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How many people live on our planet?

People at an Islamic festival in BangladeshPeople at an Islamic festival in BangladeshThe world’s population increased massively during the 20th century. In 1900 it stood at 1.6 billion. By the end of the century, it topped 6 billion. It passed the 7.5 billion mark in 2017. Although population growth is slowing, the population is still increasing at a rate of 79 million people a year. According to the United Nations, the world population may be greater than 10 billion people by 2050.

A graph showing population growth from 1760 to todayA graph showing population growth from 1760 to today

Population growth

Rapid population growth began in about 1800 with the Industrial Revolution. Most of the increase was in Europe and North America because people received better food and health care. In 1900 most of the world’s largest cities were in these continents.

China is the world's most populous country, followed by India. However, India has a younger population and more children are being born. This means it will grow faster, reaching 1.4 billion in 2022, when it is likely to overtake China.

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