World population to hit 7 billion in 2012

The world’s population will reach 7 billion in 2012, even as the global community struggles to satisfy its appetite for natural resources, according to a new government projection.

There are 6.7 billion people in the world today. The United States ranks third, with 304 million, behind China and India, according to projections released Thursday by the Census Bureau.

The world’s population surpassed 6 billion in 1999, meaning it will take only 13 years to add a billion people.

By comparison, the number of people didn’t reach 1 billion until 1800, said Carl Haub, a demographer at the Population Reference Bureau. It didn’t reach 2 billion until 130 years later.

“You can easily see the effect of rapid population growth in developing countries,” Haub said.

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