Overpopulation

Overpopulation

Overview
Overpopulation is a condition where an organism
Organism
In biology, an organism is any contiguous living system . In at least some form, all organisms are capable of response to stimuli, reproduction, growth and development, and maintenance of homoeostasis as a stable whole.An organism may either be unicellular or, as in the case of humans, comprise...

's numbers exceed the carrying capacity
Carrying capacity
The carrying capacity of a biological species in an environment is the maximum population size of the species that the environment can sustain indefinitely, given the food, habitat, water and other necessities available in the environment...

 of its habitat
Habitat
* Habitat , a place where a species lives and grows*Human habitat, a place where humans live, work or play** Space habitat, a space station intended as a permanent settlement...

. The term often refers to the relationship between the human population
World population
The world population is the total number of living humans on the planet Earth. As of today, it is estimated to be  billion by the United States Census Bureau...

 and its environment
Environment (biophysical)
The biophysical environment is the combined modeling of the physical environment and the biological life forms within the environment, and includes all variables, parameters as well as conditions and modes inside the Earth's biosphere. The biophysical environment can be divided into two categories:...

, the Earth. Steve Jones
Steve Jones (biologist)
John Stephen Jones is a Welsh geneticist and from 1995 to 1999 and 2008 to June 2010 was Head of the Department of Genetics, Evolution and Environment at University College London. His studies are conducted in the Galton Laboratory. He is also a television presenter and a prize-winning author on...

, head of the biology department at University College London
University College London
University College London is a public research university located in London, United Kingdom and the oldest and largest constituent college of the federal University of London...

, has said, "Humans are 10,000 times more common than we should be, according to the rules of the animal kingdom, and we have agriculture to thank for that. Without farming, the world population would probably have reached half a million by now." The world’s population has significantly increased in the last 50 years, mainly due to medical advancements and substantial increases in agricultural productivity.

The recent rapid increase in human population over the past two centuries has raised concerns that humans are beginning to overpopulate the Earth, and that the planet may not be able to sustain present or larger numbers of inhabitants.
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Encyclopedia
Overpopulation is a condition where an organism
Organism
In biology, an organism is any contiguous living system . In at least some form, all organisms are capable of response to stimuli, reproduction, growth and development, and maintenance of homoeostasis as a stable whole.An organism may either be unicellular or, as in the case of humans, comprise...

's numbers exceed the carrying capacity
Carrying capacity
The carrying capacity of a biological species in an environment is the maximum population size of the species that the environment can sustain indefinitely, given the food, habitat, water and other necessities available in the environment...

 of its habitat
Habitat
* Habitat , a place where a species lives and grows*Human habitat, a place where humans live, work or play** Space habitat, a space station intended as a permanent settlement...

. The term often refers to the relationship between the human population
World population
The world population is the total number of living humans on the planet Earth. As of today, it is estimated to be  billion by the United States Census Bureau...

 and its environment
Environment (biophysical)
The biophysical environment is the combined modeling of the physical environment and the biological life forms within the environment, and includes all variables, parameters as well as conditions and modes inside the Earth's biosphere. The biophysical environment can be divided into two categories:...

, the Earth. Steve Jones
Steve Jones (biologist)
John Stephen Jones is a Welsh geneticist and from 1995 to 1999 and 2008 to June 2010 was Head of the Department of Genetics, Evolution and Environment at University College London. His studies are conducted in the Galton Laboratory. He is also a television presenter and a prize-winning author on...

, head of the biology department at University College London
University College London
University College London is a public research university located in London, United Kingdom and the oldest and largest constituent college of the federal University of London...

, has said, "Humans are 10,000 times more common than we should be, according to the rules of the animal kingdom, and we have agriculture to thank for that. Without farming, the world population would probably have reached half a million by now." The world’s population has significantly increased in the last 50 years, mainly due to medical advancements and substantial increases in agricultural productivity.

