This Week in Geographic History: World Population Day

We’re slowing down for the summer! Instead of our usual roundup of “This Day in Geographic History” (TDIGH) events, here’s a closer look at one historic event that connects to something in the news today. We’ve also matched it with a map or visual, background information, and additional resources. Find all the resources here, as well as more, in this post’s unique Pinterest board!

Find all the resources here, as well as more relevant links, in this post’s unique Pinterest board!

Tuesday, July 11

Commuters travel through the city of Lagos, Nigeria. Nigeria is forecast to be the third most populous country by 2050. Photograph by Robin Hammond, National Geographic.

TDIGH: World Population Day

The UN established this day in 1989 to raise awareness about environmental and social issues related to population growth.

Current Event: World population expected to reach 9.8 billion in 2050

The UN recently raised its world population forecast to 9.8 billion people in 2050 (up from their previous estimate of 9.7 billion), noting that more than half of the growth between now and 2050 will take place in Africa.


Population density


NG Education resources on population

More about World Population Day

Mapping countries by population

Video: How will we feed 9 billion people?

NPR article with population growth graphs

Discussion Questions:  

  1. Why do you think life expectancy has increased over the past decade?  (Answers here.)
  2. What are some ways that governments can support family planning? (Use this resource to help guide the discussion.)

One thought on “This Week in Geographic History: World Population Day

  1. The world that you and I live in is increasingly challenged. Population growth, pollution, over-consumption, unsustainable patterns, social conflict, climate change, loss of nature… these are not good stories.

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