The world holds an estimated 7.5 billion+ people today; by 2100, that number is expected to rise to 11 billion, with the fastest growth in Africa and Asia. In June, the UN will publish new projections.
The numbers frame a core debate: How many people can the Earth hold, and what factors should be considered? While some argue that we’re exceeding capacity, others say consumption matters, too. Overpopulation “tends to point the finger at poorer parts of the world with large growth rates, and not at richer regions, which use disproportionately high amounts of resources,” explains Lucy Lamble.