July 11 is World Population Day

The global population ballooned from about 2.5 billion in 1950 to more than 7 billion in 2011. This growth has brought significant challenges for sustainability, agriculture, urbanization, sanitation, access to health care, and many other facets of modern life.
In 1989, the Governing Council of the United Nations Development Programme named July 11 as World Population Day—a day to focus attention on “the urgency and importance of population issues in the context of overall development plans and programmes and the need to find solutions for these issues.”
This year’s focus is on adolescent pregnancy. According to the UN, about 16 million girls under age 18 give birth each year. The UN sums up the goal of this year’s program this way: “On 2013 World Population Day, we raise awareness of the issue of adolescent pregnancy in the hopes of delivering a world where every pregnancy is wanted, every childbirth is safe, and every young person’s potential is fulfilled.”
Explore the visual footprint of the world’s growing populations and increasing urbanization through the Koshland Science Museum’s Lights At Night online exhibit. Or, consider the impact population growth has on climate change and our responses to it in our Earth Lab.