Celebrating the World’s 8 Billionth Person With … Lots and Lots of Charts

Vinice Villorente Mabansag, symbolizing the 8 billionth person in the world, is seen with her mother inside in her family's house in Manila, Philippines on November 19, 2022. (Photo by Dante Diosina Jr/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images.)

Dear Capitolisters,

This week’s edition will be short and chart-heavy, as we’re all busy making Thanksgiving stuffing and traveling to or trying to avoid our families. 

Speaking of giving thanks, last week saw the world welcome—per U.N. estimates, at least—its 8 billionth human. The news was greeted by the usual concern and consternation about population growth, strained resources, and overconsumption—especially in fast-growing places like Nigeria or India. Yet by an array of metrics, the long-term trajectory of life on Earth has been overwhelmingly positive (though, surely, things could always be even better). So this Thanksgiving, I invite you to sit back, pour a warm glass of gravy, and take this moment to be thankful you’re living in today’s world—and especially in today’s United States—instead of the one that greeted its 4 billionth inhabitant back in the good ol’ 1970s.

And here are a bunch of charts to prove it.

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