# How Many People Have There Ever Been?

October 17, 2014

There are about 320 million Americans – right now, at least. But how many have we ever had? This isn’t the easiest number to figure out. It’s not as if all people live exactly 70 years and we always have 320 million of them at a time; then we’d just count out sets of 320 million since the United States was born. But back in 1787 the country had only about 3,400,000 (3 million 4 hundred thousand). We’re now 100 times as big as that. In fact, people who study population guess that there have been about 545 million Americans in total — which means the Americans alive today are more than half of all Americans ever! It’s even harder to figure out the total people the world has seen since the cavemen, since people didn’t count themselves up back then (or even count at all). As of 2011, one group guessed 108 billion, compared to just 7 billion people alive today. But no matter what the math looks like, we all count for something.

Wee ones: Which is more, 1 billion or 100 billion?

Little kids: Which is more, 320 million people or 545 million?  Bonus: If PRB thinks we’ve had 108 billion people of whom 7 billion are alive now, how many people have we had in the past?

Big kids: If there have been 545 million Americans in total and just 320 million are alive today, how many more citizens have we had in the past?  Bonus: If by the time today’s people are all gone we have 400 million new Americans, what will the history-long total be then?