Population growth in 2019

In 2019, United Nation’s demographers expect global population will grow by a net increase of about 81 million people. This will be the result of about 140 million births and 59 million deaths. A great resource for these statistics is the UN Population Division’s data download center.

Isn’t it remarkable that the human civilization is expanding by 1.5 million more of us per week? If you like playing with numbers, this works out to 220,000+ people per day. 9,000+ per hour. 150 more per minute. 3 more every couple of seconds. And, yes, for the skeptical reader, these figures represent net growth of births minus deaths.

One powerful way to think about this sort of growth is this: what would you actually think if there were 150 more gorillas on the planet every minute? What about tigers? Wolves? Think about it – non-stop, minute after minute, day after day, year after year. 

The differences between the high, medium and low UN projections are hinged on assumptions about fertility rates around the world. Again, the medium projection uses the UN’s best estimate of fertility trends through 2100 in each country. The high projection calculates population growth at a level where fertility is 0.5 children higher; the low projection calculates at a level 0.5 children lower.

Hence, just a 0.5 reduction in fertility around the world could result in 3.5 billion fewer people by 2100 than the medium projection forecasts. On the other hand, if the world decides to be complacent and fertility tracks at 0.5 higher than anticipated, the planet would then be expected to provide adequately for 15.5 billion.