the population of the world has been increasing faster and faster

Population growth is one of the most important topics we cover at Our World in Data.

For most of human history, the global population was a tiny fraction of what it is today. Over the last few centuries, the human population has gone through an extraordinary change. In 1800, there were one billion people. Today there are more kêu ca 8 billion of us.

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But after a period of very fast population growth, demographers expect the world population lớn peak by the over of this century.

On this page, you will find all of our data, charts, and writing on changes in population growth. This includes how populations are distributed worldwide, how this has changed, and what demographers expect for the future.

Key insights on Population Growth

Population cartograms show us where the world’s people are

Geographical maps show us where the world’s landmasses are; not where people are. That means they don’t always give us an accurate picture of how global living standards are changing.

One way lớn understand the distribution of people worldwide is lớn redraw the world map – not based on the area but according lớn population.

This is shown here as a population cartogram: a geographical presentation of the world where the size of countries is not drawn according lớn the distribution of land but by the distribution of people. It’s shown for the year 2018.

As the population size rather kêu ca the territory is shown in this map, you can see some significant differences when you compare it lớn the standard geographical map we’re most familiar with. 

Small countries with a high population mật độ trùng lặp từ khóa increase in size in this cartogram relative lớn the world maps we are used lớn – look at Bangladesh, Taiwan, or the Netherlands. Large countries with a small population shrink in size – look for Canada, Mongolia, nước Australia, or Russia.

You can find more details on this cartogram in our article about it:

What you should know about this data
  • This map is based on the United Nation’s 2017 World Population Prospects report. Our interactive charts show population data from the most recent UN revision. This means there may be minor differences between the figures shown on the map and the latest estimates in our other charts.
Population cartogram world

The world population has increased rapidly over the last few centuries

The tốc độ of global population growth over the last few centuries has been staggering. For most of human history, the world population was well under one million.1

As recently as 12,000 years ago, there were only 4 million people worldwide.

The chart shows the rapid increase in the global population since 1700. 

The one-billion mark wasn’t broken until the early 1800s. It was only a century ago that there were 2 billion people.

Since then, the global population has quadrupled lớn eight billion.

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Around 108 billion people have ever lived on our planet. This means that today’s population size makes up 6.5% of the total number of people ever born.2

This increase has been the result of advances in living conditions and health that reduced death rates – especially in children – and increases in life expectancy.

What you should know about this data
  • This data comes from a combination of sources, all detailed in our sources article for our long-term population dataset.
Annual world population since 10 thousand bce 1

Population growth is no longer exponential – it peaked decades ago

There’s a popular misconception that the global population is growing exponentially. But it’s not.

While the global population is still increasing in absolute numbers, population growth peaked decades ago.

In the chart, we see the global population growth rate per year. This is based on historical UN estimates and its medium projection lớn 2100.

Global population growth peaked in the 1960s at over 2% per year. Since then, rates have more kêu ca halved, falling lớn less kêu ca 1%. 

The UN expects rates lớn continue lớn fall until the over of the century. In fact, towards the over of the century, it projects negative growth, meaning the global population will shrink instead of grow.

Global population growth, in absolute terms – which is the number of births minus the number of deaths – has also peaked. You can see this in our interactive chart:

Annual population growth
2019 revision – world population growth 1700 2100

The world has passed “peak child”

Hans Rosling famously coined the term “peak child” for the moment in global demographic history when the number of children stopped increasing.

According lớn the UN data, the world has passed “peak child”, which is defined as the number of children under the age of five.

The chart shows the UN’s historical estimates and projections of the number of children under five.

It estimates that the number of children in the world peaked in 2017. For the coming decades, demographers expect a decades-long plateau before the number will decline more rapidly in the second half of the century.

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What you should know about this data
  • These projections are sensitive lớn the assumptions made about future fertility rates worldwide. Find out more from the UN World Population Division.
  • Other sources and scenarios in the UN’s projections suggest that the peak was reached slightly earlier or later. However, most indicate that the world is close lớn “peak child” and the number of children will not increase in the coming decades.
  • The ‘ups and downs’ in this chart reflect generational effects and ‘baby booms’ when there are large cohorts of women of reproductive age, and high fertility rates. The timing of these transitions varies across the world.

The UN expects the global population lớn peak by the over of the century

When will population growth come lớn an end?

The UN’s historical estimates and latest projections for the global population are shown in the chart.

The UN projects that the global population will peak before the over of the century – in 2086, at just over 10.4 billion people.

What you should know about this data
  • These projections are sensitive lớn the assumptions made about future fertility and mortality rates worldwide. Find out more from the UN World Population Division.
  • Other sources and scenarios in the UN’s projections can produce a slightly earlier or later peak. Most demographers, however, expect that by the over of the century, the global population will have peaked or slowed so sánh much that population growth will be small.

Explore data on Population Growth

Research & Writing

More Key articles on Population Growth

Demographic change

Definitions and sources

Interactive charts on Population Growth