Tuesday, October 25, 2011
How much is 7 billion?

 

According the United Nations Population Division, the world population will reach 7 billion on October 31. The group estimates that the human population rose from 300 million at the start of the common era (0 AD), to one billion in 1802. Then, with the industrial revolution and advances in medicine, the population grew exponentially into what it is today.

 

We know that 7 billion is a large number, but just how large is it? Could we understand it by counting? Jeremy Harper, of Birmingham, Alabama, earned a Guinness World Record by counting to one million in 2007. He counted every day, twelve to fourteen hours a day, for three months to achieve that number. At that pace, it would take 1,750 years to reach 7 billion.

 

While counting to 7 billion isn't possible, people have traditionally used comparisons and visual aids to help them understand the magnitude of large numbers.

 

Last Friday we opened the "How much is 7 billion?" assignment to inspire iReport's creative contributors to show us how they relate to the number. Here's a couple of the coolest iReports we've received so far:

 

 

iReporter Jerry Gonzales, from New Plymouth, New Zealand, used glasses of water to demontrate the number.

 

"In a year, we consume about 2,920 glasses of water [for optimal health]," Gonzales said. "Therefore, we need to live about 2.4 million years to consume 7 billion glasses of water."

 

 

Veronica Pantaleon Mendoza used grains of rice to illustrate the number. She says that 189,445 kilograms (208 tons) of rice would account for 7 billion grains.

 

But there's more to the analogy she used. "I decided to represent the population with rice because like so many individuals, in different parts of the world, bits of it cascade in transit and are ignored (like the fallen and impoverished), sacks hoarded then sold (slavery) and spoonfuls thrown away from kitchens to bins (abuse)," she explains.

 

What visual aids would you use? What comparisons make sense to you? We're leaving the assignment open until 10:00 a.m. ET, on Thursday, October 27, so you still have a chance to make your own video. Next week we'll feature the most compelling videos on CNN.com.

 

Help us count to 7 billion!

37 Comments
October 26, 2011
Click to view jlf2002's profile

Its like five hundred twenty-five thousand six-hundred minutes (13,318.1 times).  Rent fans?  Anyone, anyone?

October 26, 2011
Click to view jgarza925's profile

jfl2002-How do you measure measure a year in daylight in sunsets...

 

however seriously if we are already having trouble with natural resources and food imagine adding more not very pretty and mother nature can be spiteful

October 26, 2011
Click to view ajaygo24's profile

To put 7 billion in technology terms, it would equate to sending 43,750,000 maximum length (160 character) text messages.  That's a lot of LOL's.

October 26, 2011
Click to view nuslhrd's profile

7 billion seconds.  116,666,666.67 minutes. 4,861,111,11 days, 13,309 years (don't forget to count leap years) or 133.09 centuries.

October 26, 2011
Click to view aghaata25's profile

If every man could be reduced to the size of a grain of sand, and then 7 billions of them filled in a 10" x 10" glass jar, about 1.00050th inch of the jar would still be empty.    Try it. :)

October 26, 2011
Click to view cancer2004's profile

If all 7 billion people stood shoulder to shoulder occupying 1 sq ft per person it will not even fill the City of New York. You will still have little less than 52 sq miles left.

 

City of New York - Manhattan, Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens, and Staten Island. Total 303 sq miles (source Wiki)

 

October 26, 2011
Click to view Hare47's profile

Hey, nuslhrd:

 

You forgot to convert the minutes to hours and, as such, your final time lengths are 60 times too large.

October 26, 2011
Click to view eastwood1379's profile

Everything we need to look for is in Quran and Sunnah.

October 26, 2011
Click to view TeddyRocker's profile

It's time that the condom companies step up.

October 26, 2011
Click to view bh85's profile

If 7 billion dollar bills were stacked they would reach an equivalent height of 8,224 statue of liberties (base to torch).

If you were in Dallas, TX, with perfect vision and no atmospheric disturbance, you could just see the top of the stack of dollar bills just fading out of sight, below the horizon, due to the curvature of Earth, if the stack of bills was based in San Francisco, about 1,600 miles away.

October 26, 2011
Click to view nick041's profile

7 billion people on the planet, 14+ trillion dollars of American debt. What a world it could have been if America wasn't run by greedy corporations and politicians.

October 26, 2011
Click to view Rethink's profile

7 billion is the number of individual follicles of hair on the heads of a crowd in a jam-packed stadium.

 

(Assumptions: 1. Everyone has a full head of hair (100,000 follicles); 2. Stadium capacity is 70,000)

October 26, 2011
Click to view N20Y10C's profile

Year 0 is referred to "Common Era" on the article?! It's when Jesus Christ was born, that's why it year 2011 now, as we fallow Pope Gregory's calender.

 

CNN is truly a Jewish owned news corp. that excludes Christ, our Lord and Saviour from articles!!

