The world’s population recently reached a new high point. The United Nations estimates that the global head count passed 8 billion around November 15. 

Earth’s population first topped 1 billion in 1804. It took more than a century for that number to double. But over the past 100 years, the population has been skyrocketing. The leap from 7 billion to 8 billion took only 11 years. 

China is home to the most people of any nation—about 1.4 billion. But India is expected to pass China later this year. The U.S. ranks third, with about 330 million people.

Why is the population growing so fast? For one thing, people are living longer. This is largely because of better nutrition and improvements in medicine. The number of babies being born in many countries has also soared. In the time it takes to read this sentence, about 25 babies will have been born worldwide!

Many world leaders say the population passing 8 billion is an important moment. But a growing population comes with challenges. More people means a greater need for shelter, food, and clean water. Experts say that leaders will have to work together to better use Earth’s limited resources.