 billion people on this earth. It is expected to increase by another 2.6 billion in the next 47 years. Projections show that the world population could reach 11 billion people by 2150! Although this is alarming the demographic trends show a decrease in the world’s population growth rate. Demographic experts expect that the population will stabilise around 11 billion people. Global population growth rates have dropped from 2.1% in the 1960 to 1970 decade to a projected 1.3% from 2005 to 2010. Most parts of the world have gone through what is called a "demographic transition" in which most populations go from having high birth and mortality rates to lower birth and mortality rates. While it is now accepted that the world population will not continue to increase exponentially until we’re falling off the planet, the question remains how will the earth sustain 5 billion more people in the next 150 years?

Worldwide, the largest group of young women ever is entering their childbearing years, requiring an expansion of family planning services to meet their needs and enable more couples to have the smaller families they desire. In the long term, smaller families will contribute to individual and family well-being, to a slowdown in population growth rates, and to sustainable economic development1.

In the final analysis, the number of people on earth is not the real story. The real story is improving the quality of life of every one. A number of interconnected issues play a critical role in today's world: sexual and reproductive health, HIV/AIDS and youth, gender and human rights, family planning and safe motherhood, environmental protection, employment and economic development et al.
International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) Programme of Action.


  • Enact laws and policies to protect
  • the rights of women and girls
  • Ensure equal access to primary education for girls and boys
  • Ensure universal access to reproductive health services as part of basic primary health care
  • Empower women and girls socially and economically
  • Prevent HIV infection
  • End gender-based violence
Full text:

This World Population Day marks the mid-point of the 20-year Cairo Programme of Action. Let us today reaffirm our commitment to the promises made in Cairo. And let us recognize the centrality of the ICPD agenda to our wider efforts to achieve the Millennium Development Goals.

- Kofi Anan, Former UN Secretary General

Additional Resources:
1 Population Action

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