World population

High, medium, and low projections of the future human world population[1]

In demographics, the term world population is often used to refer to the total number of humans currently living, and was estimated to have exceeded 7.9 billion as of November 2021.[2] It took over two million years of human prehistory and history for the human population to reach one billion[3] and only 200 years more to grow to 7 billion.[4]

The human population has experienced continuous growth following the Great Famine of 1315–1317 and the end of the Black Death in 1350, when it was near 370,000,000.[5] The highest global population growth rates, with increases of over 1.8% per year, occurred between 1955 and 1975 – peaking at 2.1% between 1965 and 1970.[6] The growth rate declined to 1.2% between 2010 and 2015 and is projected to decline further in the course of the 21st century.[6] The global population is still increasing, but there is significant uncertainty about its long-term trajectory due to changing rates of fertility and mortality.[7] The UN Department of Economics and Social Affairs projects between 9 and 10 billion people by 2050, and gives an 80% confidence interval of 10–12 billion by the end of the 21st century.[8] Other demographers predict that the human population will begin to decline in the second half of the 21st century.[9]

World population estimate and projection from 10,000 BCE to 2100, by OurWorldInData, from various sources
World population estimate and projection from 10,000 BCE to 2100, by OurWorldInData, from various sources - The population grows from 2.43 million to 10.9 billion people.[10]

Since 1950, the average annual rate of world population growth peaked at 2.05% in the five years from 1965 to 1970, subsequently dropping to 1.09% in the five years 2015 to 2020.

Total annual births were highest in the late 1980s at about 139 million,[11] and as of 2012 were estimated to remain between 132 and 135 million through to 2040,[12] while total deaths were predicted at 61.2 million in 2021 with an increase to 79.6 million in 2040.[13] The median age of human beings as of 2020 is 31 years.[14]

Population by region

World population(millions, UN estimates)[15]
#Most populous countries200020152030[A]
1China China[B]1,2701,3761,416
2India India1,0531,3111,528
3United States United States283322356
4Indonesia Indonesia212258295
5Pakistan Pakistan136208245
6Brazil Brazil176206228
7Nigeria Nigeria123182263
8Bangladesh Bangladesh131161186
9Russia Russia146146149
10Mexico Mexico103127148
World total6,1277,3498,501
Notes:
  1. ^ 2030 = Medium variant.
  2. ^ China excludes Hong Kong and Macau.

Six of the Earth's seven continents are permanently inhabited on a large scale. Asia is the most populous continent, with its 4.64 billion inhabitants accounting for 60% of the world population. The world's two most populated countries, China and India, together constitute about 36% of the world's population. Africa is the second most populated continent, with around 1.34 billion people, or 17% of the world's population. Europe's 747 million people make up 10% of the world's population as of 2020, while the Latin American and Caribbean regions are home to around 653 million (8%). Northern America, primarily consisting of the United States and Canada, has a population of around 368 million (5%), and Oceania, the least populated region, has about 42 million inhabitants (0.5%).[16] Antarctica only has a very small, fluctuating population of about 1200 people based mainly in polar science stations.[17]

Population by region (2020 estimates)
RegionDensity
(inhabitants/km2)
Population
(millions)
Most populous countryMost populous city (metropolitan area)
Asia104.14,6411,411,778,000[note 1] China37,400,000/13,515,000 – Japan Greater Tokyo Area/Tokyo Metropolis
Africa44.41,3400211,401,000 –  Nigeria20,076,000/9,500,000 – Egypt Greater Cairo/Cairo
Europe73.47470146,171,000 –  Russia;
approx. 110 million in Europe
20,004,000/13,200,000 – Russia Moscow metropolitan area/Moscow
Latin America24.16530214,103,000 –  Brazil21,650,000/12,252,000 – Brazil São Paulo Metro Area/São Paulo City
Northern America[note 2]14.93680332,909,000 –  United States18,819,000/8,804,000 – United States New York metropolitan area/New York City
Oceania5420025,917,000 –  Australia5,367,000 – Australia Sydney
Antarctica~00.004[17]N/A[note 3]1,258 – McMurdo Station

History

Visual comparison of the world population in past and present

Estimates of world population by their nature are an aspect of modernity, possible only since the Age of Discovery. Early estimates for the population of the world[18] date to the 17th century: William Petty in 1682 estimated world population at 320 million (modern estimates ranging close to twice this number); by the late 18th century, estimates ranged close to one billion (consistent with modern estimates).[19] More refined estimates, broken down by continents, were published in the first half of the 19th century, at 600 million to 1 billion in the early 1800s and at 800 million to 1 billion in the 1840s.[20]

It is difficult for estimates to be better than rough approximations, as even modern population estimates are fraught with uncertainties on the order of 3% to 5%.[21]

Ancient and post-classical history

Estimates of the population of the world at the time agriculture emerged in around 10,000 BC have ranged between 1 million and 15 million.[22][23] Even earlier, genetic evidence suggests humans may have gone through a population bottleneck of between 1,000 and 10,000 people about 70,000 BC, according to the Toba catastrophe theory. By contrast, it is estimated that around 50–60 million people lived in the combined eastern and western Roman Empire in the 4th century AD.[24]

