Human Population: Past, Present, and Future

Estimated Human Population Through History
10000 BCE:                       ~2.4 million
5000 BCE:                          ~17.9 million
2000 BCE:                          ~72.1 million
1 CE:                                          ~188.25 million
1000 CE:                               ~295 million
1700 CE:                               ~603 million
1800 CE:                               ~989.8 million
1900 CE:                               ~1.65 billion
1950 CE:                               ~2.53 billion
2000 CE:                              ~6.2 billion
2015 CE:                                ~7.35 billion
March 2019 CE:               ~7.7 billion

The population of humans on our planet went through an exponential growth spurt, beginning roughly at the start of the twentieth century. In the year 1900, the estimated global population was roughly 1.65 billion people.  Only one hundred years later, and the population more than tripled to 6.2 billion – more people were alive at the start of the millennium than had ever existed previously. To put this into perspective, more people were born in the last one hundred years than had been born since the beginning of the earliest civilizations, five-thousand years ago.

Petra, Jordan
Petra, Jordan
Image by Vincent Pelletier

This exponential growth was short lived, however.  The global population growth rate peaked at ~2.1% per year in the mid 1970’s, and has subsequently begun to decline. This will likely continue until the growth rate reaches close to zero, which is estimated to happen shortly after the beginning of the next century. Every species has a carrying capacity. Will we reach ours by the year 2100 CE? That’s what many experts seem to believe.


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