The recent rapid increase in human population over the past two centuries has raised concerns that humans are beginning to overpopulate the Earth, and that the planet may not be able to sustain present or larger numbers of inhabitants. The population has been growing continuously since the end of the Black Death
Black Death
The Black Death was one of the most devastating pandemics in human history, peaking in Europe between 1348 and 1350. Of several competing theories, the dominant explanation for the Black Death is the plague theory, which attributes the outbreak to the bacterium Yersinia pestis. Thought to have...

, around the year 1400; at the beginning of the 19th century, it had reached roughly 1,000,000,000 (1 billion
1000000000 (number)
1,000,000,000 is the natural number following 999,999,999 and preceding 1,000,000,001.In scientific notation, it is written as 109....

). Increases in medical technology have led to rapid population growth on a worldwide level. Current projections show a steady decline in the population growth rate, with the population expected
World population estimates
A list of data for historical and projected human population of planet Earth from various sources is recorded here for reference...

 to reach between 8 and 10.5 billion between the year 2040 and 2050. In May 2011, The United Nations increased the medium variant projections to 9.3 billion for 2050 and 10.1 billion for 2100.




The InterAcademy Panel Statement on Population Growth
IAP statement on population growth
The InterAcademy Panel Statement on Population Growth is an international scientist consensus document discussing and demanding a halt of the population expansion. This was the first worldwide joint statement of academies of sciences, and their cooperative InterAcademy Panel on International Issues...

, which was ratified by 58 member national academies
National academy
A national academy is an organizational body, usually operating with state financial support and approval, that co-ordinates scholarly research activities and standards for academic disciplines, most frequently in the sciences but also the humanities. Typically the country's learned societies in...

 in 1994, called the growth in human numbers "unprecedented", and stated that many environmental problems, such as rising levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide, global warming
Global warming
Global warming refers to the rising average temperature of Earth's atmosphere and oceans and its projected continuation. In the last 100 years, Earth's average surface temperature increased by about with about two thirds of the increase occurring over just the last three decades...

, and pollution, were aggravated by the population expansion. At the time, the world population stood at 5.5 billion, and low-bound scenarios predicted a peak of 7.8 billion by 2050, a number that current estimates show will be reached around 2022.

However, the rate of population growth has been declining since the 1980s, and is expected to stabilize by around the middle of the 21st century. Furthermore, some believe that waste
Waste
Waste is unwanted or useless materials. In biology, waste is any of the many unwanted substances or toxins that are expelled from living organisms, metabolic waste; such as urea, sweat or feces. Litter is waste which has been disposed of improperly...

 and over-consumption
Consumption
Consumption may refer to:Economics* Use of final goods by a consumer until disposal* Consumption * Consumption function, an economic formula* Consumption Sociology* Consumption Other...

, especially by wealthy nations, is the force putting strain on the environment.

The United Nations has expressed concern on excessive population growth in sub-Saharan Africa during a report on the human population reaching 7 billion.

Definition


Overpopulation does not depend only on the size or density of the population, but on the ratio of population to available sustainable resources. It also depends on the way resources are used and distributed throughout the population. Overpopulation can result from an increase in births, a decline in mortality rate
Mortality rate
Mortality rate is a measure of the number of deaths in a population, scaled to the size of that population, per unit time...

s due to medical advances, from an increase in immigration, or from an unsustainable
Sustainability
Sustainability is the capacity to endure. For humans, sustainability is the long-term maintenance of well being, which has environmental, economic, and social dimensions, and encompasses the concept of union, an interdependent relationship and mutual responsible position with all living and non...

 biome
Biome
Biomes are climatically and geographically defined as similar climatic conditions on the Earth, such as communities of plants, animals, and soil organisms, and are often referred to as ecosystems. Some parts of the earth have more or less the same kind of abiotic and biotic factors spread over a...

 and depletion of resources. It is possible for very sparsely populated areas to be overpopulated, as the area in question may have a meager or non-existent capability to sustain human life (e.g. a desert
Desert
A desert is a landscape or region that receives an extremely low amount of precipitation, less than enough to support growth of most plants. Most deserts have an average annual precipitation of less than...

).

The resources to be considered when evaluating whether an ecological niche is overpopulated include clean water
Drinking water
Drinking water or potable water is water pure enough to be consumed or used with low risk of immediate or long term harm. In most developed countries, the water supplied to households, commerce and industry is all of drinking water standard, even though only a very small proportion is actually...

