Fact and figures on the global population

The earth’s population has been continuously growing since 1350, but the greatest increase has occurred over the past century. Since 1950, the world’s population has nearly tripled and it currently stands at 7.35 billion. According to the UN’s average growth scenario, the human population will grow to 11.25 billion by 2100. Lebanon has the highest national population growth rate (9.37%).52 This demographic trend is driven mainly by improving medical care and the development of the surrounding infrastructural and public service areas (Figures 18–19).

The spread of family planning tools has decreased the average number of children per female; the figure fell from 4.5 in 1970 to 2.5 in 2014. Based on the three possible paces of change in the trend, the UN’s forecast defines three scenarios according to which there is an equal likelihood of the world’s population being 17 billion or 7 billion by 2100. Intermediate estimates put the world’s population at 11 billion in 2100.53

Social, economic and demographic changes have triggered more intense migration processes than ever before. While there were 175 million migrants in 2000, their figure had grown to 252 million by 2013 and the trend is unbroken. Half of the emigrants originate from 10 countries, while the five most common destination countries are the United States, Russia, Germany, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.54


Facts and figures on the global population:

  • The earth’s population grew from 1 to 2 billion over the course of 123 years, hitting the milestone in 1927. The population grew from 6 to 7 billion between 1999 and 2012, i.e. over 13 years.
  • Twenty-six percent of the global population is below the age of 15, and by 2015, the number of those aged between 10 and 24 reached 1.8 billion, an unprecedented figure.
  • Many European countries including Hungary are experiencing shrinking or stagnating populations; the 48 least developed countries account for the bulk of the world’s population.
  • Asia is of course the continent with the highest population, hosting 60% of humanity, i.e. 4.2 billion people.
  • China has the highest population in the world, followed closely by India: the former has a population of 1.35 billion, while the latter has a population of 1.25 billion. The two countries together account for 37% of the global population.
  • The world’s population grew at the slowest pace in 2011, at only 1.1%, while the greatest increase occurred in 1963, at 2.2%.
  • Antarctica is the only continent with no permanent human population; its population depends on the research conducted there.
  • The ratio of men to women in the world is 1,010:1,000.
  • Global life expectancy is 65 years, but there are huge national discrepancies in this regard. Life expectancy in Sierra Leone is only 47 years, while in Switzerland it is 88 years for someone born today.
  • If we assume that the average person weighs 70 kg, the global population weighs 285 million tons.
  • Han Chinese is the largest ethnic group in the world, accounting for 19% of the world’s population.
  • There are nearly 350 cities worldwide with populations exceeding 1 million.

Figures 18–19 Size of the Global Population Along Longitudes and Latitudes

Source: Bill Rankin

Source: Bill Rankin