Scientists believe modern humans have lived on the Earth for 200,000 years. We’ve made our mark – for good and bad – more than any other living thing. In the beginning, people hunted animals, fished and gathered plants, nuts and berries for food. They were nomads – moving from place to place. People didn’t live very long and the world was still an open, empty place. The total human population was never more than about 15,000 people.
Around 9,000 years ago, people learned to grow crops and keep animals for food. They lived longer and had more children. The population began to grow. In 1800 CE, there were almost 1 billion people on Earth. Today, almost 7 billion people live on the planet.
Fun Facts about Population Growth for Kids
- Wild game and food isn’t always available year-round. Plants die in the winter and animals are hard – and sometimes even dangerous – to hunt. Without the knowledge of farming, population numbers stayed low.
- How has the population grown by 6 billion people in only 200 years? Mostly because people have better access to nutritious food, medical care and clean water.
- People today live longer. Although in many places, people are having fewer children than they did in the past, those children are more likely to survive to adulthood. In some parts of the world, people are having many more children.
- In some parts of the world, such as Namibia, Africa, bushmen still live a nomadic life, searching for roots, plants and game.
- Before the 1800s, most people were poor farmers. The Industrial Revolution created new jobs for people. They also had faster ways of making the things they needed, as well as sources of heat and light for their homes.
- For thousands of years, people thought illnesses were caused by bad air or evil spirits. Many people died from diseases, such as smallpox, mumps and cholera. Today, we know that many diseases come from bacteria and viruses. Vaccines and clean conditions have allowed populations to grow.
Population Growth Vocabulary
- Population: number of people living at one time
- Adulthood: the age of becoming an adult
- Access: ability to gain or reach
- Nomad: one who wanders from place to place
- Vaccine: medical treatment designed to prevent disease
Learn More All About Population Growth
Check out this cool video about Population Growth for kids:
This is a graphic video explaining the growth of population since 1 A.D.
Population Growth Q&A
Question: Where do the most people live?
Answer: Four out of 10 people live in China or India. The United States is the next most populated country with 312 million people. Remember, though, that the U.S. is a big place. Many smaller countries are much more crowded.
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