When did the world population reach 1 billion? Expert explores milestone

Rachael Grealish November 15, 2022
When did the world population reach 1 billion? Expert explores milestone
Global population, illustration. Credit: Getty

The world has just hit a major milestone as the human population on Earth has reached a staggering eight billion – but when did it first read one billion? One expert has planted a flag in the ground.

Today (November 14, 2022) the United Nations officially marked the day the global population reached eight billion people. This isn’t an exact science but data site Worldometer reports we’re there.

According to the UN’s World Population Prospects 2022 report, the international agency expects the population to reach somewhere near 8.5 billion by 2030, 9.7 billion in 2050, 10.4 billion in the 2080s and remain at that level until 2100.

When did the world population reach 1 billion?

Although the world has reached a staggering milestone it has got there pretty quickly. The “Day of Seven Billion” – or the day the world reached seven billion with regards to human population – was recorded as 2011, the BBC reports.

That’s right, in only 11 years the population has grown by a billion – and it’s been doing it for a while. In little more than 200 years the human population has sprung from one billion to today’s number.

It took humans until the 19th century to reach its first billion figure, according to Marian Starkey, vice-president for communications at US grassroots population organization Population Connection.

The expert claims the world’s population surpassed the one billion mark around the year 1804.

Vinice named the eight billionth baby born

Although we’ll never know who the first milestone baby was, many milestones have been marked with a baby chosen to represent it.

Manila Bulletin reports a baby girl called Vinice was born in the the Philippines in Tondo, Manila, and is considered the “symbolic eight billionth baby.”

Vinice Mabansag was delivered at the Dr Jose Fabella Memorial Hospital on Tuesday, November 15, 2022. Dr Romeo Bituin, chief medical professional at the hospital, said the baby was delivered at 1.29am.

Who were the fifth, sixth and seventh billion children and where are they now?

The first ‘milestone baby’ was the fifth billion human to be born. The BBC reports this was Matej Gaspar, who British UN official Alex Marshall decided would be a symbolic “face to the numbers” in 1987.

35 years after his birth, Matej lives a quiet life out of the spotlight, working as an engineer.

Photo credit should read TED ALJIBE/AFP via Getty Images

The symbolic six billionth baby was born just 12 years later, two minutes after midnight on October 12, 1999. Adnan Nevic was born in Bosnia and currently lives with his mother, Fatime, near Sarajevo.

The seven billionth symbolic baby is still young – 11-year-old Sadia Sultana Oishee was born in 2011 and lives near Dhaka in Bangladesh.

Her mom had no idea her baby was going to be so significant to history the day she was sent to the labor ward for an emergency Caesarean.

When could the world population reach nine billion?

Although the time in which it took to get from one billion to eight billion has shortened with each milestone, it seems it could take the world another 15 years before the human population reaches nine billion.

The UN predicts it will be around 2037 when the world reaches its next milestone and the next baby is named.

Patrick Gerland, head of the United Nations Population Division, estimates the population will “level off some time in the relatively near future.”

This could be down to declining birth rates, as Darrell Bricker, chief executive at Ipsos Public Affairs and a fellow at the University of Toronto’s Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy, said he thinks the world population will be between “eight and nine billion” by the end of the century.

“The reason it’s not going to increase more than that is because China is recording its lowest birth rate in history,” he told CBC.

“India has just dropped below replacement rate for its birth rate. That’s 36 per cent of the entire global population that are now not replacing or not at replacement-level birth rates.”

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Rachael is the Senior Content Editor at Freshered. She is NCTJ qualified with an MA in journalism. Rachael has almost ten years experience as a journalist in regional, national and international press and is passionate about creating engaging content.