APR 27, 2016 9:46 AM PDT

Earth

WRITTEN BY: Xuan Pham

According to Worldometers, the world's population at the time of this writing is a staggering 7,418,500,693. That's 7.4 billion people and the number is increasing every second as birth rate far exceeds death rate. This has many people wondering if and when our population will exceed the limits of earth. Just how many people can the earth really hold?

Many scientists think Earth has a maximum carrying capacity of 9 billion to 10 billion people. But don't be fooled by this reassuring number. Earth's resources are finite and they're decreasing steadily at the rate of human consumption. This means the availability of freshwater and food sources will be under severe constraints with the rise in populations. And if the entire population became vegetarian, people would consume so much grains and produce there would be little to nothing left to support livestock. So while the 10 billion mark seems safe and far away, the reality is that our way of life at that point will not likely for the better.
About the Author
I am a human geneticist, passionate about telling stories to make science more engaging and approachable. Find more of my writing at the Hopkins BioMedical Odyssey blog and at TheGeneTwist.com.
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