Population 7 Billion

The United Nations Population Fund estimates that in one week, on October 31, 2011, the world's population will reach 7 billion. Just 200 years ago, there were only 1 billion people on the planet, and over the next 150 years, that number grew to 3 billion. But in the past 50 years, the global population has more than doubled, and the UN projects that it could possibly grow to 15 billion by the year 2100. As the international organization points out, this increasing rate of change brings with it enormous challenges. Meeting the basic needs of so many will mean growing, shipping, and distributing more food while providing more clean water, health care, and shelter -- all without inflicting too much further damage on our environment.

Read more
Hints: View this page full screen. Skip to the next and previous photo by typing j/k or ←/→.

Most Recent

  • Anne-Marie Sorvin / USA Today Sports / Reuters

    USA Wins the 2015 Women's World Cup

    On Sunday, the United States defeated Japan 5-2 to take their third World Cup title in front of 53,300 spectators at BC Place Stadium in Vancouver, Canada.

  • Kirill Kudryavtsev / AFP / Getty

    Photos of the Week: 6/27-7/3

    A European heat wave, lightning over California, a building made of 8,500 beer bottles, shrimp fishing on horseback in Belgium, the first-ever White House Campout, mine detection rats in Cambodia, and much more

  • Olivier Morin / AFP / Getty

    All-Request Photos: Sharks, Intoxication, Guacamole, Soccer, Scalia...

    Reader requested images, including playful raccoons, Soviet armies leaving Lithuania in the 1990s, Donald Trump’s hair, a Fennec fox, and much more.

  • Lewis Hine / Library of Congress

    Child Labor in America 100 Years Ago

    In 1908, photographer Lewis Hine traveled across the U.S. to document child laborers and their workplaces. His portraits were used by reformers to drive legislation that would protect young workers or prohibit their employment.

Join the Discussion