Population Archives - State of the Planet

The Importance of Immigration to American Independence

America didn’t declare independence in 1776 to hide from the world, but to establish a free society. A positive, welcoming approach to immigration is a key part of our relationship with the global economy.

by |July 3, 2017
Asian elephants, like these in Sri Lanka, are sensitive to temperature. A new study explores the impact of warming on populations in the tropics. Photo: Amila Tennakoon, CC-BY-2.0

An Ecological Traffic Jam in the Warming Tropics?

The tropics are already hot, and they’re getting hotter as global temperatures rise. A new study offers a glimpse into how seriously a couple more degrees could disrupt the region’s ecological map.

by |June 9, 2016
Map of hazards data points

Mapping Tool Lets Users Pinpoint Hazards Data

The SEDAC Hazards Mapper is designed for disaster risk managers, humanitarian response organizations, public health professionals, journalists and others needing a quick assessment of the potential dangers posed by a major hazardous event or developing emergency.

Map fusion combines night light, population density and elevation data to show the contrast between the densely populated Ganges-Brahmaputra delta and the sparsely populated mountain ranges surrounding it. The urban cores (red) have population densities approaching 100,000 people per square kilometer, while the surrounding agricultural areas have average population densities around 1000 people per square kilometer. Courtesy of Chris Small

A Simple Question, Unexpected Applications – and an Award

Even the simplest research questions can lead to far-reaching public benefits. Consider Chris Small and Joel Cohen’s study of global population by altitude, being honored this week at the Library of Congress.

by |September 14, 2015

Fragile States Use Geospatial Data and Maps to Better Manage Natural Resources

Some of the world’s poorest nations have an abundance of natural resources, but also have suffered under recent conflicts. Learning how to manage these resources strategically and sustainably can help accelerate growth and development. A new web-based mapping tool may be able to help them do that.

by |May 6, 2015

Scientists’ Conference to Address Global Food Security

Columbia University is teaming up with Cornell University to co-host the second International Global Food Security Conference to bring together 500-plus scientists to investigate the behavioral, biophysical, economic, institutional, political, social and technological drivers of current and future global food security.

by |April 14, 2015

World Population Projected to Cross 11 Billion Threshold in 2100

In 2011, the U.N. announced that the world population had reached 7 billion. This year’s new projections for future population growth are higher than previously expected. Projects like Millennium Cities hope to alleviate many of the pressures that crowded cities place on infrastructure, public services, and the environment.

by |July 15, 2013

Green Films for Earth Day 2013

Mothers, carbon, trash, vanishing ice and “secret lives”: Watch a movie for Earth Day and learn.

by |April 18, 2013
The estimated number of people in 2010 living at different elevation levels across several Southern Asian countries.

The Intersection of Population and Elevation Examined

This map shows the estimated number of people in 2010 living at different elevation levels across several Southern Asian countries. The database it’s taken from lets users without specialized geospatial training or software compare populations in various environmental contexts in different countries.

A Faustian Choice: Population and Environment

Population growth is a key contributor to the pressures pushing at our planetary boundaries. In Rio+20 discussions, implications of population growth have become shrouded in platitudes. It is important that discussions on planetary limits clearly lay out possible strategies that can alleviate these pressures.

by |June 25, 2012