, clean air, food, shelter, warmth, and other resources necessary to sustain life. If the quality of human life is addressed, there may be additional resources considered, such as medical care, education, proper sewage treatment
Sewage treatment
Sewage treatment, or domestic wastewater treatment, is the process of removing contaminants from wastewater and household sewage, both runoff and domestic. It includes physical, chemical, and biological processes to remove physical, chemical and biological contaminants...

 waste disposal and energy supplies. Overpopulation places competitive stress on the basic life sustaining resources, leading to a diminished quality of life.

History of concern


Concern about overpopulation is relatively recent in origin. Throughout history, populations have grown slowly despite high birth rates, due to the population-reducing effects of war, plagues and high infant mortality
Infant mortality
Infant mortality is defined as the number of infant deaths per 1000 live births. Traditionally, the most common cause worldwide was dehydration from diarrhea. However, the spreading information about Oral Re-hydration Solution to mothers around the world has decreased the rate of children dying...

. During the 750 years before the Industrial Revolution
Industrial Revolution
The Industrial Revolution was a period from the 18th to the 19th century where major changes in agriculture, manufacturing, mining, transportation, and technology had a profound effect on the social, economic and cultural conditions of the times...

, the world's population hardly increased, remaining under 250 million.

By the beginning of the 19th century, the world population had grown to a billion individuals, and intellectuals such as Thomas Malthus
Thomas Malthus
The Reverend Thomas Robert Malthus FRS was an English scholar, influential in political economy and demography. Malthus popularized the economic theory of rent....

 and physiocratic economists predicted that mankind would outgrow its available resources, since a finite amount of land was incapable of supporting an endlessly increasing population. Mercantillists
Mercantilism
Mercantilism is the economic doctrine in which government control of foreign trade is of paramount importance for ensuring the prosperity and security of the state. In particular, it demands a positive balance of trade. Mercantilism dominated Western European economic policy and discourse from...

 argued that a large population was a form of wealth, which made it possible to create bigger markets and armies.

History of population growth



Population
Year Billion
1804 1
1927 2
1959 3
1974 4
1987 5
1999 6
2011* 7
estimate 31.10.2011


The human population has gone through a number of periods of growth since the dawn of civilization
Civilization
Civilization is a sometimes controversial term that has been used in several related ways. Primarily, the term has been used to refer to the material and instrumental side of human cultures that are complex in terms of technology, science, and division of labor. Such civilizations are generally...

 in the Holocene
Holocene
The Holocene is a geological epoch which began at the end of the Pleistocene and continues to the present. The Holocene is part of the Quaternary period. Its name comes from the Greek words and , meaning "entirely recent"...

 period, around 10,000 BC
Common Era
Common Era ,abbreviated as CE, is an alternative designation for the calendar era originally introduced by Dionysius Exiguus in the 6th century, traditionally identified with Anno Domini .Dates before the year 1 CE are indicated by the usage of BCE, short for Before the Common Era Common Era...

. The beginning of civilization coincides with the final receding of glacial ice following the end of the last glacial period. It is estimated that about 1,000,000 people, subsisting on hunting and foraging
Foraging
- Definitions and significance of foraging behavior :Foraging is the act of searching for and exploiting food resources. It affects an animal's fitness because it plays an important role in an animal's ability to survive and reproduce...

, inhabited the Earth in the period before the neolithic revolution
Neolithic Revolution
The Neolithic Revolution was the first agricultural revolution. It was the transition from hunting and gathering to agriculture and settlement. Archaeological data indicates that various forms of plants and animal domestication evolved independently in 6 separate locations worldwide circa...

, when human activity shifted away from hunter-gathering and towards very primitive farming.

