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 ←/→.
Jump to Comments

Most Recent

  • Kacper Pempel/Reuters

    Remembering Auschwitz: 70 Years After Liberation

    ​Tuesday is International Holocaust Remembrance Day, which this year marks the passage of 70 years since the January 27, 1945 liberation of the Auschwitz concentration camp in Poland by Soviet soldiers.

  • Altaf Qadri/AP

    Photos of the Week: 1/17-1/23

    This week we have scenes of India's preparation for Republic Day, a new image of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko from ESA's Rosetta spacecraft, a Chinese home-made mechanical horse, K-Pop hopefuls in Seoul, a volcano that has been creating a new island near Tonga, and much more.

  • Kin Cheung/AP

    A Bioluminescent Bloom in Hong Kong

    A bloom of Noctiluca scintillans, a large, green marine dinoflagellate that exhibits bioluminescence when disturbed, shows an eerie glow along the seashore in Hong Kong.

  • NASA

    A Look Back at Apollo 16

    In early April of 1972, NASA was preparing to launch the Apollo program's 10th manned mission, Apollo 16—the fifth to actually land on the Moon.

Join the Discussion