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Future Humans: How Many Of Us Will There Be?

Planet Earth is a vast place, with humans scattered all over it.

But how we're distributed is far from even. About half of the planet's 7.5 billion people live in just seven countries. China tops the list with over 1.4 billion people, while its neighbor India is catching up fast at 1.3 billion. Though far below the billion mark, the United States comes in third, with about 325 million people. Indonesia, Brazil, Pakistan and Nigeria round out the top seven.

Dividing the world up by continents can give a sense of where the world's population is clustered. North and South America combined have about a billion people. Africa has 1.3 billion, and Europe is at 742 million. And then there's Asia, with 4 1/2 billion people. That's more than half of the humans on Earth.

How many more people will there be in the next hundred years? The United Nations estimated in a report released Wednesday that by 2100, the human population will actually stop growing.

By then, the U.N. predicts that more people will live in cities, make more money, have more to eat, get better health care and have fewer kids.

There will probably be about another half-billion people in Asia and 3 billion more in Africa, which is currently the continent with the youngest average age.

If the U.N. estimate holds up, there will eventually be 11.2 billion people living on Planet Earth, about 50 percent more than the current 7.5 billion. And 80 percent of future earthlings will live on just two continents — Asia and Africa.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Corrected: June 22, 2017 at 11:00 PM CDT
A previous version of this story incorrectly said Africa and Europe have a combined population of about 1 billion. In fact, the continents have a total of about 2 billion people.
John Poole is a senior visuals editor at NPR. He loves working with talented people and teams to create compelling stories that resonate with the 40 million people who visit NPR's digital platforms each month.
Malaka Gharib is the deputy editor and digital strategist on NPR's global health and development team. She covers topics such as the refugee crisis, gender equality and women's health. Her work as part of NPR's reporting teams has been recognized with two Gracie Awards: in 2019 for How To Raise A Human, a series on global parenting, and in 2015 for #15Girls, a series that profiled teen girls around the world.
Madeline Sofia is the host of Short Wave — NPR's daily science podcast. Short Wave will bring a little science into your life, all in about 10 minutes. Sometimes it'll be a good story, a smart conversation, or a fun explainer, but it'll always be interesting and easy to understand. It's a break from the relentless news cycle, but you'll still come away with a better understanding of the world around you.