As the world population is hitting 7 Billion this month, The New Yorker takes a look at the population count at various periods in our history.
Around ten thousand years ago, there were maybe five million people on earth. By the time of the First Dynasty in Egypt, the number was up to about fifteen million, and by the time of the birth of Christ it had climbed to somewhere in the vicinity of two hundred million. Global population finally reached a billion around 1800, just a couple of years after Thomas Malthus published his famous essay warning that human numbers would always be held in check by war, pestilence, or “inevitable famine.” In a distinctly un-Malthusian fashion, population then took off. It hit two billion in the nineteen-twenties, and was three billion by 1960. In 1968, when Paul Ehrlich published “The Population Bomb,” predicting the imminent deaths of hundreds of millions of people from starvation, it stood at around three and a half billion; since then, it has been growing at the rate of a billion people every twelve or thirteen years.[Billions and Billions]
India’s population was somewhere between 350 and 400 million at the time of independence and this growth chart shows how fast we reached here.