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Global population reaches 8 billion — page 1 
The U.N. says this population milestone isn’t cause for alarm.
A new study from the United Nations, or U.N., says there are now over 8 billion people on our planet. The U.N. study found that Earth’s population topped 8 billion on November 15th. The countries with the largest populations are China, India, the U.S., and Indonesia. Scientists say the number of people on Earth continues to rise because people are living longer. People around the world are living longer because of better nutrition, public health, and medical advances. Today, the global life expectancy is around 72 years.

The U.N. says that this population milestone isn’t cause for alarm. In response to the study, Natalia Kanem, the director of the U.N. Population Fund, said, quote, “Some express concerns that our world is overpopulated with far too many people and insufficient resources to sustain their lives. I am here to say clearly, that the sheer number of human lives is not a cause for fear."

Experts say more people on Earth means more people using natural resources. But the number of people on Earth isn’t the problem. The real issue is the overuse of natural resources by people in wealthy countries like the U.S. One population researcher named Jennifer Sciubba said, quote, “Our impact on the planet is driven far more by our behavior than our numbers.”

One study found that if everyone in the world lived like Americans do, we would need 5.1 Earths to meet the demand for natural resources. So, while the Earth’s population is expected to continue rising, humanity’s real challenge is finding ways to protect our planet’s natural resources from overuse.
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