Population and Energy Consumption

The population problem isn't just a matter of the number of people. People consume food, fresh water, wood, minerals, and energy as we go about our daily lives. And producing food, pumping groundwater, harvesting wood, mining minerals, and burning fuel all deplete our resource base and produce pollution.

One critical indicator of resource use and environmental impact is to measure our energy consumption. When you click on one of the countries in the graph below, you'll see how that country compares to the United States in the size of its population, the amount of energy it consumes as a country, and the amount of energy consumed per person.

Why single out the U.S.A.?

Why are we focusing on the United States? Because Americans make up less than 5% of the world's population and yet consume nearly 20% of the world's energy. The average American's energy consumption is much higher than most people on the planet!   

What's the Point?

The point is that the population problem isn't just something "over there" in "those poor countries," where they may be having more children. A family in India would have to have more than 10 children to match the energy consumption of an American family with just one child! 

From a consumption perspective, the richer countries have a bigger population problem than the poorer countries!

Population and Energy Consumption by Country

Country:
click to
compare to USA
Population
Energy consumption
Hover over bar for actual data
  Percent of global total
graph scale
China 1,394 million people
27,018 million barrels of oil equivalent
India 1,371 million people
5,856 million barrels of oil equivalent
USA 328 million people
18,684 million barrels of oil equivalent
Indonesia 265 million people
1,476 million barrels of oil equivalent
Brazil 209 million people
2,366 million barrels of oil equivalent
Pakistan 201 million people
679 million barrels of oil equivalent
Bangladesh 166 million people
285 million barrels of oil equivalent
Russian Federation 147 million people
6,115 million barrels of oil equivalent
Japan 126 million people
3,555 million barrels of oil equivalent
Mexico 131 million people
1,468 million barrels of oil equivalent
Philippines 107 million people
355 million barrels of oil equivalent
Germany 83 million people
2,530 million barrels of oil equivalent
Egypt 97 million people
746 million barrels of oil equivalent
Turkey 81 million people
1,173 million barrels of oil equivalent
Iran 82 million people
2,159 million barrels of oil equivalent
France 65 million people
1,906 million barrels of oil equivalent
Thailand 66 million people
1,019 million barrels of oil equivalent
United Kingdom 66 million people
1,532 million barrels of oil equivalent
Italy 61 million people
1,261 million barrels of oil equivalent
South Africa 58 million people
1,041 million barrels of oil equivalent
  graph scale
Percent of global total

Population data source: Population Reference Bureau; 2018 World Population Data Sheet.

Energy consumption data source: U.S. Energy Information Administration 2018.