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Over Six Billion Counted

World Population Reaches New Milestone

by Borgna Brunner

This article was posted on October 21, 1999.

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On October 12, 1999, the United Nations Population Fund estimated the world's population reached six billion, celebrating the occasion as the "Day of 6 Billion." At two minutes past midnight, a male baby born in Bosnia was symbolically designated the world's six billionth person by U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan.

Differing estimates of the actual population turning point exist, most notably the records of the U.S. Census Bureau.

According to the Census Bureau, the world population reached the 6 billion mark on July 19, 1999, at about 12:24:02 am GMT (July 18 at 8:24:02 pm EST). Every minute there are an estimated 250 births and 103 deaths in the world, which equals an increase of 147 people every sixty seconds.

The Bureau's U.S. Census population clock is not meant to be an exact accounting of every birth and death throughout the world, but simply an estimate.

World Population Milestones

World Population reached:

  • 1 billion in 1804
  • 2 billion in 1927 (123 years later)
  • 3 billion in 1960 ( 33 years later)
  • 4 billion in 1974 ( 14 years later)
  • 5 billion in 1987 ( 13 years later)
  • 6 billion in 1999 ( 12 years later)

World Population may reach:

  • 7 billion in 2013 ( 14 years later)
  • 8 billion in 2028 ( 15 years later)
  • 9 billion in 2054 ( 26 years later)

Source: U.N. Population Division,
World Population Prospects: 1998 Revision, forthcoming.


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