School of Life Sciences | Ask A Biologist

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How many people can the earth support?

The Earth’s carrying capacity is the number of people the Earth can support without using resources faster than the planet can reproduce them. Experts disagree on this number because carrying capacity depends on a variety of factors including: the type and quantity of available resources, how these resources are distributed, how much of the resources each person uses, and the people’s relative quality of life. Read more about carrying capacity at the Encyclopedia of Earth.

Grade Level: 12

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Be part of Ask A Biologist

by volunteering, or simply sending us feedback on the site. Scientists, teachers, writers, illustrators, and translators are all important to the program. If you are interested in helping with the website we have a Volunteer page to get the process started.