To calculate how many people have ever lived, Haub followed a minimalist approach, beginning with two people in 50000 B.C.—his Adam and Eve. Then, using his historical growth rates and population benchmarks, he estimated that slightly over 106 billion people had ever been born. Of those, people alive today comprise only 6 percent, nowhere near 75 percent. "[It is] almost surely true people alive today are some small fraction of [all] people," says Joel Cohen, a professor of populations at the Rockefeller and Columbia Universities in New York City.
For this myth ever to be valid there would have to be more than 100 billion people living on Earth. "How cozy," Cohen says. "It just doesn't seem plausible," he adds.
Maybe overpopulation die-hards can hold a raffle to pick their new trope?