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A New Look at Seven Billion People

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posted on Oct, 26 2011 @ 11:06 AM
As many of us know, the world population has reached a staggering 7 billion!

For some, such as myself, this is a hard number to fathom. Thankfully, in order to better understand exactly what seven billion people amount to, National Geographic has done a great job of putting this number into better perspective.

The author of the article, Nigel Holmes, has used the following premise in order to show exactly how much physical space would be required if all seven billion people got together.

The premise is simple:
Let's imagine we are having a party and invited all seven billion people to attend.

Exactly how much space would be needed to host such a party?
What size venue would be required to give everyone enough room to dance?

Holmes uses a space the size of six square feet per person.
In comparison, elevators and subways generally allow approximately 2 - 3 square feet per person.

(Note: I don't think they were using the NYC subway at 6 PM as the guideline for this number since you are lucky to get 2 - 3 inches, let alone feet. But I digress...)

As stated above, it's a party so the figure six square feet will give every party-goer enough room to move around and dance a bit. how much space would be needed for all seven billion people to have six square feet?

7 billion people
6 square feet
= 42 billion square feet

or, 1506.5 square miles

To make things a little simpler, let's use 1500 square miles as the size of the venue.

Now, if we look at areas of this size, we are left with quite a few choices, some of which I have listed below:

-- the city of Multan, Pakistan
-- the state of Rhode Island (some people would need swimsuits since a portion is now covered by water)
-- the emirate of Dubai
-- Juneau Icefield, Alaska

Pretty cool, no? If we wanted to get everyone in the world together we could simply have everyone meet right in Rhode Island, and surprisingly, we would fit with a little personal space included!

Now, if we merely wanted to take a picture of all seven billion people, and had everyone standing shoulder to shoulder, we would only need approximately 500 square miles, or simply, the city of Los Angeles.

Here is the link to the video that Holmes put together in order to illustrate his correlations:

World Party by Nigel Holmes

Also, some other fun facts about the number 7 billion to help everyone get a better grasp on the sheer magnitude of such of figure:

-- It would take 200 years to count to 7 billion out loud
-- 7 billion steps would take you around the globe 133 times
-- In 1800, the world population was only one billion
-- In 2045, well within many of our lifetimes, the population could be as high as 9 billion. That's another 2 billion people in only 34 years!!

Here is the video that compiles the above stats. The video is a little less than 3 minutes long and by the time you are done watching it, another 170 people, or so, will have been added to the population.

In case my fabulous embedding job didn't work, here's the link: Seven Billion

Thanks for reading and I hope at least a few people found it interesting.

Source: National Geographic

and if you are interested in picking up the issue itself, this particular information can be found in January 2011 issue, beginning on page 24 and continues on page 36.

Note: National Geographic is doing an entire series on Population this year in case anyone is interested. You can find copies at your local library and a lot of the information can also be found on their website, here:
National Geographic Magazine

Finally, some pictures that also help to put the total population into perspective can also be found below:

7 billion, in pictures

posted on Oct, 26 2011 @ 11:16 AM
Awesome video and OP. Starred and Flagged. I'm glad that they brought up that space is not an issue. I've heard plenty of say "We're running out of room!"'s like dang, really? Have you ever left your city? There are vast areas of NOTHING out there.

posted on Oct, 26 2011 @ 11:22 AM
reply to post by Juston


I purposely didn't make this is into an overpopulation issue/debate, but I think that the landmass required, which of course does not include the necessary resources for each person to live, sheds new light on the relatively small amount of actual square footage that 7 billion people would occupy.

posted on Oct, 26 2011 @ 11:24 AM
You could even fit them in an area of land small than that and still keep the 6sq ft. per head if you put them in big skyscrapers that filled the vicinity.

posted on Oct, 26 2011 @ 11:29 AM
Lets not assume that they get 6 sq feet per person.
Lets assume that they only get their own personal space and nothing else.

Whats the average weight of a human? Apparently about 80kg for adults, but there's also a whole bunch of babies and small children, so for this purpose I'll say 60kg.
Also need an average density of 1010 kg/m3

So... each human takes up 0.059 cubic meter.
7 billion of that is 413 million square meters
Cube root of that is 745.

Thus, aliens could pack us all into a box 745 meters (just under half a mile) on each side.

posted on Oct, 26 2011 @ 11:32 AM

Originally posted by alfa1
So... each human takes up 0.059 cubic meter.
7 billion of that is 413 million square meters
Cube root of that is 745.

Thus, aliens could pack us all into a box 745 meters (just under half a mile) on each side.

I admit, that wasn't something that I had even thought about or considered. Rather clever though to include how easy it would be, given such a relatively small "box" needed, for aliens to merely beam us all up!!

posted on Oct, 26 2011 @ 11:35 AM
A lot of people like to claim that the Earth is overpopulated with humans, but this isn't really the case.

Throughout the world, standards of living are progressing, and a higher standard of living is generally linked to lower birth-rates.

For example, in many oil-rich Middle Eastern countries, such as the UAE, Bahrain, Qatar, etc., the birth-rate is continually falling due to the improved social conditions which are being implemented in these countries.

