World Population Day was started after 1987 when the 11th of July was the Day of 5 Billion – the number of people in the world at that time. It is meant to remind us about who is in the world and how we are connected to each other.
This year, the theme of World Population Day is ‘Be counted – Say what you need’. The idea is that by taking part in your local or national census, you will give the governments and the UN a better idea of who you are and what your needs are. Knowing what kind of people are in the world and what they need is really important for development – helping poorer communities to rise out of poverty and have safer, healthier lives.
Be counted, say what you need is a very simple and universal message though. As well as being about numbers, it could be about us as individuals. What do you need? Who can give it to you? What do you really want?
Maybe you are under too much pressure at work. Maybe your partner or family don’t understand you and don’t give you support. Maybe someone is taking you for granted. Maybe you are not listening to yourself?
This population day, think about what it means to say what you need. It’s scary! To tell someone, ‘I need you to give me a hug’, ‘I’m not really tired, just sad’ or, ‘I need more help with this work’, or ‘I need to be heard’ – it’s not easy! And maybe the most difficult of all is acknowledging to ourselves what it is we need.
What do you need? Be counted – say it.