The Plague of Justinian, which first emerged during the reign of the Roman emperor Justinian, caused Europe's population to drop by around 50% between the 6th and 8th centuries AD.[25] The population of Europe was more than 70 million in 1340.[26] From 1340 to 1400, the world's population fell from an estimated 443 million to 350-375 million,[27] with the Indian subcontinent suffering the greatest loss and Europe suffering the Black Death pandemic;[28] it took 200 years for European population figures to recover.[29] The population of China decreased from 123 million in 1200 to 65 million in 1393,[30] presumably from a combination of Mongol invasions, famine, and plague.[31]

Starting in AD 2, the Han Dynasty of ancient China kept consistent family registers in order to properly assess the poll taxes and labor service duties of each household.[32] In that year, the population of Western Han was recorded as 57,671,400 individuals in 12,366,470 households, decreasing to 47,566,772 individuals in 9,348,227 households by AD 146, towards the End of the Han Dynasty.[32] From 200 to 400, the world population fell from an estimated 257 million to 206 million, with China suffering the greatest loss.[28] At the founding of the Ming Dynasty in 1368, China's population was reported to be close to 60 million; toward the end of the dynasty in 1644, it may have approached 150 million.[33] England's population reached an estimated 5.6 million in 1650, up from an estimated 2.6 million in 1500.[34] New crops that were brought to Asia and Europe from the Americas by Portuguese and Spanish colonists in the 16th century are believed to have contributed to population growth.[35][36][37] Since their introduction to Africa by Portuguese traders in the 16th century,[38] maize and cassava have similarly replaced traditional African crops as the most important staple food crops grown on the continent.[39]

The pre-Columbian population of the Americas is uncertain; historian David Henige called it "the most unanswerable question in the world."[40] By the end of the 20th century, scholarly consensus favored an estimate of roughly 55 million people, but numbers from various sources have ranged from 10 million to 100 million.[41] Encounters between European explorers and populations in the rest of the world often introduced local epidemics of extraordinary virulence.[42] According to the most extreme scholarly claims, as many as 90% of the Native American population of the New World died of Old World diseases such as smallpox, measles, and influenza.[43] Over the centuries, the Europeans had developed high degrees of immunity to these diseases, while the indigenous peoples had no such immunity.[44]

Modern history

Map showing urban areas with at least one million inhabitants in 2006. Only 3% of the world's population lived in urban areas in 1800; this proportion had risen to 47% by 2000, and reached 50.5% by 2010.[45] By 2050, the proportion may reach 70%.[46]

During the European Agricultural and Industrial Revolutions, the life expectancy of children increased dramatically.[47] The percentage of the children born in London who died before the age of five decreased from 74.5% in 1730–1749 to 31.8% in 1810–1829.[48][49] Between 1700 and 1900, Europe's population increased from about 100 million to over 400 million.[50] Altogether, the areas populated by people of European descent comprised 36% of the world's population in 1900.[51]

Population growth in the West became more rapid after the introduction of vaccination and other improvements in medicine and sanitation.[52] Improved material conditions led to the population of Britain increasing from 10 million to 40 million in the 19th century.[53] The population of the United Kingdom reached 60 million in 2006.[54] The United States saw its population grow from around 5.3 million in 1800 to 106 million in 1920, exceeding 307 million in 2010.[55]

The first half of the 20th century in Imperial Russia and the Soviet Union was marked by a succession of major wars, famines and other disasters which caused large-scale population losses (approximately 60 million excess deaths).[56][57] After the collapse of the Soviet Union, Russia's population declined significantly – from 150 million in 1991 to 143 million in 2012[58] – but by 2013 this decline appeared to have halted.[59]

Many countries in the developing world have experienced extremely rapid population growth since the early 20th century, due to economic development and improvements in public health. China's population rose from approximately 430 million in 1850 to 580 million in 1953,[60] and now stands at over 1.3 billion. The population of the Indian subcontinent, which was about 125 million in 1750, increased to 389 million in 1941;[61] today, India, Pakistan and Bangladesh are collectively home to about 1.63 billion people.[62] Java had about 5 million inhabitants in 1815; its present-day successor, Indonesia, now has a population of over 140 million.[63] In just one hundred years, the population of Brazil decupled (x10), from about 17 million in 1900, or about 1% of the world population in that year, to about 176 million in 2000, or almost 3% of the global population in the very early 21st century. Mexico's population grew from 13.6 million in 1900 to about 112 million in 2010.[64][65] Between the 1920s and 2000s, Kenya's population grew from 2.9 million to 37 million.[66]

Milestones by the billions

World population milestones in billions (Worldometers estimates)
Population12345678910
Year1804192719601974198719992011202320372056
Years elapsed1233314131212121419

