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Top Charts 22-11: Total number of human lives and deaths ever


The world’s population has now reached 8 billion. Are more people alive today than have lived and died in the past?


No, and it’s not even close!

On November 15th, 2022, the world’s population was reported to pass the 8bn mark, a very significant milestone in human history. The global population is still growing, and the UN predicts the population will not stabilize until it reaches 11bn. However, it is not more than the total number of people who have lived and died before us.

Demographers from the Population Reference Bureau have estimated the total number of people who have ever lived to be around 117bn. That means, those alive today make up around 7% (or 1 in 14) of people who have ever lived.

Sources: The total number of people to have lived in the past was estimated by Kaneda and Haub of the PRB as at November 15th 2022. The total populations for the world, the UK, US and Canada were taken from as at November 15th 2022

Key takeaways:
  • The world’s population is larger than it has ever been, but the total number of people alive today makes up only around 7% (or 1 in 14) of people who have ever lived.
  • Whether this is the first step, the final curtain or somewhere in between, the lifespan of our species will depend on how we respond to a whole host of global challenges facing us today.
The key question is:
  • Will we be able to rise to the global challenges facing us today to ensure a long and enjoyable future for our species?
What are your thoughts?
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