Around 8000 BCE, at the dawn of agriculture, the population of the world was approximately 5 million. The next several millennia saw minimal changes in the population, with a steady growth beginning in 1000 BCE, plateauing (or alternatively, peaking) in 1 BCE, at between 200 and 300 million people.
The Plague of Justinian
Plague of Justinian
The Plague of Justinian was a pandemic that afflicted the Eastern Roman Empire , including its capital Constantinople, in 541–542 AD. It was one of the greatest plagues in history. The most commonly accepted cause of the pandemic is bubonic plague, which later became infamous for either causing or...

 caused Europe's population
Medieval demography
This article discusses human demography in Europe during the Middle Ages, including population trends and movements. Demographic changes helped to shape and define the Middle Ages...

 to drop by around 50% between 541 and the 8th century. Steady growth resumed in 800 CE. This growth was disrupted by frequent plagues; most notably, the Black Death
Black Death
The Black Death was one of the most devastating pandemics in human history, peaking in Europe between 1348 and 1350. Of several competing theories, the dominant explanation for the Black Death is the plague theory, which attributes the outbreak to the bacterium Yersinia pestis. Thought to have...

 during the 14th century. The effects of the Black Death are thought to have reduced the world's population, then at an estimated 450 million, to between 350 and 375 million by 1400. The population of Europe stood at over 70 million in 1340; these levels did not return until 200 years later.

On the other side of the globe, China's population at the founding of the Ming dynasty
Ming Dynasty
The Ming Dynasty, also Empire of the Great Ming, was the ruling dynasty of China from 1368 to 1644, following the collapse of the Mongol-led Yuan Dynasty. The Ming, "one of the greatest eras of orderly government and social stability in human history", was the last dynasty in China ruled by ethnic...

 in 1368 stood close to 60 million, approaching 150 million by the end of the dynasty in 1644.

England's population reached an estimated 5.6 million in 1650, up from an estimated 2.6 million in 1500. New crops that had come to Asia and Europe from the Americas via the Spanish colonizers in the 16th century contributed to the population growth.

Since being introduced by Portuguese traders in the 16th century, maize and manioc have replaced traditional African crops as the continent's most important staple food crops.

Alfred W. Crosby speculated that increased production of maize, manioc, and other
American crops "...enabled the slave traders [who] drew many, perhaps most, of their cargoes from the rain forest areas, precisely those areas where American crops enabled heavier settlement than
before."

Disadvantages


The population of the Americas in 1500 may have been between 50 and 100 million.

Encounters between European explorers and populations in the rest of the world often introduced local epidemics of extraordinary virulence. Archaeological evidence indicates that the death of around 90% of the Native American population
Population history of American indigenous peoples
The population figures for Indigenous peoples in the Americas before the 1492 voyage of Christopher Columbus have proven difficult to establish and rely on archaeological data and written records from European settlers...

 of the New World
New World
The New World is one of the names used for the Western Hemisphere, specifically America and sometimes Oceania . The term originated in the late 15th century, when America had been recently discovered by European explorers, expanding the geographical horizon of the people of the European middle...

 was caused by Old World
Old World
The Old World consists of those parts of the world known to classical antiquity and the European Middle Ages. It is used in the context of, and contrast with, the "New World" ....

 diseases such as smallpox
Smallpox
Smallpox was an infectious disease unique to humans, caused by either of two virus variants, Variola major and Variola minor. The disease is also known by the Latin names Variola or Variola vera, which is a derivative of the Latin varius, meaning "spotted", or varus, meaning "pimple"...

, measles, and influenza.

Over the centuries, the Europeans had developed high degrees of immunity to these diseases, while the indigenous peoples had no such immunity.
  • After the effects of the plagues had subsided during the 17th century, shortly before the Industrial Revolution
    Industrial Revolution
    The Industrial Revolution was a period from the 18th to the 19th century where major changes in agriculture, manufacturing, mining, transportation, and technology had a profound effect on the social, economic and cultural conditions of the times...

    , the world population began to grow once again. In parts of Asia, like China, the population doubled from 60 to 150 million under the Ming dynasty
    Ming Dynasty
    The Ming Dynasty, also Empire of the Great Ming, was the ruling dynasty of China from 1368 to 1644, following the collapse of the Mongol-led Yuan Dynasty. The Ming, "one of the greatest eras of orderly government and social stability in human history", was the last dynasty in China ruled by ethnic...

