Population Tools & Resources

Our population is expected to grow to over 10 billion by the end of this century, yet the Earth’s size remains the same. Explore these interactive tools, readings and lesson plans to learn and teach about Earth’s carrying capacity, population projections to 2050, the relationship between the status of women and fertility rates, and the effects of urbanization. The lesson plans are written for high school grades and are an especially great fit for AP Human Geography and AP Environmental Science.


My Population Number

Just a hundred years ago the world’s population had yet to reach two billion, less than a fourth of the 8 billion people on earth today. So where do you fit in the 8 billion? Enter your birthdate to find out.

Find My Number

Interactive Population Projection

This interactive chart shows the UN’s 2022 estimates and probabilistic projections of total world population. Use the slider to see how changes in the fertility rate affect the population projections. Roll over the lines to see the observed or estimated population for a given year.

View the Interactive Chart

World Population Knowledge Quiz

Are you a Population Powerhouse or just a Demographic Dabbler? Take the World Population Knowledge Quiz to test your understanding of human history and the impacts of population growth.

Take the Quiz

Lesson Plans

The following lesson plans are written for high school grades and are an especially great fit for AP Human Geography and AP Environmental Science courses. Lesson plans are free to download and share.

Peopling of Our Planet

How did global population grow to 8 billion? Use the Timeline to guide students through an interactive exploration of advances in medicine, nutrition and sanitation since the Industrial Revolution.

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Demographically Divided World

How do trends in fertility and life expectancy vary around the world? Engage students in inquiry-based activities to explore the disparities among regions and the factors that contribute to them.

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The Human-made Landscape

What impacts has our growing population had on physical geography? Students learn about changes humans have made to the Earth as demand for agriculture and settlements increased throughout the Anthropocene era and display their findings by creating a Story Map Journal using ArcGIS.

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Carbon Crunch

How have environmental concerns changed over the years and how equipped are different countries to deal with a current global threat – climate change? Sharpen students’ understanding with these activities that combine environmental science with geographic literacy.

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Meeting Human Needs

How have human needs changed through the ages? Students create timelines linking needs with inventions, discoveries and population changes across the globe.

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Where Do We Grow from Here?

What will our global society be like in the coming decades? Students model population projections, find out where the next 2 billion people are expected to live, and what some groups are doing to work toward a sustainable future.

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Exploring the Timeline

Students analyze the Quick Trip to 8 Billion poster’s timeline to answer questions and complete a graphic organizer that explores how past events have contributed to our current population size and resource use.

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Infographic Scavenger Hunt

Through collaborative analysis of the Quick Trip to 8 Billion poster’s infographics, students investigate today’s demographics and resource use, and consider how we can reduce future environmental impacts.

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Report Card for the Planet

Using the Quick Trip to 8 Billion poster, students complete a “report card” to determine whether progress has been made in key indicators of human well-being and environmental health, and evaluate what these changes mean.

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How Many People Can Our World Support?

Human population, now over 8 billion, cannot continue to grow indefinitely. There are limits to the life-sustaining resources earth can provide us. In other words, there is a carrying capacity for human life on our planet.

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Women’s Status and Fertility Rates

The role and status of women around the world is very closely tied to fertility rates and ultimately, population growth trends. Universal education and gender equity are both very important topics to consider when discussing the link between fertility trends and women.

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Projecting Global Population to 2050 and Beyond

Just a hundred years ago the world’s population had yet to reach two billion, less than a fourth of the number on earth today. Now, as our global family grows from 8 billion, adding tens of millions more people each year, where are we headed? If and when will our world population stop growing?

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Urbanization and the Megacity

Across the globe and in a short amount of time, we’ve given up the tractor for the city bus, the open landscape for one of brick and mortar. We are now an urban planet. In fact, by 2008 over 50 percent of the global population was living in urban areas. It was 3 percent in 1800.

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