The number of dead people on Earth


this is my first question here… be kind to me :slight_smile:

Some years ago, I recall a comment (I can’t remember the source) along the lines of:

“Behind every living person stands 30 dead.”

As I say, this was some time ago (possibly 30 years or more).

My question is in two parts:

  1. What is the corresponding ratio today? I.e. how many more dead humans are there than live ones?

  2. Given the current rate of population growth, and assuming that ways will be found to nourish the additional human biomass, when will the number of living humans exceed the number of dead?

Thanks in advance!

It seems current population growth world wide is 1.3%/year and peaked in 1965-1970 at 2.1%/year (cite ).

Historically almost all population growth has been in the past century. In 1900 there were ~1.65 billion people. Today there are something over 6 billion (cite2). From that cite you may be able to cobble some math together to get closer to an answer to your question but at a guess I would think there are more people alive today than have died throughout human history.

Not even close. We’ve done this many times and the answer usually comes out as an estimate of about 100,000,000,000 total humans, or about 16 dead for every living person.

I think my mistake at a “gut” feel for it was assuming a 75 year average lifespan. In retrospect most of human history has seen a far, far shorter average human lifespan so I can see where that would skew things rather dramatically from my guess.

Yes, the figure will include all those billions of infants who died only a few days old. It also includes a very long tail to the graph, as humans go back at 100,000 years, or at least 4 or 5,000 generations