How big a building would we need to house all of humanity?

Credits: Pixabay

If, for some bizarre reason, we needed one single building to hold the entirety of the global population, we would be inclined to imagine something of gargantuan size. However, a recent experiment has shown than such a building could in fact fit in the heart of Manhattan.

According to the Worldometers counter, at the present moment, the global population comprises over 7.6 billion people spread out heterogeneously over the four corners of the world. This number is constantly and relatively rapidly increasing, which is what inspired the Real Life Lore YouTube channel (who specialise in history, geography, economics and science) to pose an unusual question: how big would a building need to be, to house all of humanity?


A titanic fictitious project, the designer takes example from a few already existing structures with exceptional capacities for accommodating people, such as the largest stadium in the world, in Pyongyang in North Korea, which can accommodate around 114,000 people, or even Mecca, which welcomes up to 4 million faithful Muslims during pilgrimage times.

For the project, it is supposed that one single meter squared should not accommodate more than five people. On such a basis, we could assume that the Boeing Everett factory, the largest building in the world, could thus contain 40.8 million people. This represents less than 1% of the 7.6 billion of the world’s inhabitants. What’s more, to be able to accommodate the entire human population, one building would need to measure 2,438 cubic kilometers, requiring square walls of 1,346 kilometers per side.

If the building were to stretch 500 meters higher than the world’s current highest skyscraper, the Burj Khalifa, this building could be placed in the heart of Manhattan in New York.