Take this test to see where you fit into the human story: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-15391515
The population increased by 407 while I added my date of birth, country, and selected female. There were only 2.50 billion people in the world when I was born (1942).
The UN estimates that if current population and consumption trends continue, by the 2030s we will need the equivalent of two Earths to support us. However, births are not expected to climb so alarmingly.
Most historians of modern population control trace its roots back to the Reverend Thomas Malthus, an English clergyman born in the 18th Century who believed that humans would always reproduce faster than Earth's capacity to feed them. He preached that giving succor to the resulting desperate masses would only imperil everyone else.
In 1966, President Lyndon Johnson warned that the US might be overwhelmed by desperate masses, and he made US foreign aid dependent on countries adopting family planning programs. Other wealthy countries such as Japan, Sweden and the UK also began to devote large amounts of money to reducing Third World birth rates.
Because of the suffering caused, the policy was relaxed to allow rural couples two children if their first was not a boy. Boy children are prized, especially in the countryside where they provide labor and care for parents in old age. But modern technology allows parents to discover the sex of the fetus, and many choose to abort if they are carrying a girl. In some regions, this causes a serious imbalance between the sexes.
The good news: Today's record-breaking global population hides a marked long-term trend towards lower birth rates, as urbanization, better health care, education and access to family planning all affect women's choices. Where they can, women will make decisions that benefit society.
And that's another story. In societies dominated by men, many women risk death by defying their husbands.