The world on Monday marked an uncomfortable milestone, welcoming the 7 billionth person to the planet, according to the United Nations, which tracks these sorts of things.
The birthplace of this particular person is not as random as you might think. Many believed the baby would be born in India – the fastest growing country in the world, where a baby is born every second. In 14 years, India's population expected to outpace that of China.
But at two minutes before midnight, a baby girl born in Manila, earned the title.
Danica May Camacho, born to a struggling family in a crowded public hospital, was welcomed with a chocolate cake with “7B Philippines” written in icing and a pair of free shoes.
Oddly, baby Danica is not the only “Seven Billion Baby” being born today. The UN has opted to highlight a series of symbolic births, rather than just one. (Today, the BBC reported that Baby Nargis, born in India, was the world's 7 billionth person.)
The population milestone has raised, once again, the implications of a crowded planet, some of which are captured in this striking photoessay.
The arrival of this 7 billion milestone puts the world population into stunning perspective: In the 1960s, Earth’s population totaled just 3 billion.
(To find out where you rank in the world’s birth order, plug your birthday in here. Another neat interactive: “ 7 Billion and Me” also puts the numbers in perspective, allowing users to relate their age, sex, date and place of birth to the rest of the world’s billions.)
The last time the world marked a billionth birthday was twelve years ago. At that time, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan travelled to Sarajevo, Bosnia to hold the lucky newborn, Adnan Mevic, the first son of Fatima Helac and Jasminko Mevic. Mr. Annan said young Mevic’s birth “should light a path of tolerance and understanding for all people.”
But then, as now, most of the children born on this “Day of The Billion” are more likely to face lives of poverty and illiteracy in developing countries.
Meanwhile, this December, demographers and economists are due to convene at the International Family Planning Conference in Dakar, Senegal.
Unfortunately, the conference is currently sold out, due to lack of space.