Speed Reading — World Population - Level 4 — 200 wpm

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The world has reached a somewhat worrying demographic milestone. The U.S. Census Bureau said on Thursday that the population of our planet has surpassed 8 billion. A spokesperson said the bureau estimated that the global population exceeded 8 billion on the 26th of September. However, he said this was a very rough guess and the precise day could be a month or two either side of this date. The Bureau declared that the world population would continue to grow at a steady rate. It has grown from 6 billion to 8 billion in the past two decades. The number of Earth's inhabitants had doubled between 1960 and 2000. The rate of growth is slowing as birth rates are falling in many nations.

The Census Bureau attributed the slowdown in population growth to trends of longer lifespans and lower fertility rates. However, it forecast that the population would reach 10.2 billion in 2060. It said: "The world population is projected to keep growing despite declining fertility rates. In fact, we estimate the number of infants already peaked in 2017. Instead, population growth in the future will come from larger groups of people at adult ages." It added: "Population growth is the result of fertility, mortality, migration and the share of the population at certain ages.…Nearly three quarters (74 per cent) of the earth's population reside in countries where fertility is around or below the replacement level."

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