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 1,378 million people
23,488 million barrels of oil equivalent
India 1,329 million people
5,001 million barrels of oil equivalent
USA 324 million people
16,813 million barrels of oil equivalent
Indonesia 259 million people
1,241 million barrels of oil equivalent
Brazil 206 million people
2,175 million barrels of oil equivalent
Pakistan 203 million people
539 million barrels of oil equivalent
Bangladesh 163 million people
237 million barrels of oil equivalent
Russian Federation 144 million people
5,428 million barrels of oil equivalent
Japan 125 million people
3,366 million barrels of oil equivalent
Mexico 129 million people
1,364 million barrels of oil equivalent
Philippines 103 million people
280 million barrels of oil equivalent
Germany 83 million people
2,331 million barrels of oil equivalent
Egypt 94 million people
667million barrels of oil equivalent
Turkey 80 million people
1,008 million barrels of oil equivalent
Iran 80 million people
1,939 million barrels of oil equivalent
France 65 million people
1,707 million barrels of oil equivalent
Thailand 65 million people
937 million barrels of oil equivalent
United Kingdom 66 million people
1,394 million barrels of oil equivalent
Italy 61 million people
1,134 million barrels of oil equivalent
South Africa 56 million people
1,040 million barrels of oil equivalent
  graph scale
Percent of global total

Population data source: Population Reference Bureau; 2016 World Population Data Sheet.

Energy consumption data source: U.S. Energy Information Administration 2016.