Then we met eight billion people on our globe. In the past, the United Nations (UN) symbolically designated a newborn baby who was then officially the five, six and seven billionth inhabitant of the earth. The BBC contacted those babies again.
Damian was the first baby in the world to die today in the Dominican Republic and immediately received a symbolic onesie with a reference to the eight billionth person on earth. It is about the contribution of the Dominican Republic, because there is no longer an official face designated as the 8 billionth baby.
But the counter stands at eight billion, never before have we been on our planet as much as possible. Halfway through the last half century, the world’s population rapidly gained weight, while that process has since broken down. Eleven years ago we told the seven billionth human, while the nine billionth is expected to be born in fifteen years and the ten billionth in 2058. The UN expected a peak of 10.4 billion Earth inhabitants in 2080, which would stagnate until the end of the century. And after that, the world’s population would even decrease.
Not so long ago, the 5 billionth human being arrived on our planet. That was on July 11, 1987. The baby who got the honor was Matej Gaspar from Zagreb, the capital of Croatia, which was then part of Yugoslavia. Matej Gaspar is 35 today and tries to leave as far as possible on earth the busy moment when the press and politicians meet him in a small maternity on the outskirts of Zagreb. “According to his Facebook page, he lives in Zagreb, is happily married and works as a technical engineer. But he double interviews and double speaking with the BBC,” writes the British public broadcaster.
In 1987, UN official Alex Marshall proposed the idea of symbolically giving the 5 billionth person on earth a face to the UN demographers. They were in all states. “They have ignorant people out that we don’t listen to what we do,” said Marshall. “And that we really don’t choose one individual president out of so many.” But that happened anyway.
Three billion people have been added since Matej was born, while the world’s population would only grow by two billion over the first 35 years, before reaching a plateau in the 2080s. The milestone of that first billion extra was reached on October 12. Rounded in 1999 in Bosnia and Herzegovina, twelve years after Matej Gaspar, Adnan Mevic saw the light of day there. Two days after his birth, former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan was on hand to baptize Adnan as the world’s six billionth baby. “I was so tired, I don’t know how I felt,” says Mama Fatima with a laugh.
“While other children had birthday parties, I only received visits from politicians,” the now 23-year-old man from Bosnia and Herzegovina recalls a photo in which he stands between men in suits and soldiers in front of a large cake as a birthday boy. On the bonus side, as an eleven-year-old, he got another good chance to meet Cristiano Ronaldo – then still at Real Madrid.
Adnan is amazed that an additional 2 billion people have been added since his birth. “That’s really a lot. I don’t know how our beautiful planet will turn red. “Due to a low birth rate and high emigration, his own country, Bosnia and Herzegovina, is showing a rapidly declining population trend. “There will be no one left to pay the pensioners of the pensioners,” Adnan told the BBC. “All the youngsters will be gone.” He himself has a master’s degree in economics and is looking for a job. If that fails, Adnan, who now lives near Sarajevo with his mother, wants to move to a European Union compound.
The 7 billionth baby on our planet was born on October 31, 2011. The symbolic face was that of Sadia Sultana Oishee. At the end of October 2011, Oishee’s mother had no idea what to expect. The delivery was not scheduled for October 31, but after a doctor’s visit she was taken to the maternity ward for an emergency caesarean section. A minute after midnight, Oishee was born, as TV crews and local officials soon crowded around the delivery bed. In 2011, 7 billionth babies were born in various places, of which Oishee was one.
At eleven years old, Oishee is the youngest of three daughters. Her family even lives outside Dhaka in Bangladesh, because the family has to move from the city to a village where life is cheaper. They sold fabrics and sarees and the family business was hit hard by the pandemic.
Oishee’s father is proud of his daughters. He has long forgotten that he had actually started dating a boy in 2011. The eldest daughter is doing well at university and Oishee is also determined: she wants to become a doctor. “We are not that well off and Covid has made it difficult,” he says. “But I will do everything to make her dream come true.”
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