October 26, 2011
Click to view SomeStupidSN's profile

To the editors:  There is no year 0.

October 27, 2011
Click to view EricMatthews's profile

I wish this article also talked about the how fast that number is growing today, and where we'll be in 10 years, and 20 years.

October 27, 2011
Click to view darthvidor's profile

1ml of water is about 20 drops. so 7 billion drops of water is 350,000 Liters.

October 27, 2011
Click to view slupdawg69's profile

7,000,000,000: The number of brain cells I wasted on this stupid blog

October 27, 2011
Click to view loveandtruth's profile

If 7 billion were dollars wasted on paying off the economic ransom, or overpaying executives, and it costs $5,000 to pay for a year of health insurance, then that comes to 1.4 million people without insurance.  If $50,000 is the median income, than that means 140,000 people are without jobs.  Cut that in half, and then it means 280,000 people living in poverty lacking the means to buy bread just so that a few people can be excessively comfortable at the expense of their brothers made less fortunate by them.

Top that.

October 27, 2011
Click to view 1h2d3a's profile

If you spent 1000 per day, every day, it would take you 19,178 years to spend 7 billion dollars.

October 27, 2011
Click to view 1h2d3a's profile

Counting at a rate of one digit per second, 24 hours a day, it would take 221 years to count to 7 billion

October 27, 2011
Click to view VitoCannoli's profile

Imagine one week you drive from Canton, OH to Las Vegas, NV (2124.6 mi).  The next week you drive back.  For the rest of the year, you continue this pattern.  In your year of road tripping, you will drive 7 billion inches.

October 27, 2011
Click to view george122000's profile

BOOOOOOOOOO!!!!! AND ITS NOT EVEN HALLOWEEN YET

October 27, 2011
Click to view chadley25's profile

N20Y10C

Year 0 is referred to "Common Era" on the article?! It's when Jesus Christ was born, that's why it year 2011 now, as we fallow Pope Gregory's calender.

CNN is truly a Jewish owned news corp. that excludes Christ, our Lord and Saviour from articles!

_____________________________________

 

Apart from the fact that Jesus was just an ordinary man (if he indeed existed at all), the whole "B.C." and "A.D." denotations were done away with long, long ago.

October 27, 2011
Click to view gotyourpoint's profile

Well..  Picture in your head 6'999.999.999 people.  Then add 1 more.  That's how much 7B people is.

October 27, 2011

There is only a finite amount of resources remaining on and in this planet ........ despite all political and religious blah , blah , blahing ........ drastic population control needs to be instituted very soon ...... or else ! There is a huge calamity for our species on the near horizon if not !

October 27, 2011
Click to view Notinto4play's profile

Year zero will not be known as the time of Christ. It will be the year when all the governments hit the reset button on their debts..

October 27, 2011
Click to view Notinto4play's profile

Or pay them off, 7 billion years from now

October 27, 2011
Click to view Notinto4play's profile

Or pay them off 7 Billion years from now.

October 27, 2011
Click to view curt27's profile

Pretty crazy with the rice example... Of how much rice it would take to feed 7 billion people once.

October 27, 2011
Click to view NuclearDude's profile

7 Billion pennies stacked on top of one-another could form an arch, approximately 1750 miles high at the center, from Anchorage to New York (a pennies thickness, or "height" is only 1.27mm)

October 27, 2011
Click to view Tuffyterf's profile

There are 300 Billion Stars in the Milky Way alone, and it is estimated that there are trillions of galaxies like the Milky Way in the Universe, so you think we are still alone? Far from it.. Millions of life forms out there- there has to be

October 27, 2011
Click to view BubbaDmptrk's profile

It's like sending 3.5 billion smiley-face text messages.

 

:)

October 27, 2011
Click to view timgodofall's profile

Isn't CNN one of the top news organizations in the world? Meaning you probably have an astounding amount of money to accompany an astounding amount of creative and multi-media resources?

 

I'd estimate there are atleast 700,000,000 children in middle school right now,, learning how to use Imovie. I would also estimate that all of them could make a better video than this.

October 27, 2011
Click to view skeptic66's profile

The average American consumes 500 gallons of gasoline per year. If 7B people all did the same, the world's oil reserves would be depleted in 7.5 years.

 

World oil reserves 1,324x109 bbls x 20 gallons/bbl avg refined gasoline = 2,648x1010 gallons gasoline

divided by

7x109 people x 500 gallons per year = 3,500x109 gallons

= 7.57 years

October 28, 2011
Click to view santacraws's profile

If 7 billion people held hands and stretched across the globe... the majority would drown.

October 28, 2011
Click to view BufflaoSldr's profile

About 10% of Warren Buffet's net worth

October 28, 2011
Click to view wharf0rat's profile

We could use a few comparisons and visual aids to help us understand the magnitude of spending a trillion dollars on an unnecessary and immoral military invasion and occupation of Iraq.

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