PREHISTORIC LIFE HOME PREHISTORIC LIFE TABLE OF CONTENTS OBL HOME OBL REFERENCES
HUMAN POPULATION GROWTH
chart

HUMAN POPULATION

Until the domestication of cattle (8000 BC), there were less than 10 million people on earth.

--Caesar's time, 250 million

--Columbus's time, 500 million

--early 1800s, 1 billion

--World population remained under 1 billion until the nature of disease was discovered.

--1923 2 billion

--1975 4 billion

--1994 5.6 billion

--2000 6.0 billion

--94 million babies are born each year; the world's population is increasing at 1.8% annually, at this rate the population will double in 40 years; 1/3 of the world's population is under 18

The world’s population increases by 23 people every 5 seconds.  This is a rate of increase of almost 400,000 a day and 145 million per year.  In 1998, the population increase was equivalent to adding another Germany to the planet.

--As of 2003, there are more than 6.2 billion people living on the planet.  By the year 2050, it is estimated that there will be 7.9 to 10.9 billion people.   Currently, about 1.2 billion people—almost ¼ of the world’s population live on less than $1/day and are very vulnerable to disease and environmental changes.

In the year 2005, the estimated world population reached 6.5 billion people. The percentage of the world’s populations which inhabits less developed countries is growing and is currently estimated at 5.3 billion. Almost 4 billion people live in Asia (United Nations, 2005).

THE 11 MOST POPULATED COUNTRIES IN 1950, 2005, AND ESTIMATED FOR 2050

 

1950

2005

2050 (est.)

1

China

China

India

2

India

India

China

3

United States

United States

United States

4

the Russian Federation

Indonesia

Pakistan

5

Japan

Brazil

Indonesia

6

Indonesia

Pakistan

Nigeria

7

Germany

the Russian Federation

Brazil

8

Brazil

Bangladesh

Bangladesh

9

the United Kingdom

Nigeria

Dem. Republic of Congo

10

Italy

Japan

Ethiopia

11

France

Mexico

Mexico

In 1950, the ten most populated countries on earth (in order) were China, India, the U.S., the Russian Federation, Japan, Indonesia, Germany, Brazil, the United Kingdom, Italy, and France. In the year 2005, the 11 most populated countries are China, India, the U.S., Indonesia, Brazil, Pakistan, the Russian Federation, Bangladesh, Nigeria, Japan, and Mexico. Given current rates of growth, it is estimated that the most populated counties in the year 2050 will be India, China, the U.S., Pakistan, Indonesia, Nigeria, Brazil, Bangladesh, Congo, Ethiopia, and Mexico (United Nations, 2005).

 

Currently, 1.8 billion people in the world are under the age of 15 (almost 1.1 billion of which live in Asia) (United Nations, 2005).

 

Some countries have a median age of more than 40 (Japan, Italy, Germany, Finland, Switzerland, Belgium, Croatia, Austria, Bulgaria, and Slovenia) while others have a median age of under 16 ½ (Uganda, Niger, Mali, Guinea-Bissau, Burkina Faso, Dem. Republic of Congo, Malawi, Chad, Congo, and Liberia) (United Nations, 2005).

 

A family size of 2.1 children per woman is considered replacement-level fertility. A higher level will increase overall population size while a lower level will decrease population size (United Nations, 2005).

 

Some countries have an average fertility of less than 1.3 children per woman ( Macao, Hong Kong, Ukraine, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Slovenia, Moldova, Bulgaria, Bealrus, Greece, Poland, and Latvia). In contrast, in other countries the total fertility can range between 6.7 and 7.9 (Dem. Republic of Congo, Angola, Liberia, Burundi, Mali, Uganda, Guinea-Bissau, Afghanistan, Timor-Leste, and Niger) (United Nations, 2005).

     How many people can the earth hold?  There are two factors which must be considered when determining the earth’s carrying capacity: the human population and the natural resources used per person.  It is true that some developing nations are straining the earth’s capacity by having large families, For example, the family size estimated to be the “replacement fertility” (the family size in which births will balance deaths) is 2.1 children.  There are dozens of African nations in which the average family size is more than 6.  Population growth rates vary in different parts of the world.  Developing countries tend to have the largest percentages of people in the youngest age groups; developed countries tend to have more even distributions.  As a result, population doubling times also vary: North America 93 years, Latin America 33 years, Europe 266 years, USSR 80 years, Africa 24 years, South Asia 37 years, and Australia 57 years.

      While the number of children is certainly a factor in determining the earth’s carrying capacity, it must be considered together with resource use.  Small families, especially in the United States, can strain the earth’s capacity much more than large families in poor nations by using an enormous amount of the earth’s natural resources per person.  The United States only composes 5% of the earth’s human populations, Americans use 25% of the earth’s energy, use 25% of the earth’s resources, and generate 19-30% of the earth’s garbage.  There is criticism directed towards many nations which spend a large percentage of their national product on their military.  The cost of two b-2 bombers is about equal to the amount of money needed to save the lives of 7 million poor children and provide a basic education to 90 million poor young women.

     How many people can the earth hold?  If all the people of the world adopted the American standard of living, there would already be far more people on earth than the planet could hold.

 

In the following images, each red dot represents a concentration of one million people or more.

1 AD 500
1000 1100
1200 1300
1400 1500
1600 1700
1800 1900
1950
If the earth were a village of 1,000 people: chart
Birthrate

--28 children will be born this year, 2 of which will die in their first year

--330 (one third) of the village are children and have not yet begun to reproduce

Deathrate

--10 people will die this year (including those two children)

-- as a result, next year the village contains 1018 people

Number with Cars 70 (some of which have more than one)
Number with access to clean, safe drinking water 330 (One-third)
Number of adults which are illiterate 335 (of 670; half)
Average Salary per person in the village $3000
Percentage of village budget received by top 20% 75% ($11,250 per person)
Percentage of village budget received by the bottom 20% 2% ($300 per person)