Sunday, August 24, 2008

How many people have ever lived?

Estimates vary from 45-120 billion. Due to uncertainties in when Homo Sapiens began (or even which homids to include), and the lack of robust statistical data on population and birth rates until modern times, these estimates are likely to be off by billions or even tens of billions.

The most recent estimate that I've found is from a Population Reference Bureau article which placed the number of people that have been born from 50,000 BC to mid-2002 at 106,456,367,669

Taking estimated birth rates for 2003-2008 and starting with the estimated mid-2002 population (6,215,000,000) and population estimates for each year to mid-2008, I calculated that approximately 776 million people have been born since the 2002 estimate - putting the total number of humans born at over 107 billion. Based on the current estimate for world population (6,677,564,000 for July 2008), this would means that about 6.2 % of all humans who have ever lived, are alive today.

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