World Population Day 2015: 8 Facts, Things To Know About The United Nations Holiday

By  Tim Marcin 
A woman and her six children pose inside their temporary shelter at a school turned into an evacuation center for flood victims in Meycauayan Bulacan north of Manila in the Philippines,Reuters 

World Population Day, a date set aside to recognize the issues surrounding the planet’s growing population, will be marked across the globe Saturday. The United Nations-backed day aims to raise awareness about the urgency surrounding population issues. In honor of World Population Day, below are eight facts and important things to know:

The day was started by the United Nations: In 1989, the Governing Council of the United Nations Development Programme suggested that July 11 be set aside as World Population Day, according to the United Nations Population Fundwebsite.

The world population is more than 7.32 billion: Here is a handy counter to keep track.

Every year has a theme: Each year’s World Population Day focuses on a particular problem. In 2015, the U.N.’s theme is to “raise awareness of the needs of vulnerable women and girls” in emergencies, especially concerning displaced people. The theme is officially titled “Vulnerable Populations in Emergencies,” according to a statement from Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin, executive director of United Nations Population Fund. The statement said the women in particular face particular health threats, including sexual exploitation and a greater risk of abuse, among displaced individuals.

There is a record number of forcibly displaced people: The figure was at nearly 60 million by the end of 2014, according got Osotimehin’s statement.

There are reasons for population growth and resulting implications: In the last 200 years the world population has increased sevenfold. Here’s how that happened and what the results are, according to the United Nations Population Fund site: “This dramatic growth has been driven largely by increasing numbers of people surviving to reproductive age, and has been accompanied by major changes in fertility rates, increasing urbanization and accelerating migration. These trends will have far-reaching implications for generations to come.”

You can keep track of the day on Twitter: The day has an official hashtag. Check out #WPD2015 to follow along.

The population is projected to keep growing: The world population is expected to be more than 9 billion by 2050.

One organization has a cheeky giveaway in honor of the day: The Center for Biological Diversity will be giving away 10,000 condoms for World Population Day. The idea is to show the impact the growing human population has on endangered species like monarch butterflies and polar bears. The giveaway will take place in 28 states where the endangered species are most prevalent.

“Human population growth and increased consumption are driving extinction rates 1,000 times higher than the normal background rate,” said Leigh Moyer, the Center’s population organizer in a statement. “These condoms are a great way to get the conversation started about a serious issue. When we have dedicated volunteers distribute condoms in their neighborhoods and explain that extinction isn’t just a problem somewhere else but a problem everywhere, including in our own backyards, individuals can make better decisions for their families and for all wildlife, including local species.”