Historical population of the continents 10,000BCE-2000CE

This graphic shows the estimated population of the world from the point where scientists can reasonably predict the total number of homo sapiens in 10,000BCE, until the year 2000CE*. From the data we can see that Asia has consistently been the most populated continent (not including the Middle East and CIS areas, most of which would be included in the majority of modern 'Asia' statistics), and the least populated continent has mostly been Oceania, although it was more heavily populated than other areas, such as North America, in very early times. We can also see dips in population between 1100CE and 1500CE in Eurasia, due to a number of plagues and epidemics that swept across the area, and also between 1500CE and 1900CE in the Americas, as a result of European arrival in the continent, where the population of Latin America took almost four centuries to reach it's pre-1500CE level again. In more recent times we can see that increased urbanization and scientific/medical advances have contributed to massive population growth across the world, particularly in Asia, The Americas and Europe, and then later in Africa, which now has the fastest growth rate out of all the continents.

The estimated population of each continent from 10,000BCE to 2000CE

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Release date




Survey time period

10000BCE to 2000CE

Supplementary notes

*Data beyond 2000CE is inconsistent as the studies use different geographical boundaries

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