A crowd of people crosses a street in Tokyo, Japan.
Credit: Crowd image via Shutterstock.
Eleven billion people. That's the number of humans the United Nations estimates could call Earth home by the end of this century — or more than 4 billion people than exist today. That's a staggering amount compared to the mere 2.5 billion people alive in 1950.
Those 11 billion people stand to stamp an enormous footprint onto the Earth: All of them must eat and have enough drinking water; they all generate waste and potentially help to spread disease; they could affect the planet's already changing climate and how Earth's other species fare; they could even affect whether humans become an interplanetary species.
In a weeklong series, LiveScience is taking a look at the impacts a population of 11 billion people might have on our home planet. Our reporting will transport you to America's heartland farms, Hong Kong's rapidly-filling landfills, lemur territory within the jungles of Madagascar, and many other places where the pressures of the world's burgeoning population are increasingly being felt, and finally to Mars, to where we may one day expand.
Each day, we'll publish a new story, along with accompanying features, according to the schedule below. So check back each day to find out how world population affects Earth and humanity's ability to live on it.
Tuesday, Nov. 19
Wednesday, Nov. 20
Thursday, Nov. 21
Friday, Nov. 22
Monday, Nov. 25
Tuesday, Nov. 26
Wednesday, Nov. 27