World Population Expressed by Cows and Pigs

By Stewart Grant

There are roughly 7.5 billion people that live on Earth.  China and India, with roughly 18% of the world population each, make about 2.7 billion of this total. The United States is the third-most populated country with roughly 325 million people, while Canada at 36 million people is the 38th most-populated nation in the world. None of these numbers should surprise us, because human census numbers are regularly reported.

But since this is the agriculture section I wondered what the world population of cows and pigs might look like. Here’s what I found…

According to 2017 data found at, there are approximately 1 billion cattle on the planet. Of these, 30% are found in India (note: the cattle inventory in India includes water buffalo), 23% are found in Brazil, and 10% are found in China.  The United States, with 93.5 million cattle, is the fourth-largest nation in terms of cattle population while Canada’s cattle population is the world’s 11th largest, with 12.1 million.

In both Canada and the USA, there is roughly one cow for every 3 humans, which is a higher human-to-cow ratio than the world average of roughly 7.5-to-1.  Interestingly, cow populations actually exceed human populations in many South American countries.  Brazil and Argentina have just over one cow per each human, while in Uruguay, the cow population of 11.8 million dwarfs the human population of 3.5 million.  Oceania countries such as Australia and New Zealand also have more cows than humans, while conversely China has 13 times more humans than cows.

But what about pigs?  According to information at, as of 2016 there were nearly 785 million pigs worldwide, or about 20% less than the cow population.  In Canada, there resides approximately 13.2 million pigs which is nearly 10% higher than the number of cows.

With approximately 450 million pigs, China is home to over 50% of the world’s pork population. In contrast, India’s huge human population (1.3 billion) is largely disinterested in pork with the country having less than 1 pig per 100 people.

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