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United Nations does not publish any report named ‘First Quarter Demography’

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A post is being widely shared on social media claiming that the numbers in the post are quoted from a United Nations (UN) report. The post even claims this to be the UN’s first quarter demography report of 2019 and according to this report, the world’s population stands at 7.8 billion people with 5.6 billion women and 2.2 billion men. Let us fact-check the claim made in the post.

The archived version of the post can be seen here.

Claim: World’s population stands at 7.8 billion people with 5.6 billion women and 2.2 billion men – United Nations first quarter demography report 2019.

Fact: There is no such report published by the United Nations. The United Nations is involved in population issues through UN Population Fund (UNFPA) and UN Population Division. The UNFPA releases ‘State of World Population’ report every year. The UN Population Division releases World Population Prospects every few years. According to the World Population Prospects 2019, the total population in 2019 is 7.713 billion with 3.824 billion female and 3.889 billion male population; not 5.6 billion female and 2.2 billion male as claimed in the post. Hence, the claim made in the post is FALSE.

When we searched for United Nation’s first quarter demography report on the internet, we found that the United Nations does not release any such report. According to the United Nations website, its role in populations issues is through two entities. One is the UN Population Division of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN DESA), and the other is UN Population Fund (UNFPA). “The Population Division prepares the official United Nations demographic estimates and projections for all countries and areas of the world.” The UN Population Fund gives “more emphasis to the gender and human rights dimensions of population issues,”. Both do not release anything called the first-quarter demography report.

The UN Population Division of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs releases World Population Prospects report every few years. Demographic research is done here in the division, and total population by sex is also projected. According to the World Population Prospects 2019, the total world population in 2019 is 7.713 billion with 3.824 billion female and 3.889 billion male; not 5.6 billion female and 2.2 billion male as claimed in the post. In 2021, the projected figures are – 7.874 billion population, with 3.904 billion female and 3.970 billion males.

The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) releases ‘State of World Population’ report every year. However, their focus is more on gender and human rights dimensions of population issues and less on demographic estimates (The 2021 report is titled My Body Is My Own). Though there are figures of the total world population in the World Population Dashboard of UNFPA, there is no mention of population division based on sex.

From the world bank graph, it can be seen that the percentage of the female population out of the total population is 49.585 in 2020.

According to the AFP Fact-check article, Fredrick Okwayo, United Nations Population Fund Technical Adviser told AFP that there was no report identified as First Quarter Demography. He also told AFP that the UN does not release demographic data on a quarterly basis.

To sum it up, United Nations does not publish any report named ‘First Quarter Demography’.

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