1.5 Trends in global population numbers

Last Updated: 
June 2, 2015

Global demographic and economic indicators

This indicator reports on actual changes in human populations on the planet. This information is summarized from the United Nations Year Book1 and information from the UN Population Division2.

UN Yearbook series. Collage courtesy of UN.
UN Yearbook series. Collage courtesy of UN.

NWT focus

Increasing global human population is linked (directly and indirectly) to increases in greenhouse gas emissions  changes in long-range contaminants in northern regions, including the NWT, and to changes in demands for NWT resources. This global indicator is compared with similar indicators for the NWT in the DEMOGRAPHY focal point.

Current view: status and trend

By 2012, the estimated world population reached seven billion people and global population density was estimated as an average of 50 people per km2 of the earth’s land surface area, except Antarctica. In contrast, the NWT population density is 0.036 people per km2, 3.

Historical world population since 10,000 BCE
Historical and current world population. Source: UNEP-GRID and US Census Bureau. 2011. One Small Planet, Seven Billion People by Year End and 10.1 Billion by Century's End.

Looking forward

The global human population growth rate has been slowing since the 1960s2. Projecting future growth is difficult as it depends on world events, fertility policies in developing countries and disease prevention programs. World population is projected to reach eight to 10 billion people by 20502.

For more information

Other focal points

Contact us

Found an error or have a question? Contact the team at NWTSOER@gov.nt.ca.


Ref. 1. United Nations Statistics Division. Current. United Nation Demographic Yearbook.

Ref. 2. United Nations Population Division. Current. World Population Prospects. UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs.

Ref. 3. Bureau of Statistics, NWT. 2007. ... by the Numbers. Government of the Northwest Territories.