It is estimated that the world population reached one billion for the first time in 1804. It was another 123 years before it reached two billion in 1927, but it took only 33 years to reach three billion in 1960.[67] Thereafter, the global population reached four billion in 1974, five billion in 1987, six billion in 1999 and, according to the United States Census Bureau, seven billion in March 2012.[68] The United Nations, however, estimated that the world population reached seven billion in October 2011.[69][70][71]

According to current projections, the global population will reach eight billion by 2024, and is likely to reach around nine billion by 2042. Alternative scenarios for 2050 range from a low of 7.4 billion to a high of more than 10.6 billion.[72] Projected figures vary depending on underlying statistical assumptions and the variables used in projection calculations, especially the fertility variable. Long-range predictions to 2150 range from a population decline to 3.2 billion in the "low scenario", to "high scenarios" of 24.8 billion.[72] One extreme scenario predicted a massive increase to 256 billion by 2150, assuming the global fertility rate remained at its 1995 level of 3.04 children per woman; however, by 2010 the global fertility rate had declined to 2.52.[73][74]

There is no estimation for the exact day or month the world's population surpassed one or two billion. The points at which it reached three and four billion were not officially noted, but the International Database of the United States Census Bureau placed them in July 1959 and April 1974 respectively. The United Nations did determine, and commemorate, the "Day of 5 Billion" on 11 July 1987, and the "Day of 6 Billion" on 12 October 1999. The Population Division of the United Nations declared the "Day of 7 Billion" to be 31 October 2011.[75]


Global demographics

  >80
  77.5–80
  75–77.5
  72.5–75
  70–72.5
  67.5–70
  65–67.5
  60–65
  55–60
  50–55
2015 map showing average life expectancy by country in years. In 2015, the World Health Organization estimated the average global life expectancy as 71.4 years.[76]

As of 2012, the global sex ratio is approximately 1.01 males to 1 female. The greater number of men is possibly due to the significant sex imbalances evident in the Indian and Chinese populations.[77][78] Approximately 26.3% of the global population is aged under 15, while 65.9% is aged 15–64 and 7.9% is aged 65 or over.[77] The median age of the world's population was estimated to be 29.7 years in 2014,[79] and is expected to rise to 37.9 years by 2050.[80]

According to the World Health Organization, the global average life expectancy is 73.3 years as of 2020, with women living an average of 75.9 years and men approximately 70.8 years.[81] In 2010, the global fertility rate was estimated at 2.44 children per woman.[82] In June 2012, British researchers calculated the total weight of Earth's human population as approximately 287 million tonnes (630 billion pounds), with the average person weighing around 62 kilograms (137 lb).[83]

The IMF estimated nominal 2021 gross world product at US$94.94 trillion, giving an annual global per capita figure of around US$12,290.[84] Around 9.3% of the world population live in extreme poverty, subsisting on less than US$1.9 per day;[85] around 8.9% are undernourished.[86] 83% of the world's over-15s are considered literate.[77] In June 2014, there were around 3.03 billion global Internet users, constituting 42.3% of the world population.[87]

The Han Chinese are the world's largest single ethnic group, constituting over 19% of the global population in 2011.[88] The world's most-spoken languages are English (1.132B), Mandarin Chinese (1.117B), Hindi (615M), Spanish (534M) and French (280M). More than three billion people speak an Indo-European language, which is the largest language family by number of speakers. Standard Arabic is a language with no native speakers, but the total number of speakers is estimated at 274 million people.[89]

The religious composition of the world as of 2020 is estimated as follows: Christianity (31.1%), Islam (24.9%), Unaffiliated (15.6%) and Hinduism (15.2%).[90]

Largest populations by country

A map of world population in 2019
Most populous countries, previous decade

10 most populous countries

RankCountryPopulation% of worldDateSource
(official or UN)
1 China1,412,905,64017.8%21 Apr 2022National population clock[91]
2 India1,375,496,27517.3%21 Apr 2022National population clock[92]
3 United States332,634,0184.19%21 Apr 2022National population clock[93]
4 Indonesia269,603,4003.39%1 Jul 2020National annual projection[94]
5 Pakistan220,892,3312.78%1 Jul 2020UN Projection[95]
6 Brazil214,534,5052.70%21 Apr 2022National population clock[96]
7 Nigeria206,139,5872.59%1 Jul 2020UN Projection[95]
8 Bangladesh172,585,7942.17%21 Apr 2022National population clock[97]
9 Russia146,748,5901.85%1 Jan 2020National annual estimate[98]
10 Mexico127,792,2861.61%1 Jul 2020National annual projection[99]

Approximately 4.45 billion people live in these ten countries, representing around 57% of the world's population as of September 2020.

Most densely populated countries

The tables below list the world's most densely populated countries, both in absolute terms and in comparison to their total populations.

