Depending on which source you reference, the world has either just passed or will shortly pass the 7 billion mark in terms of the total global human population. The Population Reference Bureau has already proclaimed that the world contains 7 billion people and provides a World Population Data sheet supporting the numbers. While the overall rate of population growth has slowed from 2.1% in in the 1960s to 1.2% today, the total population continues to grow. An interactive map of world demographics is link to below.
The recent world population growth:
- 5 billion in 1987
- 6 billion in 1999
- 7 billion in 2011
BBC has an interesting infographic, “7 Billion People and You: What’s Your Number?“, showing the global population growth over time dating back to the 1500s. Enter your birthdate and the site will provide you numbers on where you rank in terms of how many people were alive the day you were born and how many people have lived on the earth by your birthdate. The first number is an estimate based on UN Population division statistics. The second number is based on the methodology of Carl Haub, a senior visiting scholar to the Population Reference Bureau who wrote the popular article, “How Many People Have Ever Lived on Earth?”
To commemorate, National Geographic has released a free iPad app entitled “7 Billion: How your world will change” that pulls together articles, photos, and videos produced by National Geographic about world population growth. Features that are included on the app:
- Population 7 Billion—National Geographic magazine’s senior environmental editor Robert Kunzig looks at overall demographic trends that shape the planet.
- Enter the Age of Man—Elizabeth Kolbert explains the Anthropocene — a new geological era influenced primarily by human activity.
- The Acid Sea—Elizabeth Kolbert takes a deep dive into how humans are impacting our oceans. Photos by David Liittschwager.
- The Coming Storm—A case study by Don Belt shows how resourceful residents of Bangladesh are adapting to rising seas. Photos by Jonas Bendiksen.
- Food Ark—Charles Siebert explains how preserving heirlooms seeds and breeds are crucial if we hope to feed our hungry world. Photos by Jim Richardson.
- Birth of a New Brazil—Cynthia Gorney looks at how popular culture can quickly impact birth rate trends. Photos by John Stanmeyer.
- Rift in Paradise—Robert Draper shows how Africa’s Albertine Rift is a stark example of the fundamental tensions between human needs and the natural world. Photos by Pascal Maitre and Joel Sartore.