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Posted at 12:21 PM ET, 10/31/2011

World’s ‘seven billionth baby’ is born

The world's seven billionth baby was born just before midnight Sunday in a government-run hospital in the Philippines.

GALLERY: Click the image above to view photos of the making of seven billion.

Danica May Camacho, who weighed in at 5.5 pounds, was chosen by the United Nations to symbolically represent the global population milestone.

The IfItWereMyHome.com country comparison site suggests that having been born in the Philippines, the 12th most populated country, Danica will use more than 95 percent less energy and oil than an American baby, but make 92 percent less money and die more than six years sooner. The site suggests she will have some 85 percent more babies.

Of course, Danica may not actually be the world’s seventh billion person.

The United Nations, regarded as the “gold standard” of population projection, acknowledges a 1-2 percent margin of error in its calculations, meaning today’s population could be 56 million higher or lower than 7 billion.

The U.S. Population Reference Bureau, for example, says it thinks humans went past 7 billion weeks ago. The International Institute for Applied System Analysis doesn’t think the population will reach 7 billion until July next year at the earliest.

The Post’s Darryl Fears reports that “the words could and would dominate [U.N.] population reports.” Since the United Nations has no way of knowing when the milestone is reached, Oct. 31 is a symbolic date.

Whether we reached 7 billion today or not, the announcement has a lot of implications behind it. As the Post’s Juliet Eilperin reports, our population is putting immense pressure on our resources, particularly on the world water supply and fisheries.

We’re also getting older, which is causing economic upheaval and a near-crisis in countries like Japan, South Korea and Spain, who need more workers to provide goods and services to their older residents. As Joel Achenbach reports, the graying of society will “change cultures in myriad ways” we may not even understand yet.

India, too, is struggling with the world’s population boom, but as one of the main engines of world population growth, the country has different problems. The Post’s Simon Denyer reports that India’s “infrastructure and environment, its cities and villages, its health-care and education systems are failing to keep pace with ever-growing demands.”

But Kapil Sibal, India’s minister of human resource development, is keen to find out how to turn India’s demographic “disaster” into a “dividend.”

As the U.N. estimates we’ll reach 9 billion in 2050, countries around the world are asking themselves that same question.

See the Post’s full seven billion coverage here.

YOUR TAKE: What's 7 billion to you?

What does it mean to you to be one in 7 billion? Are you grateful for the cards you were dealt? Are you sensitive to the resources you consume? Can our Earth support a population like ours? Tell us by sending a tweet with the hashtage #1in7billion, we'll post some responses right here.

By  |  12:21 PM ET, 10/31/2011

Tags:  World, global population, United Nations

 
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