The United Nations (UN) estimates that on October 31, the 7 billionth human was born somewhere on planet Earth. That means there are now over 7,000,000,000 of us on Earth!
We Homo sapiens appeared on Earth about 200,000 years ago. We got to a population of a billion about 200 years ago (in 1804). However, since then, we’ve been adding the billions pretty quickly! It took us only 123 years to add the second billion, 32 years to add the third, 15 years for the fourth, 13 years for the fifth, and only 12 years each to add the sixth and seventh billion! We’re now adding about 200,000 people a day! That’s more than two people being added every second!
Huge improvements in medical care as well as big productivity gains in farming are some of the main reasons why our population shot up so quickly from 1 billion to 7 billion. However, our planet has a limited number of resources. We have to make sure that there is enough food, water, energy, and other essential resources for everybody. The UN has urged leaders around the globe to get together and discuss the problems created by our increasing population.
Not all countries have to deal with an increasing population. Governments of some countries, for example Germany, Russia, Brazil, and Japan, are concerned that enough children are not being born in their countries. They are worried that their population will start shrinking. China has the most number of people (1.34 billion), followed by India (1.19 billion) and the United States (0.31 billion). There are more men than women on our planet. For every 100 women, there are 101 men. The most commonly spoken language is Mandarin Chinese (about 12.4%), followed by Spanish (about 4.9%), English (about 4.8%), and Arabic (about 3.3%).
The BBC has an interesting website where you can enter your date of birth to find out how many people were alive when you were born.
Image Credit: Monocletophat123 for world population graphic