Population density (people per km2) map of the world in 1994. Purple and pink areas denote regions of highest population density.
10 most densely populated countries (with population above 5 million)
RankCountryPopulationArea
(km2)
Density
(pop/km2)
1 Singapore5,704,0007108,033
2 Bangladesh172,590,000143,9981,199
3

 Palestine

5,266,7856,020847
4 Lebanon6,856,00010,452656
5 Taiwan23,604,00036,193652
6 South Korea51,781,00099,538520
7 Rwanda12,374,00026,338470
8 Haiti11,578,00027,065428
9 Netherlands17,710,00041,526427
10 Israel9,510,00022,072431
Countries ranking highly in both total population (more than 20 million people) and population density (more than 250 people per square kilometer):
RankCountryPopulationArea
(km2)
Density
(pop/km2)
Population trend
1 India1,375,500,0003,287,240418Growing
2 Pakistan228,240,000803,940284Rapidly growing
3 Bangladesh172,590,000143,9981,199Rapidly growing
4 Japan126,010,000377,873333Declining[100]
5 Philippines111,780,000300,000373Growing
6 Vietnam96,209,000331,689290Growing
7 United Kingdom66,436,000243,610273Growing
8 South Korea51,781,00099,538520Steady
9 Taiwan23,604,00036,193652Steady
10 Sri Lanka21,803,00065,610332Growing

Fluctuation

Estimates of population evolution in different continents between 1950 and 2050, according to the United Nations. The vertical axis is logarithmic and is in millions of people.

Population size fluctuates at differing rates in differing regions. Nonetheless, population growth is the long-standing trend on all inhabited continents, as well as in most individual states. During the 20th century, the global population saw its greatest increase in known history, rising from about 1.6 billion in 1900 to over 6 billion in 2000. A number of factors contributed to this increase, including the lessening of the mortality rate in many countries by improved sanitation and medical advances, and a massive increase in agricultural productivity attributed to the Green Revolution.[101][102][103]

In 2000, the United Nations estimated that the world's population was growing at an annual rate of 1.1% (equivalent to around 75 million people),[104] down from a peak of 88 million per year in 1989. By 2000, there were approximately ten times as many people on Earth as there had been in 1700. Globally, the population growth rate has been steadily declining from its peak of 2.2% in 1963, but growth remains high in Latin America, the Middle East, and Sub-Saharan Africa.[105]

Map of countries by fertility rate (2020), according to the Population Reference Bureau

During the 2010s, Japan and some countries in Europe began to encounter negative population growth (i.e. a net decrease in population over time), due to sub-replacement fertility rates.[100]

In 2006, the United Nations stated that the rate of population growth was visibly diminishing due to the ongoing global demographic transition. If this trend continues, the rate of growth may diminish to zero by 2050, concurrent with a world population plateau of 9.2 billion.[106] However, this is only one of many estimates published by the UN; in 2009, UN population projections for 2050 ranged between around 8 billion and 10.5 billion.[107] An alternative scenario is given by the statistician Jorgen Randers, who argues that traditional projections insufficiently take into account the downward impact of global urbanization on fertility. Randers' "most likely scenario" reveals a peak in the world population in the early 2040s at about 8.1 billion people, followed by decline.[108] Adrian Raftery, a University of Washington professor of statistics and of sociology, states that "there’s a 70 percent probability the world population will not stabilize this century. Population, which had sort of fallen off the world’s agenda, remains a very important issue."[109]

