Have you ever been down in the dumps? Of course you have. We all feel down from time to time. When you feel down, it’s always good when a friend comes along to tell you, “You’re not alone.” The next time someone tells you that, believe them!

In fact, the words “you’re not alone” have never been truer here on Earth. Here are some facts and figures that might blow your mind:

  • Earth is now home to over 7 billion people. That’s right. Billion with a “b”!
  • The world’s population grows by approximately 80 million people each year.
  • Every second of every minute of every hour of every day of every year, about 4.3 people are born and about 1.8 people die. That means that the world’s population increases by about 2.5 people every second!

Can you believe those numbers? They’re mind-boggling, aren’t they? It’s hard for most of us to comprehend the concept of 7 billion people.

Of course, those 7 billion people are spread all over the Earth in many different countries. If you live in the United States, you live in the third most populous country on Earth (after China and India).

Today, the population of the United States is well over 300 million people. It wasn’t always that big, though! Way back in 1790 — the year of the first census — the U.S. population was just under 4 million people.

The population of the U.S. had surpassed the 100 million mark by 1920 and the 200 million mark by 1970. The 300 million barrier was broken in October 2006. When will it hit 400 million? Experts estimate the U.S. population will pass 400 million by 2043.

So, within the United States, which state has the most people? With over 37 million people, California earns that title. In fact, California’s population is greater than the combined total population of the 21 least populous states.

Although there are 50 states, the U.S. population isn’t distributed evenly across them. Over half of the people in the U.S. live in one of the 9 most populous states: California, Texas, New York, Florida, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan and Georgia. The 25 least populous states account for less than one-sixth of the total population.

Understanding where people live within the United States can help you understand politics better. When it’s election time, you’ve probably noticed that candidates spend more time in certain states. The greater a state’s population, the more representatives and Electoral College votes it has. That’s why the most populous states get the most attention at election time!

46 Join the Discussion

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    • Hey Wonder Friends in Mrs. Ski’s AM Class, welcome back from the weekend! We hope you had lots of fun learning about populations and the importance of numbers today! :)

      We now understand why the Presidential Election is focusing so much on the state of Ohio– you’ve got a lot of voters in your Buckeye state!

      Thanks for sharing your guess for tomorrow’s Wonder… we can’t wait to find out what it will be! Have a SUPER Monday! :)

    • Hey there, CKapps! We sure are glad you’re WONDERing with us today! Texas is a very large state, but it’s interesting to learn which state has the most people! It’s fun to think about things from a bigger perspective– like the number of people living on Earth! WOW! :)

  1. It was awesome to learn what states have the most people. We learned the word “populous” means populated, which means more people. We learned that California has the most people and we are NOT one of the most populous states (Oklahoma). The video was very artistic and we liked it! The video was cool to watch how they made all the buildings pop up. We still don’t understand what the sand was for.

    • HOORAY, our Wonder Friends the Tigers 2nd and 3rd are here today! We’re excited that you learned a new vocabulary word from today’s Wonder! We cannot take credit for the Wonder video, but we thought it was very artistic, too!

      We sure are glad that you have joined us today to learn about the power and importance of numbers in each state, especially as the Presidential Election is just around the corner! :)

    • Thanks for letting us know, Bryleigh! We sure are glad that you visited Wonderopolis today and learned something new with us! Have a SUPER Monday! :)

  2. Thank you for the very cool wonder! The video went with our math unit on 3d shapes and our From Caves to Canvas Unit. That was a really cool art show!

    Some of us are going to go to the voting polls tomorrow with our parents. We think tomorrow’s wonder might be about the election.

    • You’re very welcome, Mrs. Thomas’s Tigers! We are so happy to hear that today’s Wonder fit well with your less today! HOORAY!

      We are excited to find out what the election outcome will be– we are thrilled to know that some of our Wonder Friends are going to the polls tomorrow! We’d love to hear about what you see there! It’s so much fun to share! :)

    • HOORAY, we’re excited that you liked today’s Wonder, Monnie! We Wonder if you live in one of the highly populated states mentioned today? :)

    • Well thank you, Gina M.! We are glad that you learned something new about the number of people who live in certain states! :)

    • HOORAY, we are glad to know that today’s Wonder put a smile on your face, Wonder Friend N! We Wonder what your favorite part of today’s Wonder was? :)

  3. I never knew that there were that many people on the Earth. It’s an amazing fact. I think tommorow’s Wonder of the Day will be about either why children could not vote or the presidential debate. :) Have a nice day!

    -Tayviannah, age:10, grade:5

    • Hi there Tayviannah! We’re so happy you visited Wonderopolis today– and you learned something new about the number of people on Earth! We Wonder if you live in one the highly populated states that were mentioned in today’s Wonder? We sure hope you have a WONDERful day… and that you’ll be back to visit us soon! :)

    • Well thanks for your kind compliment, Kasey! We are so happy that today’s Wonder sparked your curiosity! That’s what we LOVE to hear from great Wonder Friends like you! :)

    • You’re not alone, Bob! A lot of our Wonder Friends couldn’t believe that Ohio was one of the larger states when it came to population! We are so happy to hear that you’ve learned something new today, Wonder Friend! Great job! :)

    • We Wonder if you checked out the Wonder today, Mark? We bet you’d be surprised to find out that while Michigan is a large state, it does not have the largest population. We’d love to find out if you liked best from today’s Wonder! :)

  4. I liked today’s wonder a lot! It shocked me to know that the U.S. used to be home to only under 4 million people, and now, in Denver there are more than a million people! Today’s wonder was really cool. Thanks! :) :P


    • We’re glad that you learned something new with us, Berkleigh! Isn’t it amazing to think about all the people that now live in the United States? We have really grown over the years! Have a SUPER day, Wonder Friend! :)

    • HOORAY, we’re glad you liked WONDERing about the population in each state in the U.S. Elizebath! Thanks for sharing your comment with us– have a SUPER day! :)

  5. OHIO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • That’s one of them, you’re right Maddy! We learned that California is the biggest state based on the number of people! :)

    • Hey there, Erica, we know that your state, as well as New York, got a lot of media attention this election due to Hurricane Sandy! We hope you and your family, friends and neighbors are safe! We Wonder if you can do some searching of your own about the population of the state of New Jersey? :)

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Have you ever wondered…

  • Which state has the most people?
  • How many people are there on Earth?
  • What is the population of your state?

Wonder Gallery

crowd of people_shutterstock_56182123Vimeo Video

Try It Out

Ready to do some counting? It can be fun to figure out just how many people there are around you. Once you start counting, the numbers may surprise you!

How many people are in your family? Now what about in your neighborhood? Your school?

Use the U.S. Census Bureau website to research the population of the city you live in. Then find out how many people live in your state. How does your state rank in population compared to the rest of the United States?

For fun, compare the population of the United States to other major countries around the world. Would you want to live in China? How about India? What do you think it would be like to live in a country with so many people?

Still Wondering

In National Geographic Xpeditions’ Population Pasta activity, children investigate population statistics.

Wonder What’s Next?

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