World population statistics

Here are some world population statistics…


7.11 billion | the global human population size at the end of September 2013 as estimated by world population clocks


the number of people added to the global population each hour



1.46 million | the number of people added to the global population each week



8.25 million | the number of people living in New York City in 2011



200 million | the number of people alive when Hannibal took his elephants across the alps to fight the Romans in 218 BC


annual average global population growth rate as a percentage of the total [United Nations estimate]



annual average population growth rate in Nigeria, equivalent to 3.94 million more people per year



annual average population growth rate in USA, equivalent to 3.07 million more people per year



annual average population growth rate in China, equivalent to 6.53 million more people per year


3.7 billion | approximate number of people living in urban areas, 52% of the total


3,900,000 km2

approximate area of global urban development equivalent to 3% of the total land area


1,200,000 km2

estimated land required to accommodate urban growth to 2030 [from research published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences]

7,300 calories

global average daily energy consumption per person

49,322,388 km2

land area used for agriculture — 37.9% of the total land area


10,000 years

time since agriculture was invented


200 years

time since industrial scale agriculture became common


1,300,000,000 tons

1.3 billion tons | estimated amount of food wasted each year during production and consumption

470,000 to 690,000 individuals

number of African elephants in the wild spread across 37 countries in Africa [WWF estimate]



ratio of elephants to people

What do these world population statistics mean?

World population statistics are startling. The current global population size is the largest that it's ever been and even though the speed of growth has declined, what any positive growth rate from such a large base this means for resources is huge.

What we know is that the demographic transition will happen. There is nothing in nature or our own history that says it worked. The conventional wisdom is that wealth improves child survival rates and that means fewer births are needed to make people feel comfortable with their reproductive success.

The question is how the transition will play out. Will it be through fewer births and natural attrition? Or will resources run out and the subsequent scramble increase the death rate?

Fewer births requires careful management of resources together with innovation and adaptation.

More deaths will just be ugly.

Find out more

Ask Alloporus uses world population statistics as a guide to build content that goes deeper into the environment issues created by the needs and requirements of so many people...

  • World population growth is a highly contentious environmental issue. Some say we need it and yet more people still have to be fed and watered...  more
  • Over population is usually short-lived in nature except when resources stay plentiful — only they rarely do...  read more
  • Human population control is tricky business that no one wants to engage in. It is hard to do and upsets just about everyone when attempted. So why even think about doing it?  ...more
  • World population history is a before and after story. A long period of not much and then one huge change that we are alive to witness...  ...more
  • Effects of overpopulation are always unpleasant because it means fewer births, more deaths and an erosion of natural capital. It is a feature of nature that humans may have to experience first hand... read more
  • Australia population was 23.5 million in mid 2014. This is not many in the global scheme of things, but is it the ‘right’ number?  read more

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