    .

  • After the start of the Industrial Revolution, during the 18th century, the rate of population growth began to increase. By the end of the century, the world's population was estimated at just under 1 billion.
  • At the turn of the 20th century, the world's population was roughly 1.6 billion. By 1940, this figure had increased to 2.3 billion.
  • Dramatic growth beginning in 1950 (above 1.8% per year) coincided with greatly increased food production as a result of the industrialisation of agriculture brought about by the Green Revolution
    Green Revolution
    Green Revolution refers to a series of research, development, and technology transfer initiatives, occurring between the 1940s and the late 1970s, that increased agriculture production around the world, beginning most markedly in the late 1960s....

    . The rate of growth peaked in 1964, at about 2.2% per year.
  • The world population was at some point in 2010 estimated to be , with unreported variability
    Variability
    The term variability, "the state or characteristic of being variable", describes how spread out or closely clustered a set of data is. This may be applied to many different subjects:*Climate variability...

    .


1900
  • Africa – 133 million
  • Asia – 946 million
  • Europe – 408 million
  • Latin America & Caribbean – 74 million
  • North America – 82 million

1960s to 2010 table of population growth

Population growth 1990–2008 (%)
Africa 55 %
Middle East 51 %
Asia 35 %
Latin America 30 % 65
OECD North America 24 %
OECD Europe 9 %
OECD Pacific 8 %
Former Soviet Union  -1 %
Non-OECD Europe -11 %


Many of the world's countries, including many in Sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East, South Asia and South East Asia, have seen a sharp rise in population since the end of the Cold War
Cold War
The Cold War was the continuing state from roughly 1946 to 1991 of political conflict, military tension, proxy wars, and economic competition between the Communist World—primarily the Soviet Union and its satellite states and allies—and the powers of the Western world, primarily the United States...

. The fear is that high population numbers are putting further strain on natural resources, food supplies, fuel supplies, employment, housing, etc.; in some the less fortunate countries. The population of Chad
Chad
Chad , officially known as the Republic of Chad, is a landlocked country in Central Africa. It is bordered by Libya to the north, Sudan to the east, the Central African Republic to the south, Cameroon and Nigeria to the southwest, and Niger to the west...

 has, for example, ultimately grown from 6,279,921 in 1993 to 10,329,208 in 2009, further straining its resources. Vietnam
Vietnam
Vietnam – sometimes spelled Viet Nam , officially the Socialist Republic of Vietnam – is the easternmost country on the Indochina Peninsula in Southeast Asia. It is bordered by China to the north, Laos to the northwest, Cambodia to the southwest, and the South China Sea –...

, Mexico, Nigeria
Nigeria
Nigeria , officially the Federal Republic of Nigeria, is a federal constitutional republic comprising 36 states and its Federal Capital Territory, Abuja. The country is located in West Africa and shares land borders with the Republic of Benin in the west, Chad and Cameroon in the east, and Niger in...

, Egypt, Ethiopia
Ethiopia
Ethiopia , officially known as the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, is a country located in the Horn of Africa. It is the second-most populous nation in Africa, with over 82 million inhabitants, and the tenth-largest by area, occupying 1,100,000 km2...

 and the DRC are witnessing a similar growth in population, strained resources and a possible overpopulation problem in the near future.

The situation was most acute in northern, western and central Africa. Refugees from places like the Sudan
Sudan
Sudan , officially the Republic of the Sudan , is a country in North Africa, sometimes considered part of the Middle East politically. It is bordered by Egypt to the north, the Red Sea to the northeast, Eritrea and Ethiopia to the east, South Sudan to the south, the Central African Republic to the...

 have helped further strain the resources of neighbouring states like Chad and Egypt. The nation is also host to roughly 255,000 refugee
Refugee
A refugee is a person who outside her country of origin or habitual residence because she has suffered persecution on account of race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or because she is a member of a persecuted 'social group'. Such a person may be referred to as an 'asylum seeker' until...

s from Sudan’s Darfur
Darfur
Darfur is a region in western Sudan. An independent sultanate for several hundred years, it was incorporated into Sudan by Anglo-Egyptian forces in 1916. The region is divided into three federal states: West Darfur, South Darfur, and North Darfur...

 region, and about 77,000 refugees from the Central African Republic
Central African Republic
The Central African Republic , is a landlocked country in Central Africa. It borders Chad in the north, Sudan in the north east, South Sudan in the east, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Republic of the Congo in the south, and Cameroon in the west. The CAR covers a land area of about ,...

