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Population of the Dead | by Jon Gosier
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Population of the Dead

View the updated 2011 version here!


“How many people have ever lived?” The numbers in this piece are highly speculative but are as accurate as modern science allows. It’s widely accepted that prior to 2002 there had been somewhere between 106 and 140 billion homo sapiens born to the world. The graphic below uses the conservative number (106 bn) as the basis for a concentric circle graph. The red dot in the center is scaled to represent how many people are currently living (red) versus the dead (white). The vertical line represents time. The spectral graph above the circle shows the population ‘benchmarks’ that were used to estimate the population over time. Adding up the population numbers gets you to 106 billion. The two spheres are then used to compare against other numbers.


Update Jan 29: Fixed Spelling Mistake

Update Feb 11: Proceeds from this graphic now being donated to One Million Bones




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Uploaded on November 16, 2009