According to the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS), as of May 1, 2022, there are 5,465 satellites currently floating around Earth's orbit.
A January 2022 report from DEWESoft states there were 4,550 satellites in orbit, a number supposedly compiled by information from the UCS Satellite Database, ESRI, and the Space Foundation.
If you check a February 2022 report from Surveying Group News, there are supposedly 4,852 operational satellites in orbit (as of January 1, 2022). But wait, it gets even more confusing.
Did you know that the United Nations has an Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA)? That office manages the "Online Index of Objects Launched into Outer Space."
It tracks all objects — not just your typical telecommunications data satellites — that have launched into space since 1958, many of which have plummeted back to Earth.
Without filtering, UNOOSA's index reports that 14,098 objects (at the time of writing) have been launched into space.
But if you filter down by those "in orbit," it drops to 9,918. However, you get an entirely different number — 8,556 — if you filter by "status" and then by "in orbit."