According to the World Population Clock there are currently about 7.191 billion people alive. This year there have been 118 million births (or 264 per minute) and 49 million deaths (or 110 per minute), resulting in a net growth of 69 million people. Where will this end? Nobody can say for sure. But what we can be certain about is that the explosive growth has been slowing down for the past 40 years. I’ll let the graphs tell the story.
Here is how the world population has developed since the year 1700. The numbers come from the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs. From looking at the graph, no slowdown is visible:
However, another graph reveals that there’s more to the story. I had the computer calculate the percentage changes from one decade to the next. From 1960 to 1970 the world population grew by 22 %. This was the peak so far. After that, the growth rate continuously declined. The percentage change from 2000 to 2010 was “only” 12 %.
Of course it’s too early to conclude that this is the end of mankind’s explosive growth. There have been longer periods of slowing growth before (see around 1750 and 1850). But the data does raise this question.
Talk to me again when it’s 2020 or 2030.
Just by the way: according to estimates, about 108 billion people have been born since the beginning of mankind (see here). This implies that about 101 billion people have died so far and that of all those born, 6.5 % percent are alive today.
Did somebody say dust in the wind?