Body Count

Body Count

Update: 2020-01-2468
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Right now, at this very moment, all across the planet, there are 7.6 billion human beings eating, breathing, sleeping, brushing their teeth, walking their dogs, drinking coffee, walking down the street or running onto the subway or hopping in their car, maybe reading a summary of a podcast they’re about to hit play on … and the number is only going up. Everyday 386,000 babies are born (16,000 an hour). We’re adding a billion new people every 12 years.


So here’s a question you’ve probably never thought about: Are there more people alive right now than have ever lived on the planet in history? Do the living outnumber the dead? Robert got obsessed with this odd question, and in this episode we bring you the answer. Or, well, answers.


This episode was reported by Robert Krulwich and produced by Annie McEwen and Pat Walters, with help from Neel Dhanesha. Fact-checking by Michelle Harris. Music and mixing by Jeremy Bloom. Special thanks to Jeffrey Dobereiner.


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Comments (6)

Greg Kucharski

sooooo fucking wrong..... the data they got is wrong.. they said the dead pile according to math the guy did is is over 400 milion but that would stand for entire north america as they took count since berring straits migration started during ice age.. aaaand then they refered to 330 milion of us population and called it north america's population.. wich in reality including canada and mexico is over 500 milion..... wtf..

Mar 3rd
Reply (1)

ncooty

In this episode, one can hear that: (1) 70% of people who have ever died in the U.S. are alive today. (If true, this deserves more press attention.) (2) The "lower 48" of the U.S. became a relevant political entity in 1776. (Instantaneous Manifest Destiny?) (3) Jad pronounces "asterisk" asteriks. (Ugh.)

Mar 1st
Reply

Niall Foy

love the show etc but the point about no people being in the Americas prior to 13000 yeara ago is completely and verifiably false. evidence for human habitation goes back to 40000 years at this point with speculative evidence suggesting 100,000 years of human habitation. Clovis first is nonsense

Jan 30th
Reply

Casey Wollberg

this was one of the most pointless and boring bull sessions ive ever listened to. at least there were some interesting science references at the beginning (jad never heard of the land bridge?). will miss krulwich i guess. but not as much as i miss the science focused radiolab. seems more like a this american life clone these days.

Jan 25th
Reply

Phil Ouellette

This is Radio Lab at its best. Quirky ideas explored in a structured approach showing how ideas and answers create more ideas and answers. Science IS fun and I LOVE Radio Lab for showing that. Don't retire Robert! :-(

Jan 25th
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