There are several statistical models that have been used to estimate the number of baby diapers required for the whole world. My model starts with world population projection from the U.S. Census Bureau which estimates world population at 6,431,662652 (2006). Then you find the total number of babies in the age group of 0-2 years, using age pyramid tables. Then you calculate total diaper consumption for each diaper stage and estimate a representative consumption per baby per day (the Absormex data base was an initial source); and finally, take into account market penetration, the most difficult part to forecast. The number of babies in the 0-2 age group in the United States is 9,612,520 (4/19/2006 U.S. Census); each baby in the 0-2 age group requires, on an average, 4.42 disposable diapers every day – 6.82 are needed for newborns (size 2) while only 3.74 are needed for two year olds (size 5 and 6 with non linearity). This means that 40.37 million diapers are required every day in the United States alone. There are variations to consumption patterns. For example, in Japan, mothers are more concerned about hygiene and use almost two and a half more diapers per day than mothers in America do, and Americans use at least one more diaper per day than Latino Americans do. If we estimate the total world consumption on this basis, it translates into 1,375 million diapers every day – i.e. if every baby in the world uses a disposable diaper.
In the United States alone, 467 diapers are used every single second (with market penetration estimated at 95.6%; only 4.4% babies use the old non disposable kind). Considering a typical weight of 45 grams per diaper, that means 1,816 tons of diapers are used every day in the U.S. alone.
For the whole world, 18,238 diapers are needed every second, if we go by the theoretical calculation. Unfortunately, in reality, world consumption is less than one quarter of this because of poverty in a large part of the world where market penetration of disposable diapers is low. Many areas of the world have market penetrations of less than 2%. More than one third of the babies in this world have never used a disposable diaper! For more specific data for the 75 largest countries in the world, please visit: Diapers Required per country. If you need figures of diaper demand in a country not listed, just let me know. I have updated information for diaper consumption for 2005 and diaper demand estimates as far as 2025. You can read about the current and future need for diapers in different regions of the world in my last paper presented at the Insight Conference in Minneapolis in October 2005: The future of the diaper industry (word document 1.2 MB) Another excellent article can be found here: Insight 2006. You can also read Mr. Richer’s latest article published in the Nonwoven Industry Magazine January 2007 edition using this link: click here