A newspaper article shared thousands of times in Nigeria claims that there are only 2.2 billion men in a world that has 5.6 billion women, quoting a “1st Quarter Demography Report 2019” by the United Nations. This is false; the UN Population Division confirmed the latest world population projection to AFP as 3.82 billion females and 3.89 billion males.
The report by Nigerian newspaper Daily Independent, which brands itself as “the most read newspaper among business and political elites”, claims that there are now 7.8 billion people in the world.
The article was shared more than 6,300 times, claims one billion people in the world are married, while 130 million are in prison and another 70 million are mentally ill.
A screenshot taken on June 14, 2019 showing the false report
Multiple Twitter accounts also shared the same article or content of the article. In Kenya, the claims were also used to publish a false article.
A screen grab of the false article that went viral in Kenya.
In April, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) released the 2019 State of the World Population Report, which reflects on “the current state of sexual and reproductive health” of the world. That report did not detail the population of the world by gender.
The last World Population report, published by the UN in 2017 revealed that there were 7,550,262,000 people in the world at the time. An estimated 50.4 percent of the world’s population was male and 49.6 percent female — highlighting the fact that there were more males than females.
Eddie Wright, communication specialist for youth and population at UNFPA, told AFP that “the most up-to-date” numbers for global population come from the UN Population Division, which is separate from UNFPA.
He added that based on projections by the UN Population Division, there are 7,714,577,000 people in the world as of 2019, with 3,822,561,000 females and 3,892,016,000 males. Wright said, “it is also worth noting that new projections are set to come out next Monday”. The report will be out on June 17.
A screenshot taken on June 13, 2019 showing UN world population projection by gender
According to UN data portal, the world has not at any time had 5.6 billion women. The population of males in the world hit 2.2 billion as early as 1980, when the world recorded a male population of 2.239 billion.