Annual population growth

Global annual population growth[110]
YearPopulationYearly growthDensity
(pop/km2)
Urban population
%NumberNumber%
19512,584,034,2611.88%47,603,11217775,067,69730%
19522,630,861,5621.81%46,827,30118799,282,53330%
19532,677,608,9601.78%46,747,39818824,289,98931%
19542,724,846,7411.76%47,237,78118850,179,10631%
19552,773,019,9361.77%48,173,19519877,008,84232%
19562,822,443,2821.78%49,423,34619904,685,16432%
19572,873,306,0901.80%50,862,80819933,113,16832%
19582,925,686,7051.82%52,380,61520962,537,11333%
19592,979,576,1851.84%53,889,48020992,820,54633%
19603,034,949,7481.86%55,373,563201,023,845,51734%
19613,091,843,5071.87%56,893,759211,055,435,64834%
19623,150,420,7951.89%58,577,288211,088,376,70335%
19633,211,001,0091.92%60,580,214221,122,561,94035%
19643,273,978,3381.96%62,977,329221,157,813,35535%
19653,339,583,5972.00%65,605,259221,188,469,22436%
19663,407,922,6302.05%68,339,033231,219,993,03236%
19673,478,769,9622.08%70,847,332231,252,566,56536%
19683,551,599,1272.09%72,829,165241,285,933,43236%
19693,625,680,6272.09%74,081,500241,319,833,47436%
19703,700,437,0462.06%74,756,419251,354,215,49637%
19713,775,759,6172.04%75,322,571251,388,834,09937%
19723,851,650,2452.01%75,890,628261,424,734,78137%
19733,927,780,2381.98%76,129,993261,462,178,37037%
19744,003,794,1721.94%76,013,934271,501,134,65537%
19754,079,480,6061.89%75,686,434271,538,624,99438%
19764,154,666,8641.84%75,186,258281,577,376,14138%
19774,229,506,0601.80%74,839,196281,616,419,30838%
19784,304,533,5011.77%75,027,441291,659,306,11739%
19794,380,506,1001.76%75,972,599291,706,021,63839%
19804,458,003,5141.77%77,497,414301,754,201,02939%
19814,536,996,7621.77%78,993,248301,804,215,20340%
19824,617,386,5421.77%80,389,780311,854,134,22940%
19834,699,569,3041.78%82,182,762321,903,822,43641%
19844,784,011,6211.80%84,442,317321,955,106,43341%
19854,870,921,7401.82%86,910,119332,007,939,06341%
19864,960,567,9121.84%89,646,172332,062,604,39442%
19875,052,522,1471.85%91,954,235342,118,882,55142%
19885,145,426,0081.84%92,903,861352,176,126,53742%
19895,237,441,5581.79%92,015,550352,233,140,50243%
19905,327,231,0611.71%89,789,503362,290,228,09643%
19915,414,289,4441.63%87,058,383362,347,462,33643%
19925,498,919,8091.56%84,630,365372,404,337,29744%
19935,581,597,5461.50%82,677,737372,461,223,52844%
19945,663,150,4271.46%81,552,881382,518,254,11144%
19955,744,212,9791.43%81,062,552392,575,505,23545%
19965,824,891,9511.40%80,678,972392,632,941,58345%
19975,905,045,7881.38%80,153,837402,690,813,54146%
19985,984,793,9421.35%79,748,154402,749,213,59846%
19996,064,239,0551.33%79,445,113412,808,231,65546%
20006,143,494,0001.31%79,255,000412,868,308,00046%
20016,222,627,0001.29%79,133,000422,933,079,00047%
20026,301,773,0001.27%79,147,000423,001,808,00047%
20036,381,185,0001.26%79,412,000433,071,744,00048%
20046,461,159,0001.25%79,974,000433,143,045,00048%
20056,541,907,0001.25%80,748,000443,215,906,00049%
20066,623,518,0001.25%81,611,000443,289,446,00050%
20076,705,947,0001.24%82,429,000453,363,610,00050%
20086,789,089,0001.24%83,142,000463,439,719,00050%
20096,872,767,0001.23%83,678,000473,516,830,00051%
20106,956,824,0001.22%84,057,000473,594,868,00051%
20117,041,194,0001.21%84,371,000473,671,424,00052%
20127,125,828,0001.20%84,634,000483,747,843,00052%
20137,210,582,0001.19%84,754,000483,824,990,00053%
20147,295,291,0001.17%84,709,000493,902,832,00053%
20157,379,797,0001.16%84,506,000503,981,498,00054%
20167,464,022,0001.14%84,225,000504,060,653,00054%
20177,547,859,0001.12%83,837,000514,140,189,00055%
20187,631,091,0001.10%83,232,000514,219,817,00055%
20197,713,468,0001.08%82,377,000524,299,439,00056%
20207,795,000,0001.05%81,331,000524,378,900,00056%

Population growth by region

The table below shows historical and predicted regional population figures in millions.[111][112][113] The availability of historical population figures varies by region.

World historical and predicted populations (in millions)[114][115][116]
Region15001600170017501800185019001950199920082010201220502150
World5856607107919781,2621,6502,5216,0086,7076,8967,0529,7259,746
Africa861141061061071111332217839731,0221,0522,4782,308
Asia2823504115026358099471,4023,7004,0544,1644,2505,2675,561
Europe168170178190203276408547675732738740734517
Latin America[Note 1]40201016243874167508577590603784912
Northern America[Note 1]632272682172312337345351433398
Oceania333222613303437385751
World historical and predicted populations by percentage distribution[114][115]
Region15001600170017501800185019001950199920082010201220502150
Africa14.717.314.913.410.98.88.18.813.014.514.815.225.523.7
Asia48.253.057.963.564.964.157.455.661.660.460.460.354.257.1
Europe28.725.825.120.620.821.924.721.711.210.910.710.57.65.3
Latin America[Note 1]6.83.01.42.02.53.04.56.68.58.68.68.68.19.4
Northern America[Note 1]1.00.50.30.30.72.15.06.85.25.05.05.04.54.1
Oceania0.50.50.40.30.20.20.40.50.50.50.50.50.60.5

Past population

The following table gives estimates, in millions, of population in the past. The data for 1750 to 1900 are from the UN report "The World at Six Billion"[117] whereas the data from 1950 to 2015 are from a UN data sheet.[15]

YearWorldAfricaAsiaEuropeLatin America
& Carib.[Note 1]
North America
[Note 1]
OceaniaNotes
70,000 BC< 0.01500[118]
10,000 BC4[119]
8000 BC5
6500 BC5
5000 BC5
4000 BC7
3000 BC14
2000 BC27
1000 BC507339
500 BC100146616
AD 12002314128
10004007026950812
150045886243843933
16005801143391111033
17006821064361251023
17507911065021631622
18001,0001076562032473
18501,26211180927638262
19001,65013394740874826
19502,5252291,39454916917212.7[120]
19552,7582541,53457719318714.2
19603,0182851,68760622120415.8
19653,3223221,87563525421917.5
19703,6823662,12065728823119.7
19754,0614162,37867732624221.5
19804,4404782,62669436525423.0
19854,8535502,89770840626724.9
19905,3106323,20272144728127.0
19955,7357203,47572848729629.1
20006,1278143,71472652731431.1
20056,5209203,94572956432933.4
20106,9301,0444,17073560034436.4
20157,3491,1864,39373863435839.3

