Population Readings & Tools

Our population is expected to grow to 10 billion by the end of this century, yet the Earth’s size remains the same. Slowing human population growth and lowering our use of natural resources are key to reducing the impact we have on the planet. Explore these resources to learn more about Earth’s carrying capacity, population projections to 2050, the relationship between the status of women and fertility rates, and the effects of urbanization. Additional tools coming soon.


How Many People Can Our World Support?

Human population, now over 7 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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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 third of the number on earth today. Now, as our global family grows from 7.3 billion, adding 80 million people each year, where are we headed? If and when will our world population stop growing?

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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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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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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

My Population Number

Just a hundred years ago the world’s population had yet to reach two billion, less than a third of the 7 billion people on earth today. So where do you fit in the 7 billion? Enter your birthdate to find out.

Find My Number

Interactive Population Projection

This interactive chart shows estimates and probabilistic projections of total world population as published by the United Nations in their 2017 Revision of the World Population Prospects. 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