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

  • Safin Hamed / AFP / Getty

    Photos of the Week: 2/18–2/24

    Flooding in California, unrest at town hall meetings across the U.S., the Naked Man Festival in Japan, continued fighting in Iraq and Syria, the end of a long-term protest in North Dakota, horse racing on a frozen Swiss lake, and much more.

  • Guillermo Arias / AFP / Getty

    10 Days Along the Border

    Earlier this month, Agence France-Presse photographers Jim Watson and Guillermo Arias traveled the length of the U.S.–Mexico border.

  • Stephen Yang / Getty

    Dakota Access Pipeline Protesters Burn Their Camp Ahead of Evacuation

    For months, protesters have camped in the frigid North Dakota winter, opposing the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline. Recently, state officials ordered them to evacuate the campground, located on federal land, due to spring flooding.

  • Manu Fernandez / AP

    A Weekend of Protest

    Over the past few days, thousands and thousands of citizens around the world marched through the streets, voicing their opposition to, or support for, dozens of issues.

Join the Discussion