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In the last 100 years, there have been massive shifts in population, and as we head into the twenty-first century, the worldÕs population continues to grow and change in ways that will dramatically affect all forms of life on this planet.

Today there are an unprecedented number of elderly people in the world: 56.7 million ages 80Ð89, 6.4 million ages 90Ð100, and 115,000 over 100Ña number expected to multiply six times by 2050.

Life expectancy in the developing world has increased from 40 years to 61 since 1950. But HIV/AIDS is lowering this number in some countries. The average life span in Zimbabwe, for example, was expected to reach 68 by 2010, but that is now unlikely since it is currently only about 40.

There are 1.5 billion women of childbearing age in the world.

A record 33.4 million people worldwide are infected with HIV/AIDS, and there are 16,000 new cases every day.

Every year more than 300 million STD cases are diagnosed worldwide, affecting 1 in 20 adolescents. Of 3.6 billion adults worldwide, 960 million are illiterate, two thirds of whom are women.

Cuts in U.S. international aid made in 1996 are estimated to have resulted in an additional 6,500 deaths of women during childbirth, 115,000 infant deaths, 1.4 million abortions, and 3.4 million unplanned pregnancies in the same year.

One in seven people, or about 840 million, currently do not have enough to eat.

There are now 1.3 billion people living on the equivalent of one U.S. dollar or less per day.

About 1 million immigrants arrive in the U.S. each year: 52% are from Latin America, 30% are from Asia, and 13% are from Europe.

An estimated 150 million women in developing countries have unmet contraceptive needs.

The risk of death from pregnancy-related causes is 1 in 16 in Africa, 1 in 65 in Asia, 1 in 130 in Latin America, 1 in 1,400 in Europe, and 1 in 3,700 in North America.

In 1960, the worldwide fertility rate was five children per couple. In 1990, the number dropped to three. The U.S. has the highest fertility rate of all industrialized nations. The U.S. has the highest teen pregnancy and infant death rates of any industrialized nation. Developed nations create as much as five times the municipal waste of developing nations.

Compiled by Ophira Edut


Copyright Ms. Magazine 2009