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Room for more? Squeeze in, the world population is about to hit 7 billion

Rajanish Kakade / AP

A newborn baby boy is weighed on a scale at a government hospital in Mumbai, India on Oct. 5. Already the second most populous country with 1.2 billion people, India is expected to overtake China around 2030 when its population soars to an estimated 1.6 billion.

The world is about to get a little more crowded.

By the end of October, it is expected that there will be 7 billion people living on the planet, according to the U.N. Population Fund. We are hitting this milestone, even though Western Europe, Japan and Russia are currently facing population declines as a result of low birthrates and aging populations. The declines cause serious concerns about who will care for and support the elderly, with a smaller number of people in the work force contributing to taxes and welfare.

While India and China have the largest populations, it is sub-Saharan Africa that has the highest birthrates. Quickly growing countries like Nigeria, Uganda and Burundi are already struggling with the area’s limited food and water resources, combined with high poverty levels.

For more information see: 7 population milestones for 7 billion people

Ng Han Guan / AP

Children play at a square in Beijing on Feb. 3, 2010. For now, China remains the most populous nation, with 1.34 billion people. In the past decade it added 73.9 million, more than the population of France or Thailand. Nonetheless, its growth has slowed dramatically and the population is projected to start shrinking in 2027. By 2050, according to some demographers, it will be smaller than it is in 2011.

Alvaro Barrientos / AP

Two elderly men sit on benches in the small town of La Puebla de Arganzon, northern Spain on Oct. 9. Spain used to give parents 2,500 euros ($3,300) for every newborn child to encourage families to reverse the country's low birth rate. But the checks stopped coming with Spain's austerity measures, raising the question of who will pay the bills to support the elderly in the years ahead.

Rafiq Maqbool / AP

Commuters hang on the outside of a local train in Mumbai, India on Oct. 10. Already the second most populous country with 1.2 billion people, India is expected to overtake China around 2030 when its population soars to an estimated 1.6 billion.

Luca Bruno / AP

A man uses a cane as he walks among other people through an open air market in Milan, Italy on Oct. 12. In 2010, more Italians died than were born for the fourth consecutive year according to the national statistics agency. Italy's population nonetheless grew slightly to 60.6 million due to immigration, a highly charged issue across Europe. Italy's youth minister Giorgia Meloni said earlier this year that measures to reverse the birth rate require "millions in investment" but that the resources aren't available.

Andy Wong / AP

Tourists visit Tiananmen Gate on China's National Day in Beijing on Oct. 1. For now, China remains the most populous nation, with 1.34 billion people. In the past decade it added 73.9 million, more than the population of France or Thailand. Nonetheless, its growth has slowed dramatically and the population is projected to start shrinking in 2027. By 2050, according to some demographers, it will be smaller than it is in 2011.

Godfrey Olukya / AP

Ahmed Kasadha, center foreground, on the porch of his house in Iganga, Uganda, with one of his wives and six of his 14 children on Oct. 1. A polygamist, Kasadha says large families are a sign of success and God's blessing. His father had 25 children, and he wants his own family to get bigger. Uganda, and other countries in sub-Saharan Africa, have some of the world's highest birthrates - a point of concern as the world's population hits the 7 billion mark on Oct. 31, 2011 according to the U.N. Population Fund.

Rajanish Kakade / AP

The Dharavi slum in Mumbai, India at twilight on Oct. 9. Already the second most populous country with 1.2 billion people, India is expected to overtake China around 2030 when its population soars to an estimated 1.6 billion.