As of 2017, the global population has reached more than 7.5 billion people, spanning the inhabited continents of Africa, North and South America, Asia, Europe and Australia/Oceania. Encompassing the two most highly populated countries in the world – China and India – Asia is by far the largest of the continents, with a total population of over 4.5 billion people.
Around 40 million people live Australia/Oceania, the smallest continent. Australia/Oceania is a good example of how the definition of a continent can be complex, as this continent is often, but not always, considered to include the subregions of Polynesia, Micronesia and Melanesia, and can also be defined as including the entire area between the Americas and Asia. If these regions are excluded and only Australia and New Zealand are counted, the population total drops to under 30 million.
Notably, of all the continents, only Southern and Eastern Europe show negative growth rates in 2017, with Southern Europe at -0.12% and Eastern Europe at -0.15%. Europe as a whole has had a modest population increase of 0.08%, which is the smallest growth rate of the inhabited continents, although Western Europe continues to have a high population density of 178.31 per sq km. In contrast, all of the regions of Africa show significant population growth rates, with increases of 2.5-3% across Central, Eastern, Western and Sub-Saharan Africa.