The term world population commonly refers to the total number of living humans on Earth at a given time. As of 29 July 2009, the Earth's population is estimated by the United States Census Bureau to be 6.774 billion. The world population has been growing continuously since the end of the Black Death around 1400. There were also short term falls at other times due to plague, for example in the mid 17th century (see graph). The fastest rates of world population growth (above 1.8%) were seen briefly during the 1950s then for a longer period during the 1960s and 1970s (see graph). According to population projections, world population will continue to grow until around 2050. The 2008 rate of growth has almost halved since its peak of 2.2% per year, which was reached in 1963. World births have levelled off at about 134-million-per-year, since their peak at 163-million in the late 1990s, and are expected to remain constant. However, deaths are only around 57 million per year, and are expected to increase to 90 million by the year 2050. Since births outnumber deaths, the world's population is expected to reach about 9 billion by the year 2040.
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