How fast is the world population growing?
Population in the world is currently growing at a rate of around 1.15 % per year. The average annual population change is currently estimated at over 77 million.
Annual growth rate reached its peak in the late 1960s, when it was at 2% and above. The rate of increase has therefore almost halved since its peak of 2.19 percent, which was reached in 1963, to the current 1.15%.
The annual growth rate is currently declining and is projected to continue to decline in the coming years, but the pace of the future change is uncertain (1). Currently, it is estimated that it will become less than 1% by 2020 and less than 0.5% by 2050.
This means that world population will continue to grow into the 21st century, but at a slower rate compared to the recent past. World population has doubled (100% increase) in 40 years from 1959 (3 billion) to 1999 (6 billion). It is now estimated that it will take a further 42 years to increase by another 50%, to become 9 billion by 2042.
Projections (Pdf document) indicate that world population will nearly stabilize at just above 10 billion persons after 2200.
What was the population of the world in the past?
The chart above clearly illustrates how world population has changed in history. The US Census Bureau has assembled a table with estimated population from 10000 BC to 1950 according to different sources.
At the dawn of agriculture, about 8000 B.C., the population of the world was approximately 5 million. Over the 8,000-year period up to 1 A.D. it grew to 200 million (some estimate 300 million or even 600, suggesting how imprecise population estimates of early historical periods can be), with a growth rate of under 0.05% per year.
A tremendous change occurred with the industrial revolution: whereas it had taken all of human history until around 1800 for world population to reach one billion, the second billion was achieved in only 130 years (1930), the third billion in less than 30 years (1959), the fourth billion in 15 years (1974), and the fifth billion in only 13 years (1987). During the 20th century alone, the population in the world has grown from 1.65 billion to 6 billion.
How is the population distributed around the world?
Refer to this population density map:
How many people have ever lived on earth?
It was written during the 1970s that 75% of the people who had ever been born were alive at that moment. This was grossly false.
Assuming that we start counting from about 50,000 B.C., the time when modern Homo sapiens appeared on the earth (and not from 700,000 B.C. when the ancestors of Homo sapiens appeared, or several million years ago when hominids were present), taking into account that all population data are a rough estimate, and assuming a constant growth rate applied to each period up to modern times, it has been estimated that a total of approximately 106 billion people have been born since the dawn of the human race, making the population currently alive roughly 6% of all people who have ever lived on planet Earth.
Others have estimated the number of human beings who have ever lived to be anywhere from 45 billion to 125 billion, with most estimates falling into the range of 90 to 110 billion humans.