Has there been a comprehensive analysis of relative human population growth rate throughout history?

I'm interested in seeing how the growth rate (not world population) has evolved in the past several thousand years. A graph would be ideal for this but all I've been able to find is relative growth for the last several hundred years. All the graphs I've found that deals with population growth across centuries only display absolute numbers. As growth is exponential I can't really draw any conclusions about growth relative to population.

What I'm looking for: a graph outlining estimated population growth rate per annum/decade/half-century, ideally since recorded history.

  • 1
    What is definition of "earliest human history"?
    – Rajib
    Dec 9, 2014 at 16:39
  • 1
    I'm not sure what you're asking for, why existing data is insufficient or what research you have already done
    – MCW
    Dec 9, 2014 at 16:45
  • 1
    @MarkC.Wallace Google only shows me absolute figures, not relative growth on a long scale. I've tried to narrow my search but this just leaves me with relatively recent census data or studies of (geographically/temporally) limited scope. I've attempted to clarify my question but welcome any feedback if it still doesn't fit the site format.
    – Lilienthal
    Dec 9, 2014 at 17:08
  • 2
    Is not relative growth calculated from absolute figures?
    – Rajib
    Dec 9, 2014 at 17:44
  • 1
    @TylerDurden Please explain where that wikipedia article mentions relative population growth over more than a hundred years. If I could have found this information in a 5 minute search I wouldn't have needed to ask this question.
    – Lilienthal
    Dec 9, 2014 at 19:50

1 Answer 1


historical growth rate Kremer

Source: Kremer, Michael. "Population growth and technological change: one million BC to 1990." The Quarterly Journal of Economics (1993): 681-716.

Graph by Richard Vermillion.

  • +1 and it is obvious, there shall be a 0% growth again, it is interesting to see the point where colonization started in a bigger scale, and the industrial revolution. Nowadays we simply closing to the support limit of the Earth Dec 10, 2014 at 12:00
  • 1
    The cited article quotes estimates by Deevey (1960), Durand (1977), McEvedy & Jones (1978). Has nobody been working on re-assessing/re-validating these data since then? Sep 18, 2015 at 3:54
  • 2
    Durand (1977) quotes data from Colin Clark's 1968 book (Population Growth and Land Use, NY, St.Martin's Press). Deevey (1960) gets his data from Woytinskys' World Population and Production: Trends and Outlook (1953). McEvedy goes back to Clark and Durand. Are we relying on a single source here? Sep 18, 2015 at 4:29

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.