Over the 21st century, human-caused climate change is projected to vastly increase the occurrence of severe heat, which has deleterious health, economic, and societal impacts. Over the same period, global human population is expected to increase from 7.8 to 10.9 billion, placing more people in harm's way. Here, we combine projections of sustained heat from climate models with spatially explicit population projection scenarios. We find that: (1) by 2090, high climate change and population growth scenarios show a ~5-, ~10-, and ~100–1000-fold increase in the population exposed to a mean hottest monthly temperature of 30 ºC, 35 ºC, and 40 ºC, respectively; (2) globally, population growth, warming, and their interaction, are the major drivers for the increase in exposure at milder, harsher, and extreme, temperatures, respectively; and (3) differences between population growth scenarios show that policy can potentially reduce the level of increase in exposure by up to 70%. Based on our analyses, the major driver for the increased heat exposure is the dangerous combination between global warming and population growth in already-warm cities in regions like Africa, India, and the Middle East.