See how Earth’s population grew over time

5 Nov 2016

Earth’s population is at an all-time high but growth is slowing. Image: Solar Seven/Shutterstock

It’s incredible to think that right now in 2016, the world’s population is around 7.4bn people. It took 200,000 years to get to the first 1bn people, but only 200 years to grow that beyond 7bn.

But as we hurtle towards becoming an 11bn people planet, there are signs that growth is slowing, as women are having fewer babies on average.

This raises all kinds of questions, such as when will our global population peak and how can we minimise our impact on Earth’s resources?

Future Human

The Earth’s population peaks

A new video from the American Museum of Natural History overlays a map of Earth with the growth in human population from the Ice Age to today.

If the subject fascinates you, this handy interactive map from World Population History lets you use a slide rule to see how populations grew from the Ice Age. It projects that by 2020, Earth’s population will be 7.7bn and will reach 9.5bn in 2050.

Another useful resource is Worldometers (below) which gives you a real-time count of the world’s population (currently 7.4bn) and at the time of writing, there were around 135,000 births today (5 November 2016) and over 56,000 deaths.

See how Earth’s population grew over time

Click on image to go to site. Image: Worldometers

And so, as we stand on this rocky outpost somewhere in space, speeding around our nearest sun at close to 1,000 mph, be glad to be alive. It’s a privilege you share with several billion others, and counting.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years