Photo by Dibyangshu Sarkar/AFP/Getty Images.
Countries worldwide are rushing to claim the symbolic honor of being home to the world’s 7 billionth baby, which according to the U.N. was expected to be born Monday.
It is impossible for demographers to pinpoint exactly when and where the threshold-breaking baby was born, but the U.N. has selected a handful to mark the occasion, one of which was actually born Sunday, the Guardian reports.
The baby, Danica May Camacho, was born just before midnight Sunday, which for officials apparently was close enough to mark what is a less-than-exact estimation of the world's current population. The baby was greeted with an array of gifts, including a cake adorned with the phrase "7B Philippines" and a gift certificate for shoes, according to the Associated Press.
Celebrations are expected throughout the day, particularly in Asia. But officials in the world’s most populous region, currently home to 4.2 billion people, are also taking the opportunity to remind residents about the potential pitfalls of booming populations.
"Seven billion is a number we should think about deeply," Dr. Eric Tayag of the Philippines' Department of Health told CBS News. "We should really focus on the question of whether there will be food, clean water, shelter, education and a decent life for every child."
The collective youth of the world’s population, with 1.8 billion people worldwide between the ages of 10-24, could also be cause for concern. "We should be investing in the health and education of our youth," said Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin, executive director of the UN Population Fund. "This would yield enormous returns in economic growth and development for generations to come."
China and India are currently the world’s most populous countries, with about 1.34 billion and 1.2 billion inhabitants, respectively, though India could soon surpass China. The UN predicts that the global population will reach 9 billion by 2050 and 10.1 billion by the end of the century, assuming that fertility rates progress as expected.
Demographers are also predicting that much of the population growth will occur in developing countries. Birth rates have stalled in several European countries and Japan in recent years, but populations in low-income countries in Asia and Africa have increased significantly.