World population

The world’s population now exceeds 7.8 billion people. Our population is still growing by more than 80 million people every year and is likely to keep growing until the end of the century, unless we take action.

It took the human population until 1800 to reach 1 billion people – we now add a billion more every 12 to 15 years. Since 1970, our numbers have more than doubled.

Learn more about our numbers here.

See our latest news stories and blog posts about world population below.

27 March 2020

Study: preference for small families is 'contagious'

As highly social creatures, much of what we say and do is influenced by the people close to us. A new paper examines this effect on family size and consumption behaviour and concludes that smaller families and sustainable lifestyles could be achieved by facilitating the evolution of social norms.

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11 July 2020

World Population Day 2020 Live Q&A

Join us for a live panel discussion on the link between population and the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

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Deforestation
13 March 2020

Population growth and environmental destruction fuel deadly diseases

Our growing population and resulting overexploitation of nature are facilitating the emergence and spread of infectious diseases like COVID-19.

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Liberian school girl
5 March 2020

UN report: World still largely hostile to girls

Despite some progress over the past 25 years, girls under age 18 around the world continue to face unacceptable discrimination and violence driven by deeply entrenched gender inequality, according to a new report.

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African women carrying baskets
27 February 2020

Family planning services still falling behind population growth

According to a new study, the number of women of reproductive age who wish to avoid pregnancy but who are not using any modern form of birth control is currently around 270 million and may remain this high in 2030 due to rapid population growth and slow progress in improving access.

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Shipping
17 February 2020

The ‘blue acceleration’: ocean plunder in the Anthropocene

A new study highlights the rapidly increasing pressure on the world’s oceans as a result of human population growth and burgeoning demand for resources.

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Contraceptives
4 February 2020

Which European countries spend the most on global family planning?

A new report shows that Europe spent a total of 845 million Euros on global sexual and reproductive health and family planning in 2018 – an overall increase of 5% compared to 2017. Most countries either increased or maintained their funding levels, yet major shortfalls and political barriers remain.

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Deer crossing road
24 January 2020

Wildlife habitat crumbling under weight of human footprint

A new study shows that the majority of wildlife ranges are now under intense human pressure due to population growth and changes in the use of the land.

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Chris Packham
17 January 2020

Chris Packham: we need to talk about population

In a landmark and powerful documentary on the BBC, Population Matters patron Chris Packham looked at the challenges of population growth, and made an impassioned plea for it to become a core part of environmental debate.

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Mountains and lake
10 January 2020

Here's why 2020 could be a ‘super-year’ for nature

Despite the climate and biodiversity crises continuing to escalate, environmentalists are calling 2020 a ‘super-year’ for nature because of several upcoming international policy meetings that have the potential to set nature on a path to recovery. Population Matters is actively campaigning to ensure population solutions are recognised and implemented.

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