In this paper we describe a tool for long term global change studies; it is an update of the History Database of the Global Environment (HYDE) with estimates of some of the underlying demographic driving factors of global change. We estimate total and urban/rural population numbers, densities and fractions (incl. built-up area) for the Holocene, roughly the period 10,000 B.C. to 2,000 A.D. with a spatial resolution of 5 minutes longitude/latitude.
With a total global population increase from 2 to 6145 million people over that time span, resulting in a global population density increase of < 0.1 cap/km2 to almost 46 cap/km2 and a urban built-up area evolving from almost zero to 0.5 million km2 (still only <0.5% of the total global land surface, but having tremendous impact through the demand of food, services, building materials, etc), it is clear that this must have had, and will continue to have profound influence on the Earth’s environment and its associated (climate) change. We hope that this database can contribute to the Earth System Modelers community to gain better insight in long term global change research.