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Q: Population Growth and Death Rates ( No Answer,   4 Comments )
Subject: Population Growth and Death Rates
Category: Science > Social Sciences
Asked by: stm18-ga
List Price: $7.50
Posted: 26 Dec 2005 16:02 PST
Expires: 25 Jan 2006 16:02 PST
Question ID: 609946
Are there more people living today than have ever died?

Clarification of Question by stm18-ga on 26 Dec 2005 20:44 PST
Thanks.  What I'm looking for is a projection of whether or not they
will ever be equivalent, which would require an estimate for the total
number of deaths.  Any ideas?
There is no answer at this time.

Subject: Re: Population Growth and Death Rates
From: brix24-ga on 26 Dec 2005 19:45 PST
No, it appears that more people have died than are currently living.

Current world population: 6,487,587,892


Another US census site is titled "Historical Estimates of World Population"

The first column on this page is a summary of the estimates given in
columns to the right; this first column lists the lowest estimate for
each year listed.

If I sum all the values from -10,000 to 1900 (excluding all years
ending in ..40 and ..50 - so that there are at least 100 years between
estimates), I get 7,677,000,000.

Search strategy: "world population"

Methodology re adding: The table of historical estimates copies nicely
into Excel. I then deleted the rows for 1250 and similar and used the
sum function for lowest estimates from -10000 to 1900.
Subject: Re: Population Growth and Death Rates
From: brix24-ga on 26 Dec 2005 20:02 PST
Just one clarification: The total number of people who have died is
not 7,677,000,000; the actual number is greater than that. Once we
know the number of people who have died is greater than the number of
people who are currently living, we don't have to go further and get
the final number of all people who have died to answer the question as
"yes" or "no" - which I presume is what you wanted to know.
Subject: Re: Population Growth and Death Rates
From: brix24-ga on 28 Dec 2005 09:36 PST
Whether (and when) the population of the earth will exceed the total
number of people that have died depends on some uncertainties. That
said, it appears that this will not occur in the next 50 years, and
will most likely never occur.

There is a better estimate of the total number of people who have died:

The US Census Bureau lists a 1995 article by Carl Haub. If I search
Google for "How Many People Have Ever Lived on Earth?" (the title of
that article) I get this site:

as one of the hits.

This site list uncertainties and uses the word, "guesstimates." Their
discussion is informative, though. They include not only people alive
at various time benchmarks (as I did) but also "births between
benchmarks." This gives a better estimate of the total number of
people who have ever lived. Their value for the number of people who
have ever lived up to 2002 is 106,456,367,669 (14 times my simple

The US Census has a site titled "Total Midyear Population for the World: 1950-2050"

The expected world population in 2050 is 9,224,375,956	, obviously far
short of the number of people who have ever been born - and in the
meantime, the total number of people who have died keeps climbing
after 2002.

Here are some additional confirming calculations regarding the number
of people who have died in the 20th century: Going back to the article
on "How many people have ever lived on earth," I can take the
population in 1900, add in the "births between benchmarks" for 1900 -
1950, 1950 - 1995, and 1995 - 2002, and subtract the world's
population in 2002 to find that 5,242,490,715 people died between 1900
and 2002. In my previous simple underestimate, I just used that fact
that essentially all the people alive in 1900 had died by today.

Another site's numbers for total deaths in the 20th century roughly
agrees with the above site's numbers:

"Total Deaths During the 20th Century
Approximately 4,126,000,000 people have died during this century from
all causes. If man-made megadeaths account for 185 million of them,
then one out of every 22 (or 4.5%) human deaths during the 20th
Century have been caused by fellow humans."
Subject: Re: Population Growth and Death Rates
From: stm18-ga on 28 Dec 2005 13:05 PST
That's what I was looking for - thank you!

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