View Full Version : World's population
06-20-2003, 08:32 AM
What percentage does the current population of the world make up of the total amount of people that have ever lived?
06-20-2003, 08:50 AM
06-20-2003, 08:59 AM
Estimates of the total roster of humankind rely heavily on guesswork, a state of affairs not entirely unknown to us here at the Straight Dope, and accordingly the numbers vary widely.
Demographers have come up with estimates ranging between 69 billion and 110 billion humans. This gives us a spread of 41 billion, a pretty formidable margin of error. ....
If the paleolithic crowd (1 million years to 25,000 years ago) strikes you as too crude for admission to the communion of saints, subtract 36 billion or so from the figures above.
So allow for 33- 74 billion pepole total, less 6 billion today leaves 27-68 billion people dead.
So the present population is between 22% and 9% of all the people that have died, or between 18% and 8% of all the people who have ever lived depending on exactly what way you phrase the question.
Back of the envelope guess agrees with the master!
From population data here http://home.worldonline.nl/~mvb/world/whist2.htm and assuming a 30 life span the total population from 0 CE to now would be 130 Billion. So our 6 Billion or so work out to 5% of total human life. If we tack on the additional paleolithic crowd we'd get 4%.
06-20-2003, 10:08 AM
Interesting - the UK version of the programme 'Who wants to be a millionaire' recently has had this as a question with the 4 choices for answers as 0.01%, 0.1%, 1% and 10% with 10% being their correct answer. I might try to contact the programme makers to find out their source of this information. Many thanks for your replies.
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