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World Population Hits 7 Billion

Babies born Monday are being called the world's "7-billionth" babies to celebrate the historic population marker.

Monday marks the day the world's population officially reached 7 billion people. 

Newborn babies around the world are being greeted by photographers' flash bulbs and symbolic festivities.

Danica May Camacho (Associated Press)
Danica May Camacho (Associated Press)
 
Because demographers are incapable of marking when exactly the 7-billionth baby was born, the U.N. is choosing specific babies born on Monday, Oct. 31 to be "the 7-billionth" baby. 

The first of these symbolic babies was Danica May Camacho, who was born at the Manila Jose Fabella Memorial Hospital in the Philippines.  Baby Danica arrived two minutes before Monday, but doctors decided it was close enough to count. 

Many are concerned that the planet is on its way to being overcrowded. 

"If we could slow our growth rate, we have an easier job in dealing with all the other things like education, health, employment, housing, food, the environment and so on," said Joel Cohen, a demographer at Rockefeller University, in an interview with CBS News. 

But in actuality, the international birth rate has been decreasing for years, and is at the lowest its been for a century.

In 1970, the international birth rate was 4.5.  In 2010, it fell to below 2.7.

While some countries like India are seeing growing populations, many countries are reporting an average birth rate below 2. 

"We now have 75 countries in the world where the fertility rate is below two," Dudley Poston, a professor of sociology and demographics at Texas A&M University, told Reuters. "Once your fertility rate drops below two, it is very very hard to get it to go back up again."

Although it is more common to hear concern voiced about a global shortage of resources for a growing population, the greater threat could be the slowing birth rate. 

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