Population is 7 Billion!
Population: 7 Billion!
October 31, 2011 -- Today, there are officially 7 billion people living on planet Earth! There's no way to know, of course, when exactly the 7 billionth baby is born, but today is the United Nations' best estimate.
Seven billion is a hard number to imagine, but each of us counts as one of those people. If you started now to count out loud to 7 billion, how long do you think it would take you? According to National Geographic, it would take you... 200 years! To watch their video putting it into perspective, click here.
There are 7,000 different languages in the world in nearly 200 countries.
Do you know which country has the highest population? Right now it's China with 1.3 billion people ... but when you're about 30 years old, many experts believe India's population will surpass China's. National Geographic also made a video on what the "typical" person on our planet looks like. Click here to watch it.
When you are about 40 years old ... the population will be around 9 billion! Every second, five people are born and two people die, according to NG. By the time you finish reading this post, approximately 200 babies will have been born!
Having more people who are born than die is part of the reason why the population keeps growing. People, in general, are also living longer. Some people live longer than others, of course, but how long do you think people generally live to be? The average (meaning that if you took all the people who live less and live more and found what's in the middle) person in the U.S. lives to be about 78 years old. In some countries in Africa, however, people aren't expected reach their 40th birthday. You can see some life expectancy charts by country by clicking here.
Do you think with so many people that Earth is getting crowded? Earth is, afterall, 70% covered by oceans. You would think we'd be running out of space, but we're not. NG says that if all 7 billion people on the planet stood shoulder-to-shoulder, it would fill just the city of Los Angeles. And that if all 7 billion people were invited to a dance party with room for your best moves, we would only fill the state of Rhode Island!
We have the space, but we are stressing the world's resources. And we need to be careful of that. There are always more people being born, and those people need to eat, drink, and use energy. But there's only one Earth.
Part of the problem is that our resources also aren't distributed evenly. Experts say there is enough food produced on the planet to be able to feed everyone, but it's not all where it needs to be. Some people have more than they need, others don't have enough, and it's a tough problem to solve. Estimates are that about 1 in 7 people in the world don't have enough food. Nearly half the world lives on less than $2 a day.
And while for many of us getting a drink of water or taking a bath is as easy as turning on the tap, in some parts of the world, a person can spend many hours a day in search of clean water for their family. Often, as well, nations with more wealth consume a disproportionate amount of resources per person than those in developing nations.
How does our population stack up compared to the animal kingdom? Do you think there are more or less animals and bugs on the planet ... or more people?
Actually, it's insects. There are 10 quintillion insects! That's a 10 with 15 zeros after it! There are an estimated 10,000 trillion ants. The total weight of ants is more than the total weight of humans. For every one of you, there are 1 million ants! There are also, just for context, 24 billion chickens in the world ... and about 1.2 billion cows.
But the more people there are, the more of Earth's resources we use, and the less habitat we leave for the increasing number of endangered species. There are only around 100,000 gorillas left, only 50,000 polar bears, less than 10,000 tigers, 2,000 giant pandas, and only 200 California condors. So taking care of our planet also means taking care of the animals.
To make a personal pledge for what you think you can do to help make a 7 billion person world livable for everyone, click here.