How many people have lived on the earth since the proverbial dawn of time?

From earth, you come and earth you shall return, or some such humanistically grounded scientific phrase leads to a scientifically grounded human question: how many homo sapiens have come from and returned to the earth in the history of the planet?

On November 15, 2022, the global population reached 8 billion. According to a report by the PRB (Population Reference Bureau), a fascinating mole hole to travel into, the 8 billion people hanging on with their feet, hands, whatever, to this rock spinning in the universe represent 7% of the total world historical population of homo sapiens over the last 220,000 years.

"Calculating the number of people who have ever lived is part science and part art. No demographic data exist for more than 99% of the span of human existence. Still, with some assumptions about population size throughout human history, we can get a rough idea of this number:  About 117 billion members of our species have ever been born on Earth."

The study, "How Many People Have Ever Lived on Earth?"by Toshiko Kaneda and Carl Haub recreated a temporal data set with a methodology that was part "science, art, and guessing." Organizing an inquiry into the history, archeology, and politics of food, war, peace, medicine, disease, pandemics, and the weather, the findings give new meaning to a collective genealogy and a shared history. Then eugenics happened.

The World-O-Meter offers a second-by-second running-meter update of the world's population, tracking births, deaths, and population growth by the day (today) and year. It also has world population sections with graphs, tables, and charts organized by region, religion, historical data, forecasts, global growth rate, and other variables.

I encourage you to follow these inter-web holes (that's a mixed metaphor or at least a poorly executed network) at the pace of a mole, which in some sense the way the earth may experience the memory of the 109 billion homo sapiens that once inhabited the planet.

Check out this vintage Boing post from 2009, "Census of the dead, in infographic form."

Note: This entire post assumes a hybrid-mixed use of the Gregorian calendar for comfort and familiarity while recognizing that the time clock and geography of the universe, and the history of humans on the earth, do not compost themselves for any garden of Eden.