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A Comment Asserting There’s Never Been More People Living In Africa Is Incorrect

A Comment Asserting There’s Never Been More People Living In Africa Is Incorrect

“And yet there’s never been more people living in Africa,” these are words captioned on a graph originally created by Steve Sailer  titled World Population Prospects: 2017 Revision shared on twitter on 9th Nov 2022.

This was a comment on a tweet by the World Food Programme highlighting the impact of climate change on millions of people experiencing famine in the Horn of Africa.

The claim interpretation is, the World Food Programme is lying about the figures, “millions of Africans suffering in the Horn of Africa” which the commenter regarded as a “climate scam” by using a hashtag backing it up with a graph purportedly created with data from United Nations to say there has never been people in Africa in millions.

Using google lens, an image verification tool, we traced a similar graph posted on 28th Jan 2018 by Steve Sailer with a link attachment leading to his blog where a number of graphs are cited. 

Based on Steve’s blog posted on 3rd July 2017, this  graph was created from data published in the United Nations’ World Population Prospects 2017 Revision.

According to the results of the World Population Prospects 2017 key findings,the world’s population numbered nearly 7.6 billion as of mid-2017 Asia had 4.5 billion people which accounted for sixty percent of the world’s population, 17 per cent in Africa 1.3 billion people, 10 per cent in Europe 742 million people, 9 per cent in Latin America and the Caribbean 646 million people, and the remaining 6 per cent in Northern America with 361 million people and Oceania,  41 million people. 


The graph shared on twitter had a representation of Africa separated into two; a black line representing Sub Saharan Africa and the orange line representing Middle east (West Asia and North Africa).

Looking closely, these  two graphs are similar but with different line indications.

Additionally, the graph in the World Population Prospects 2017 revision presented data from Africa as a whole without segmenting it into Sub Saharan Africa nor North Africa.

Here is what you should know.

Steve wrote a review of projections for the 2017 world population prospects and published it on his blog after acknowledging the result of the revision (evident in the graph below). The person who reposted the graph in the tweet interpreted the data incorrectly by claiming that there have never been more people in Africa since the line on the graph did not surpass 500,000,000 (fifty-one hundred million people) until the 2010 decade. 

Africa’s population between 1950 to 2022



It is misleading to say that there have never been more people in Africa. As the United Nations’ 2017 revision of its world population prospects and the current revisions indicate, Africans have lived in millions.

This fact-check was produced by Debunk Media Initiative with support from Code for Africa’s PesaCheck, International Fact-Checking Network and African Fact-Checking Alliance network.

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