Many European countries' birth-rates barely reach natural population replacement levels.

The highest birth-rates in the world are almost exclusively in Africa. But these countries also have the highest infant mortality rates, and the lowest standards of healthcare in the world. But, once again, as these countries continue to economically develop, then their population rates will reach a gradual plateau.

Unfortunately, it's these high African population increases, in comparison to the low, or non-existent, increases in the population of many European countries, which makes me highly suspicious of the agenda of those who consider there to be an ''over-population crisis'' in the world.

posted on Oct, 26 2011 @ 11:44 AM
Why does no one ever put the rate of people dying next to the rate of people being born?

posted on Oct, 26 2011 @ 11:49 AM

Originally posted by mnmcandiez
Why does no one ever put the rate of people dying next to the rate of people being born?

Actually, and I believe it is in the video, every one second:

5 people are born


2 people die.

posted on Oct, 26 2011 @ 12:41 PM
reply to post by lpowell0627

Very interesting post! Thanks for sharing. Now consider (JUST FOR FUN) that the U.S. National debt is 14-15 Trillion dollars, divide that by 7 billion people.. If all 7 billion paid approximately $2,142.85, we'd have this thing paid off (assuming that all spending would suddenly cease, or heavy cuts were made).

If we were to pay all the debts created by all nations around the world, (which comes to 40.5 Trillion according to the Global Debt Clock ) then we'd each have to pay about $5,714.00.

On one hand it doesn't seem like much, but considering that there are a lot of children and elderly who couldn't possibly pay that kind of money, the burden of payment would come to about twice as much, let's say $11,428.00 if not more, per adult.

Then take into consideration that some adults are unemployed, disabled, incarcerated,.... that number might climb up to $22,856.00 or more per working, able-bodied adult.

Consider that it takes some people in some nations years to make that kind of money (assuming they don't spend any money on the cost of living). It seems that even if all the able-bodied people came together to try to pay the world debt off, it would be an impossible feat. Maybe if some people with bigger wealth were willing to pay more than is required of them, it might ease the burden by a fraction.

All hypothetical of course, but it makes me think.

posted on Oct, 26 2011 @ 01:16 PM
reply to post by 2manyquestions

I thought the same thing and even had a blurb that I deleted about equating the global debt to the global population.

The reason I deleted it is because I remembered that:

-- in Rwanda, the per capita income is $510.
-- in Congo, the per capita GDP is about $189.
-- in Somalia, it is approximately $139.

Whereas, in the US, it is around $46,000.
And we are actually ranked 10th according to the World Bank figures.

The main problem of course is that the population is growing the fastest in the poorest of areas.

List of Countries by GDP per Capita

posted on Oct, 26 2011 @ 01:55 PM
reply to post by lpowell0627

Trying to calculate the real numbers would be a huge headache, if not next to impossible. The hypothetical numbers are extremely optimistic, but I think they put into perspective the mess we're in.

posted on Oct, 26 2011 @ 02:48 PM
reply to post by 2manyquestions

The figures of course assume that all persons are equal and are entitled to (or receive) equal shares of said GDP.

I would like to see someone tell a woman in Kenya feeding 8 children on $1.00 per day that her "fair share" of the debt is a little over $5000.

I think the hardest part is that it's a terrible cycle and one that is very difficult to fix.

The poorer the people, the less education.
The less education, the more children they produce.
The more children they produce, the higher the population rises.
The higher the population, the more resources and money that is needed to support everyone.

I don't claim to have the answer, but I certainly know that the current formula is not sustainable.
Thanks for your reply.

posted on Oct, 26 2011 @ 03:30 PM
reply to post by lpowell0627

As population grows and resources dwindle, it's hard to say what might happen to correct it. Maybe many will rise to the occasion and find ways of balancing it all out. On the other hand we could see wars taking care of said issues. Some will argue that we have plenty of resources to feed every single one of those 7 billion, but some fail to realize that although water and fertile land are plenty, certain people stand in the way of progress. It's a subject that could be discussed for pages on end, so I'll just leave it at that.

posted on Oct, 26 2011 @ 03:38 PM

edit on 26-10-2011 by redstorm because: Ramble ramble ramble ramble.

posted on Oct, 26 2011 @ 07:12 PM
Jeez, I hate to be a downer (no sarcasm), but 6 square feet of space does not take into account the commensurate space required to grow the food required for one person; nor does it account for the waste output of one person.

At a conservative estimate 5 acres of diversified crops are needed to feed 1 person for a year (if one is preserving food).

And, of course, we can crunch energy usage into a formula that converts it to equivalent space, but I'm not great with that stuff. Still.

Edit to add: Gah, just read the OP's subsequent post addressing this issue. My dumb.
edit on 26-10-2011 by mistermonculous because: gah.

posted on Oct, 27 2011 @ 08:08 AM
reply to post by mistermonculous

Reality is sometimes a downer, and you are correct, the space allotment is for dancing, not producing food. However, with all seven billion people fitting into the State of Rhode Island, it certainly leaves plenty of available land left for crops, livestock, etc.

Thanks for the reply.

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