World Population To Reach 7 Billion in 2011

A new study published in Science points towards "an unprecedented global demographic upheaval." Does that phrase sound ominous to you? Ding ding! It is. According to the research, undertaken by the Harvard School of Public Health, the world population will pass the 7 billion mark by the end of this year. By the year 2050, it will increase by 2.3 billion — nearly all of them in underdeveloped regions.

Let's put that number is perspective. It took until 1800 for the global population to reach 1 billion. But the last 50 years saw it jump from 3 to 7 billion. There are various factors at play here, but short of, say, a global pandemic caused by Gwyneth Paltrow or some Malthusian catastrophe in which all fast food outlets were to suddenly collapse under the weight of their customers' own fat asses, the forecast for 2100 is as high as 16 billion. That is too many people, people! [Physorg.com via Reddit, image via Shutterstock]