Using the above figures, the change in population from 2010 to 2015 was:

  • World: +420 million
  • Africa: +142 million
  • Asia: +223 million
  • Europe: +3 million
  • Latin America and Caribbean: +35 million
  • Northern America: +14 million
  • Oceania: +2.9 million
  1. ^ a b c d e f North America is here defined to include the northernmost countries and territories of North America: Canada, the United States, Greenland, Bermuda, and St. Pierre and Miquelon. Latin America & Carib. comprises Mexico, Central America, the Caribbean, and South America.

Projections

Long-term global population growth is difficult to predict. The United Nations and the US Census Bureau both give different estimates – according to the UN, the world population reached seven billion in late 2011,[111] while the USCB asserted that this occurred in March 2012.[121] The UN has issued multiple projections of future world population, based on different assumptions. From 2000 to 2005, the UN consistently revised these projections downward, until the 2006 revision, issued on 14 March 2007, revised the 2050 mid-range estimate upwards by 273 million.

Average global birth rates are declining fast, but vary greatly between developed countries (where birth rates are often at or below replacement levels) and developing countries (where birth rates typically remain high). Different ethnicities also display varying birth rates. Death rates can change rapidly due to disease epidemics, wars and other mass catastrophes, or advances in medicine.

2012 United Nations projections show a continued increase in population in the near future with a steady decline in population growth rate; the global population is expected to reach between 8.3 and 10.9 billion by 2050.[122][123] 2003 UN Population Division population projections for the year 2150 range between 3.2 and 24.8 billion.[73] One of many independent mathematical models supports the lower estimate,[124] while a 2014 estimate forecasts between 9.3 and 12.6 billion in 2100, and continued growth thereafter.[125][126] The 2019 Revision of the UN estimates gives the "medium variant" population as; nearly 8.6 billion in 2030, about 9.7 billion in 2050 and about 10.9 billion in 2100.[127] In December 2019, the German Foundation for World Population projected that the global population will reach 8 billion by 2023 as it increases by 156 every minute.[128] In a modelled future projection by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation the global population was projected to peak in 2064 at 9.73 billion people and decline to 8.79 billion in 2100.[129] Some analysts have questioned the sustainability of further world population growth, highlighting the growing pressures on the environment,[130] global food supplies, and energy resources.[131][132][133]

UN (medium variant – 2019 revision) and US Census Bureau (June 2015) estimates[134][135]
YearUN est.
(millions)
DifferenceUSCB est.
(millions)
Difference
20056,5426,473
20106,9574156,866393
20157,3804237,256390
20207,7954157,643380
20258,1843908,007363
20308,5493648,341334
20358,8883398,646306
20409,1993118,926280
20459,4822839,180254
20509,7352539,408228
UN 2019 estimates and medium variant projections (in millions)[134]
YearWorldAsiaAfricaEuropeLatin America/CaribbeanNorthern AmericaOceania
20006,1443,741 (60.9%)811 (13.2%)726 (11.8%)522 (8.5%)312 (5.1%)31 (0.5%)
20056,5423,978 (60.8%)916 (14.0%)729 (11.2%)558 (8.5%)327 (5.0%)34 (0.5%)
20106,9574,210 (60.5%)1,039 (14.9%)736 (10.6%)591 (8.5%)343 (4.9%)37 (0.5%)
20157,3804,434 (60.1%)1,182 (16.0%)743 (10.1%)624 (8.5%)357 (4.8%)40 (0.5%)
20207,7954,641 (59.5%)1,341 (17.2%)748 (9.6%)654 (8.4%)369 (4.7%)43 (0.6%)
20258,1844,823 (58.9%)1,509 (18.4%)746 (9.1%)682 (8.3%)380 (4.6%)45 (0.6%)
20308,5494,974 (58.2%)1,688 (19.8%)741 (8.7%)706 (8.3%)391 (4.6%)48 (0.6%)
20358,8885,096 (57.3%)1,878 (21.1%)735 (8.3%)726 (8.2%)401 (4.5%)50 (0.6%)
20409,1995,189 (56.4%)2,077 (22.6%)728 (7.9%)742 (8.1%)410 (4.5%)53 (0.6%)
20459,4825,253 (55.4%)2,282 (24.1%)720 (7.6%)754 (8.0%)418 (4.4%)55 (0.6%)
20509,7355,290 (54.3%)2,489 (25.6%)711 (7.3%)762 (7.8%)425 (4.4%)57 (0.6%)
20559,9585,302 (53.2%)2,698 (27.1%)700 (7.0%)767 (7.7%)432 (4.3%)60 (0.6%)
206010,1525,289 (52.1%)2,905 (28.6%)689 (6.8%)768 (7.6%)439 (4.3%)62 (0.6%)
206510,3185,256 (51.0%)3,109 (30.1%)677 (6.6%)765 (7.4%)447 (4.3%)64 (0.6%)
207010,4595,207 (49.8%)3,308 (31.6%)667 (6.4%)759 (7.3%)454 (4.3%)66 (0.6%)
207510,5775,143 (48.6%)3,499 (33.1%)657 (6.2%)750 (7.1%)461 (4.4%)67 (0.6%)
208010,6745,068 (47.5%)3,681 (34.5%)650 (6.1%)739 (6.9%)468 (4.4%)69 (0.7%)
208510,7504,987 (46.4%)3,851 (35.8%)643 (6.0%)726 (6.8%)474 (4.4%)71 (0.7%)
209010,8104,901 (45.3%)4,008 (37.1%)638 (5.9%)711 (6.6%)479 (4.4%)72 (0.7%)
209510,8524,812 (44.3%)4,152 (38.3%)634 (5.8%)696 (6.4%)485 (4.5%)74 (0.7%)
210010,8754,719 (43.4%)4,280 (39.4%)630 (5.8%)680 (6.3%)491 (4.5%)75 (0.7%)

