Coming in 2011: The World's 7 Billionth Person And it's only been 11 years since the 6 billionth By Evann Gastaldo, Newser Staff Posted Dec 31, 2010 7:43 AM CST 18 comments Comments A girl takes a view of a crowded street from the shoulders of her father at Tokyo's famous Ameyoko market, jam-packed with year-end shoppers, Wednesday, Dec. 29, 2010. (AP Photo/Itsuo Inouye) (Newser) – Things to look forward to in 2011: all-natural Frito-Lay chips, a bunch of truly unnecessary movie sequels, and … the world’s 7 billionth living person. That lucky baby will arrive sometime next year, according to the UN Population Reference Bureau, writes Bryan Walsh for Time. The world’s 6 billionth living person was born just 11 years ago in Bosnia, and the population is expected to exceed 9 billion by the middle of the century. Can the planet really handle that? Robert Kunzig attempts to take on that question in a very lengthy National Geographic cover story (worth a read). Walsh picks out a few highlights: Kunzig calls out attention to the fact that it took nearly all of human history to get us to the 1 billion mark, but we're set to explode from 3 billion to 7 billion in about 50 years. By 2050, we'll be somewhere between 8 billion and 10.5 billion, according to the UN. Space isn't the issue. Kunzig notes that if 9 billion people were spread throughout Earth's habitable regions, the population density would be half of that in France. The potential problems: Not enough food, water, energy. And a lot of aging people. Writes Kunzig, "Fixating on population numbers is not the best way to confront the future. The number of people does matter, of course. But how people consume resources matters a lot more ... It’s too late to keep the new middle class of 2030 from being born; it’s not too late to change how they and the rest of us will produce and consume food and energy."