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Unveiling the Numbers: How Many Buildings Are in the World?

How Many Buildings Are in the World

From towering skyscrapers to humble homes, buildings are integral to modern life. They provide shelter, places of work, and entertainment, and contribute to the global economy. But have you ever wondered just how many buildings are in the world? This article will explore the process of estimating the number of buildings globally, discuss factors influencing the global building count, and delve into the specifics of building numbers in the United States, skyscrapers, and commercial buildings.

If you are looking to learn how many houses are in the world, check out our last research here.

Estimating the Number of Buildings Globally

Estimating the total number of buildings worldwide is no easy task. There isn’t a single, comprehensive database that keeps track of every building, and many countries have limited or outdated records. However, various methods can be used to estimate the number of buildings globally.

Population Density and Building Types

One way to estimate the number of buildings is to consider population density and building types. By examining the population density in different regions and the average number of people living in various types of buildings, such as single-family homes, apartment buildings, and commercial structures, it’s possible to make an educated guess about how many buildings are in the world.

For example, if we know that the global population is approximately 7.9 billion people, and the average number of people per household is around 4, we can estimate that there are around 1.975 billion residential buildings worldwide. However, this doesn’t account for non-residential buildings, such as offices, factories, and other commercial structures.

Satellite Imagery and Machine Learning

Another approach to estimating the global number of buildings is through the use of satellite imagery and machine learning algorithms. By analyzing high-resolution satellite images, researchers can identify and count building structures in various regions. Machine learning algorithms can then be used to process the data and provide more accurate estimates of the total number of buildings.

While this method can provide a more precise count than population-based estimates, it’s still limited by the quality and availability of satellite imagery. Additionally, it may not account for buildings that are obscured by trees or other structures.

Factors Influencing the Global Building Count

Several factors influence the global building count, making it difficult to arrive at an exact number. These factors include urbanization, population growth, and socioeconomic conditions.


As the world’s population becomes increasingly urbanized, the number of buildings in urban areas rises. High-rise apartment buildings, office towers, and commercial complexes are constructed to accommodate the growing number of people living and working in cities. This trend contributes to an increase in the overall number of buildings worldwide.

Population Growth

Population growth also plays a significant role in the number of buildings globally. As the world’s population increases, so does the demand for housing and other structures. This leads to the construction of new buildings, both in urban and rural areas.

Socioeconomic Conditions

Socioeconomic conditions, such as wealth and income distribution, can also impact the global building count. In wealthier regions, there may be a higher number of larger, single-family homes, while in less affluent areas, people may be more likely to live in smaller, multi-family dwellings. Additionally, the number of commercial and industrial buildings may be higher in more economically developed regions.

How Many Buildings are There in the US?

Estimating the number of buildings in the United States is somewhat more manageable than attempting to count every building worldwide. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), there were approximately 5.6 million commercial buildings and 138 million residential housing units in the United States in 2019.

Commercial Buildings

The EIA’s Commercial Buildings Energy Consumption Survey (CBECS) provides detailed information on the number of commercial buildings in the United States. According to the 2012 CBECS, there were approximately 5.6 million commercial buildings across the country, occupying a total of 87 billion square feet of floor space.

Residential Buildings

The U.S. Census Bureau provides data on residential buildings in the United States. According to their American Housing Survey, there were approximately 138 million residential housing units in the country in 2019. This number includes single-family homes, apartments, condominiums, and other types of residential structures.

How Many Skyscrapers are on Earth?

A skyscraper is generally defined as a building that has 40 or more floors and is taller than 150 meters (492 feet). The Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH), an international organization that tracks skyscraper construction, estimates that there are over 4,000 completed skyscrapers worldwide as of 2021.

The Tallest Skyscrapers

The tallest skyscraper in the world is the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, standing at a staggering 828 meters (2,717 feet) tall. Other notable skyscrapers include the Shanghai Tower in China, the Makkah Royal Clock Tower in Saudi Arabia, and the One World Trade Center in New York City, United States.

Skyscraper Construction Trends

The construction of new skyscrapers has been on the rise in recent years, with Asia leading the way. According to the CTBUH, 56% of the world’s 100 tallest buildings are located in Asia, with China accounting for the majority of these structures.

How Many Commercial Buildings are There in the World?

Estimating the total number of commercial buildings worldwide is challenging due to the lack of comprehensive global data. However, by considering regional data and extrapolating based on population and economic factors, it’s possible to arrive at a rough estimate.

Global Commercial Building Data

Data on the number of commercial buildings in various regions can be found through sources such as the World Bank, the International Energy Agency, and national statistical agencies. By examining this data and accounting for regional differences in population and economic development, it’s possible to make an educated guess about the total number of commercial buildings worldwide.

A Rough Estimate

Based on regional data and global population estimates, it’s estimated that there are between 150 and 200 million commercial buildings worldwide. This number includes office buildings, factories, warehouses, retail centers, and other types of non-residential structures.

Some other sources mention the number 100 Million but we do believe it is at least double.

In conclusion, while it’s challenging to determine the exact number of buildings in the world, various methods can provide us with reasonable estimates. Factors such as urbanization, population growth, and socioeconomic conditions play a significant role in shaping the global building count. Understanding these factors and their impact on building numbers can help us better appreciate the complexity and scale of the built environment in which we live.

Trisha Mae Raymundo
Trisha Mae Raymundo

Senior Writer and Editor of The Home Spot.