# of people alive today > all previous humanity?
February 8, 2004 10:46 PM   Subscribe

I heard that the amount of people alive today is greater than the total amount that have died in human history. I understand it's speculative, but is there any truth to it? If not, will it be true at some point?
posted by SimStupid to Grab Bag (6 answers total)
No. And unless the population of the Earth reaches 60 billion, it won't happen.
posted by calwatch at 11:07 PM on February 8, 2004

6 billion is the current population. All time human population is estimated at 106 billion by another source, which is probably way more than the Earth could ever sustain at one time.
posted by teg at 11:11 PM on February 8, 2004

Snopes (calwatch's link) is always the best place to start to check the voracity of dubious claims.
posted by sharksandwich at 6:12 AM on February 9, 2004

Does this claim originate in the opening lines of Arthur C. Clarke's "2001: A Space Odyssey," by any chance?

It sounds like an inversion, or an attempted updating for purposes of advocacy, of these famous lines: "Behind every man now alive stand thirty ghosts, for that is the ratio by which the dead outnumber the living. Since the dawn of time, roughly a hundred billion human beings have walked the planet Earth."
posted by adamgreenfield at 9:21 AM on February 9, 2004

Yeah, the voices tell me the queue for reincarnation is a bitch and a half.
posted by scarabic at 2:10 PM on February 9, 2004

Response by poster: yes, adamgreenfield, that's definitely where i got the idea from, though i didn't realize it
posted by SimStupid at 9:34 PM on February 9, 2004

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