World’s Population Will Hit 7 Billion In 2011

The UN is predicting that on Halloween of 2011, for the first time in history, there will be 7 billion people on earth. For comparison, up until 200 years ago there were always less than 1 billion of us, and mostly much less. Since then, here are the approximate years we hit the other billion people marks:

  1. 1804
  2. 1927
  3. 1960
  4. 1974
  5. 1987
  6. 1999
  7. 2011
  8. ~2023

World-Population: 1800-2100


It took us 10,000 years of recorded history to get to 1 billion and only 100 years to double that, then 50 years to double it again to 4 billion. Now it looks like it’ll take us another 50 years to double that number to 8 billion sometime in the next decade, so the rate of growth is at least stabilizing, if not slowing. Somewhat surprisingly, the continent with the most growth is Africa with 26%, where presumably modern technologies are saving more and more lives  — more than they are killing anyway — but the reproductive practices have yet to adapt to the new survivability rates. In contrast, Europe has a growth rate of virtually zero, since they’ve been dealing with the industrial revolution and overpopulation for a couple of centuries. The rest of the world is growing at 10-15%.

Countries by population density


As far as population density, the US is 179th out of 241 territories, along with mostly African and some South American countries. Greenland is of course at the bottom of the list, while the top is mostly small countries and city states like Singapore, Hong Kong, Bahrain, and Vatican City. Of the countries of more respectable size, Bangladesh, Taiwan, Palestine, South Korea, Puerto Rico, and Lebanon top the list. Interestingly, The Netherlands is the densest of the country-size countries in Europe, and it’s even more dense than India. In fact, in terms of density, most of Europe is wedged between India on the high end and China at the low end. And finally, many of the biggest countries in the world are also towards the bottom in terms of density: Mongolia, Australia, Canada and Russia.

From The Guardian, via Slashdot

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