Middle East

UN: World population grows, young girls struggle

  • Students from the Princess Alia School for Girls sing a song about gender equality at a press conference for the release of the 2016 State of the World Population report by the United Nations Population Fund on Thursday, Dec. 1, 2016 in Amman, Jordan. (Sam McNeil/AP Photo)

    Students from the Princess Alia School for Girls sing a song about gender equality at a press conference for the release of the 2016 State of the World Population report by the United Nations Population Fund on Thursday, Dec. 1, 2016 in Amman, Jordan. (Sam McNeil/AP Photo)  (The Associated Press)

  • Students from the Al Ahliya School for Girls sing a song about gender equality at a press conference for the release of the 2016 State of the World Population report by the United Nations Population Fund on Thursday, Dec. 1, 2016 in Amman, Jordan. (Sam McNeil/AP Photo)

    Students from the Al Ahliya School for Girls sing a song about gender equality at a press conference for the release of the 2016 State of the World Population report by the United Nations Population Fund on Thursday, Dec. 1, 2016 in Amman, Jordan. (Sam McNeil/AP Photo)  (The Associated Press)

  • Elementary school students wait to perform at a press conference for the release of the 2016 State of the World Population report by the United Nations Population Fund on Thursday, Dec. 1, 2016 in Amman, Jordan. (Sam McNeil/AP Photo)

    Elementary school students wait to perform at a press conference for the release of the 2016 State of the World Population report by the United Nations Population Fund on Thursday, Dec. 1, 2016 in Amman, Jordan. (Sam McNeil/AP Photo)  (The Associated Press)

The United Nations population agency says the world's population grew to 7.4 billion in 2016, with a substantial youth bulge challenging political and social systems across the planet.

The United Nations Population Fund released its 2016 State of the World Population report Thursday in Amman, Jordan. The report highlights the potential fallout — and gains — to be had by overcoming the world's clear gender inequality in the half of the world's population under the age of 24.

The report focuses on the well-being of 10-year-old girls as indicators of development success or failure. It says 89 percent of the world's 125 million 10-year-olds live in developing countries where girls face obstacles to equal education, healthcare and safety.