World Population: How Many Billion?

In 1960, the population was about 3 billion.

Now, in 2013, the world population is estimated to be about 7 billion.

That’s right – in 50 years, the world population has doubled. And that means my parents and everyone in their generation have lived through a doubling in population. This got me to thinking: will the world population double in my lifetime or in the next 50 years? Also, how could the planet possibly sustain that much life?

According to the United Nations, the world population is expected to hit 9.6 billion by 2050 – not quite doubling in the next 50 years, but still a large increase. Life expectancy is also projected to increase world-wide, and especially in developing countries, so that adds to the number of people in the world as well.

National Geographic also hypothesizes that the population will level out around 10 billion.

With more people comes the consumption of more resources, and this could end up being a huge problem. With countries like the US and China using more and more fossil fuels and other finite resources, there is likely to be a world energy and water crisis.

For more information on the effects of people on the planet, visit National Geographic’s Population: 7 Billion special series, or watch this video adaptation, which explains the world population growth and how many resources we are using. As the video says, “it’s not space we need, it’s balance”:

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