Mathematical approximations

In 1975, Sebastian von Hoerner proposed a formula for population growth which represented hyperbolic growth with an infinite population in 2025.[136] The hyperbolic growth of the world population observed until the 1970s was later correlated to a non-linear second-order positive feedback between demographic growth and technological development. This feedback can be described as follows: technological advance → increase in the carrying capacity of land for people → demographic growth → more people → more potential inventors → acceleration of technological advance → accelerating growth of the carrying capacity → faster population growth → accelerating growth of the number of potential inventors → faster technological advance → hence, the faster growth of the Earth's carrying capacity for people, and so on.[137] The transition from hyperbolic growth to slower rates of growth is related to the demographic transition.

According to the Russian demographer Sergey Kapitsa,[138] the world population grew between 67,000 BC and 1965 according to the following formula:

where

N is current population,
T is the current year,
C = (1.86 ± 0.01)·1011,
T0 = 2007 ± 1,
= 42 ± 1.

Years for world population to double

According to linear interpolation and extrapolation of UNDESA population estimates, the world population has doubled, or will double, in the years listed in the tables below (with two different starting points). During the 2nd millennium, each doubling took roughly half as long as the previous doubling, fitting the hyperbolic growth model mentioned above. However, after 2024, it is unlikely that there will be another doubling of the global population in the 21st century.[139]

Historic chart showing the periods of time the world population has taken to double, from 1700 to 2000
Starting at 500 million
Population
(in billions)
0.51248
Year15001804192719742024
Years elapsed3041234750
Starting at 375 million
Population
(in billions)
0.3750.751.536
Year11711715188119601999
Years elapsed5441667939

Number of humans who have ever lived

Estimates of the total number of humans who have ever lived range is estimated to be of the order of 100 billion. Such estimates can only be rough approximations, as even modern population estimates are subject to uncertainty of around 3% to 5%.[21] Kapitsa (1996) cites estimates ranging between 80 and 150 billion.[140] The PRB puts the figure at 117 billion as of 2020, estimating that the current world population is 6.7% of all the humans who have ever lived.[141] Haub (1995) prepared another figure, updated in 2002 and 2011; the 2011 figure was approximately 107 billion.[142][143][144] Haub characterized this figure as an estimate that required "selecting population sizes for different points from antiquity to the present and applying assumed birth rates to each period".[143]

Robust population data only exist for the last two or three centuries. Until the late 18th century, few governments had ever performed an accurate census. In many early attempts, such as in Ancient Egypt and the Persian Empire, the focus was on counting merely a subset of the population for purposes of taxation or military service.[145] Thus, there is a significant margin of error when estimating ancient global populations.

Pre-modern infant mortality rates are another critical factor for such an estimate; these rates are very difficult to estimate for ancient times due to a lack of accurate records. Haub (1995) estimates that around 40% of those who have ever lived did not survive beyond their first birthday. Haub also stated that "life expectancy at birth probably averaged only about ten years for most of human history",[143] which is not to be mistaken for the life expectancy after reaching adulthood. The latter equally depended on period, location and social standing, but calculations identify averages from roughly 30 years upward.

See also

Explanatory notes

  1. ^ Excluding its Special Administrative Regions (SARs) of Hong Kong and Macau.
  2. ^ Excludes Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean, which are included here under Latin America.
  3. ^ The Antarctic Treaty System limits the nature of national claims in Antarctica. Of the territorial claims in Antarctica, the Ross Dependency has the largest population.

