The largest countries and the global population
The total world population amounts to more than 7 billion people, with China reporting the highest number of inhabitants – its total population surpassed the 1.3 billion mark a few years ago and continues to rise.
Due to improved living conditions and better health care, the global population continues to increase; mortality rates are decreasing and the median age of the world population has been increasing for the past few years, because people lead healthier lives with access to healthcare and clean water. As for the average life expectancy in industrial and developing countries, the gap is also quite narrow nowadays.
Asia is the most populous continent on Earth; several of the largest countries are located there. It leads the ranking of the global population by continent by far, reporting four times as many inhabitants as Africa. Interestingly, the Americas are behind both Africa and Europe on this ranking, with Oceania reporting the lowest numbers of inhabitants.
There have been a number of methods suggested with the aim of preventing overpopulation on a global scale ranging from realizable solutions to fantastic theories. One far-fetched solution stretches even to setting up colonies on other planets. It may be some time before this ‘solution’ migrates from the realms of science fiction into science fact, but it highlights the seriousness of the dilemma with which national governments are faced: Population growth is a serious problem, and it can have severe consequences for a country. A fast-growing population rate can cause environmental problems, overpopulation and, subsequently, deteriorating living conditions. Extraterrestrial colonization aside, some countries have already initiated more realistic solutions to counteract overpopulation. Again, China is a prominent example: The Chinese government proclaimed its so-called “one-child policy” as a form of population control, making it illegal for a Chinese family to have more than one child. However successful it might be claimed to have been, this policy is a controversial solution and continues to have a lot of negative effects for the Chinese population.