The truth is it’s just an estimate, and no-one knows exactly how many people are in the world. The UN estimates that the 7 billionth person was born today, but given that census data inevitably contains some inaccuracies and some countries such as Afghanistan and Lebanon have not held a census in decades that estimate is a bit suspect.
Other experts have chimed in with other statistics – if all 7 billion people got together we’d fit into the Los Angeles city limits, there’s still enough food for the current population – in fact one expert reckons we’re good for at least another two million people.
What was astonishing for me is that I could remember when the 6 billionth child was born – which turns out to be just 12 years ago. Then for more fun I found a tool on the BBC site to calculate my number – where I stand in the 7 million.
photo from National library NZ on the commons, via flickr