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Further reading

External links

Organizations

Statistics and maps

Population clocks

Media files used on this page

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Flag of Mexico.svg
Flag of Mexico Official version of the Flag of the United Mexican States or Mexico, adopted September 16th 1968 by Decree (Published August 17th 1968), Ratio 4:7. The previous version of the flag displayed a slightly different Coat of Arms. It was redesigned to be even more resplendent due to the upcoming Mexico City 1968 Olympic Games; According to Flag of Mexico, the colors are Green Pantone 3425 C and Red Pantone 186 C. According to [1] or [2], that translates to RGB 206, 17, 38 for the red, and RGB 0, 104, 71 for the green.
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Flag of Australia, when congruence with this colour chart is required (i.e. when a "less bright" version is needed).

See Flag of Australia.svg for main file information.
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Flag of Rwanda. The flag ratio is 2:3 with the stripes being 2:1:1. Colors are the following officially: Pantone 299 C 2X (blue), RAL 6029 (green), RAL 1023 (yellow) and RAL 1003 (golden yellow). (As of 03/08/2010, the only color used is the Pantone 299 C, which is from here. The rest of the colors are RAL shades from here.)
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The national and official state flag of Haiti; arms obtained from http://www.webchantier.com/. The civil flag can be found at here.
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Flag of Israel. Shows a Magen David (“Shield of David”) between two stripes. The Shield of David is a traditional Jewish symbol. The stripes symbolize a Jewish prayer shawl (tallit).
Flag of the United Kingdom.svg
Flag of the United Kingdom, Union Jack or Union Flag in a 1:2 ratio (typical on British warships and also the rank flag of an admiral of the fleet).
The Earth seen from Apollo 17.jpg
"The Blue Marble" is a famous photograph of the Earth taken on December 7, 1972, by the crew of the Apollo 17 spacecraft en route to the Moon at a distance of about 29,000 kilometres (18,000 mi). It shows Africa, Antarctica, and the Arabian Peninsula.
Total Fertility Rate Map by Country.svg
Author/Creator: Korakys, Licence: CC BY-SA 4.0
Total fertility rates of sovereign states plus Greenland, French Guiana, New Caledonia, and Puerto Rico.

Data from Population Reference Bureau's 2020 World Population Data Sheet. Greenland data from CIA Factbook.

Derived from BlankMap-World-Sovereign_Nations by RedGolpe.

Crimea status in data unknown, I've gone with default of the original map.
World population density 1994.png
World map of the population density in 1994. A more recent population density map can be found at http://sedac.ciesin.columbia.edu/gpw/
World population growth (lin-log scale).png
Author/Creator: Waldir, Licence: CC BY-SA 3.0
World population curve. A log scale is used for the population figures to allow better reading of the data.
World population history.svg
(c) Demmo, Conscious, CC-BY-SA-3.0
World population 1950-2017, in billions.
World-population-1750-2015-and-un-projection-until-2100.png
Author/Creator: Nicxjo, Licence: CC BY-SA 4.0
World population estimate from 10,000 BCE to 2100, by OurWorldInData, from various sources. For earlier data see World population from 10,000 BCE to today.
Illustration of contemporary and past human populations Our World in Data.png
Author/Creator: Max Roser, Licence: CC BY 4.0
An illustration comparing the population size of the present generation to all humans in the past
World Population Prospects 2019.png
Author/Creator: United Nations Population Division, Licence: CC BY 3.0 igo
This chart shows estimates and probabilistic projections of the total population for the world. The population projections are based on the probabilistic projections of total fertility and life expectancy at birth. These probabilistic projections of total fertility and life expectancy at birth were carried out with a Bayesian Hierarchical Model. The figures display the probabilistic median, and the 80 and 95 per cent prediction intervals of the probabilistic population projections, as well as the (deterministic) high and low variant (+/- 0.5 child).
Population-doubling.svg
Graphical presentation of data in 'World Population' article showing number of years taken for World Population to double. Two series are interleaved, one starting from 0.25 billion the other from 0.375 billion. Both the graph and table upon which it is based clearly show the number of years taken for the population to double has been constantly decreasing, although current forecasts for future doubling do not. Each time the population doubles the actual increase is of course very significantly more than for the previous doubling.
Population curve.svg
World human population (est.) 10,000 BC–2000 AD.
Expectancy of life.svg
Author/Creator:
  • derivative work: De728631
  • BlankMap-FlatWorld6.svg: Frank Bennett
, Licence: CC BY-SA 4.0
Expectancy of life in the world as of 2015
2006megacities.svg
Author/Creator: Nicoguaro, Licence: CC BY-SA 3.0
This map shows the global distribution of top 400 "urban areas" with at least 1,000,000 inhabitants in 2006.
World Population.svg
Author/Creator: Getsnoopy, Licence: CC BY-SA 4.0
World map of countries and territories by population in 2019.
  >1,000 million
  200–1,000 million
  100–200 million
  75–100 million
  50–75 million
  25–50 million
  10–25 million
  5–10 million
  <5 million
  No data / permanent population
Countries population graph.jpeg
Countries_population_graph
World population (UN).svg
Author/Creator: Conscious, Licence: CC BY-SA 3.0

Population of the world and its regions (in millions). Data from https://population.un.org/wpp/ .

  • Solid line: medium variant.
  • Shaded region: low to high variant.
  • Dashed line: constant-fertility variant.