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A society , or a human society , is a group of people related to each other through persistent relations, or a large social grouping sharing the same geographical or virtual territory, subject to the same political authority and dominant cultural expectations. Human societies are characterized by patterns of relationships ( social relations ) between individuals who share a distinctive culture and institutions ; a given society may be described as the sum total of such relationships among its constituent members. In the social sciences , a larger society often evinces stratification and/or dominance patterns in subgroups. Insofar as it is collaborative , a society can enable its members to benefit in ways that would not otherwise be possible on an individual basis; both individual and social (common) benefits can thus be distinguished, or in many cases found to overlap.
Sociology is the scientific study of human society [ 1 ] and its origins, development, organizations, and institutions . [ 2 ] It is a social science which uses various methods of empirical investigation [ 3 ] and critical analysis [ 4 ] to develop a body of knowledge about human social activity, structures, and functions. A goal for many sociologists is to conduct research which may be applied directly to social policy and welfare, while others focus primarily on refining the theoretical understanding of social processes. Subject matter ranges from the micro level of individual agency and interaction to the macro level of systems and the social structure . [ 5 ]
The world population is the total number of living humans on Earth . As of today, it is estimated to number 7.075 billion by the United States Census Bureau (USCB). [ 1 ] The USCB estimates that the world population exceeded 7 billion on March 12, 2012. [ 2 ] According to a separate estimate by the United Nations Population Fund , it reached this milestone on October 31, 2011. [ 3 ] [ 4 ] [ 5 ] The world population has experienced continuous growth since the end of the Great Famine and the Black Death in 1350, when it stood at around 370 million. [ 6 ] The highest rates of growth – global population increases above 1.8% per year – were seen briefly during the 1950s, and for a longer period during the 1960s and 1970s. The growth rate peaked at 2.2% in 1963, and had declined to 1.1% by 2011.