According to the U.S. Census Bureau, as of 03:04 GMT (EST+5) Oct 09, 2006, the world population is estimated at 6,549,200,730. The U.S. population is estimated at 299,935,826, about 4.58% of the world population.
Some time this month, the number of Americans will surpass 300 million, a milestone that raises environmental impact questions for the only major industrial nation whose population is increasing substantially. The US Census Bureau predicts the 300 million mark will be reached in mid-October, 39 years after US population topped 200 million and 91 years after it exceeded 100 million. This will make the United States No. 3 in population in the world, after China and India.Raw population numbers do not tell the whole story, however, due to our (most of my readers are from the U.S.) disproportionate impact. A 69-page report (PDF) from the Center for Environment and Population details demographic changes, beyond simple population changes, and explores their impacts. Some highlights:
- America is among the world’s top ten in per capita water withdrawal, with each American using three times that of the world average.
- In 2000, [U.S.] per capita sawn wood consumption was nearly twice that of developing countries and ten times the world’s.
- About 6,700 known plant and animal species are considered at risk of extinction in the U.S. Almost 1,000 species are listed by the U.S. government as endangered, and 300 as threatened (over twice the number listed a decade ago), mainly (85%) from habitat loss and alteration. Half of the continental U.S. can no longer support its original vegetation.
- Nearly 3,000 acres of U.S. farmland are lost every day to development, with the rate of loss increasing.
- With only 5% of the global population, the U.S. consumes almost 25% of the world’s energy.
- The U.S. is the single largest carbon dioxide (CO2) greenhouse gas (GHG) emitter in the world, accounting for nearly a quarter of all global emissions. These are predicted to increase by nearly 43% by 2020.
- The nation’s average temperature increase over the next 100 years is projected to be 5-9oF.
- Each American produces about 5 pounds of trash daily, up from less than 3 in 1960, five times the average amount in developing countries.