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The population
The Kyoto Protocol

Population Part One

Population Home Part I Part II
Part III Part IV Part V

Current and Future Population

The human population on Earth is reaching unprecedented numbers . In July 1999 the world population reached 6 billion (1). In fact, "there has been more growth in population since 1950 than during the 4 million preceding years since our early ancestors first stood upright."(2) And we are far from stabilization as there will have been more children born in the 1990s than ever before. It took until 1930 for the world's population to reach 2 billion; in just the last decade of the 20 th century an additional 1.5 billion children were born (3).

Historically , the world's population rose very gradually through the centuries. About 2,000 years ago the population hovered around 300 million people, mildly fluctuating but not growing considerably. It took an additional 1600 years before the population doubled to 600 million, from where it climbed gradually until around 1900 when the population really started to take off. By 1950 there were 2.5 billion people on the planet, or 53% more people in just 50 years. From 1950 to 2000, humankind will have grown 140% to over 6 billion.

It is important to note that counting the approximate number of people living in the world is difficult and often inaccurate. For example, the United States Census Bureau missed over 5 million people in its 1990 count. That's "enough to fill Chicago twice over."(4) You can imagine how difficult it would be to get a precise count in countries that are not as developed as the U.S. No accurate census has ever been taken in some parts of Africa . It is important to consider statistics from several sources in order to get a feel for the range of possible estimates.

Current World Population Estimates












( 6 )



( 7 )



( 7 )


6 billion 

( 1 )

Note: Many sources have borrowed information from other sites, so these statistics have been double-checked to make sure they do not overlap from the same original source.

Years per Billion Added to the Population (3)