, whilst approximately 188,000 Chadians have been displaced by their own civil war and famines, have either fled to either the Sudan, the Niger or, more recently, Libya
Libya
Libya is an African country in the Maghreb region of North Africa bordered by the Mediterranean Sea to the north, Egypt to the east, Sudan to the southeast, Chad and Niger to the south, and Algeria and Tunisia to the west....

.
Example nation 1st Population total. 2nd Population total. 3rd Population total.4th Population total.5th Population total.Life expectancy in years. Total population growth from 1st Pop. Total to 5th Pop. Total.
Eritrea
Eritrea
Eritrea , officially the State of Eritrea, is a country in the Horn of Africa. Eritrea derives it's name from the Greek word Erethria, meaning 'red land'. The capital is Asmara. It is bordered by Sudan in the west, Ethiopia in the south, and Djibouti in the southeast...

*
N/A* N/A* 3,437,000(1994) 4,298,269 (2002) 5,673,520 (2008) 61 (2008) 2,236,520 (since independence)
Ethiopia
Ethiopia
Ethiopia , officially known as the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, is a country located in the Horn of Africa. It is the second-most populous nation in Africa, with over 82 million inhabitants, and the tenth-largest by area, occupying 1,100,000 km2...

*
23,457,000(1967)* 50,974,000(1990)* 54,939,000(1994) 67,673,031(2003) 79,221,000(2008) 55(2008) 55,764,000
Sudan
Sudan
Sudan , officially the Republic of the Sudan , is a country in North Africa, sometimes considered part of the Middle East politically. It is bordered by Egypt to the north, the Red Sea to the northeast, Eritrea and Ethiopia to the east, South Sudan to the south, the Central African Republic to the...

**
14,355,000(1967)** 25,204,000(1990)** 27,361,000 (1994)** 38,114,160 (2003)** 42,272,000(2008)** 50(2008)** 27,917,000
Chad
Chad
Chad , officially known as the Republic of Chad, is a landlocked country in Central Africa. It is bordered by Libya to the north, Sudan to the east, the Central African Republic to the south, Cameroon and Nigeria to the southwest, and Niger to the west...

 
3,410,000(1967) 5,679,000(1990) 6,183,000 (1994) 9,253,493(2003) 10,329,208 (2009) 47(2008) 6,919,205
Niger
Niger
Niger , officially named the Republic of Niger, is a landlocked country in Western Africa, named after the Niger River. It borders Nigeria and Benin to the south, Burkina Faso and Mali to the west, Algeria and Libya to the north and Chad to the east...

3,546,000(1967) 7,732,000(1990) 8,846,000(1994) 10,790,352 (2001) 15,306,252 (2009) 44 (2008) 11,760,252
Nigeria
Nigeria
Nigeria , officially the Federal Republic of Nigeria, is a federal constitutional republic comprising 36 states and its Federal Capital Territory, Abuja. The country is located in West Africa and shares land borders with the Republic of Benin in the west, Chad and Cameroon in the east, and Niger in...

61,450,000(1967) 88,500,000(1990) 108,467,000 (1994) 129,934,911 (2002) 158,259,000 (2008) 47(2008) 96,809,000
Mali
Mali
Mali , officially the Republic of Mali , is a landlocked country in Western Africa. Mali borders Algeria on the north, Niger on the east, Burkina Faso and the Côte d'Ivoire on the south, Guinea on the south-west, and Senegal and Mauritania on the west. Its size is just over 1,240,000 km² with...

4,745,000(1967) 8,156,000(1990), 10,462,000(1994) 11,340,480(2002) 14,517,176(2010). 50(2008) 9,772,176
Mauritania
Mauritania
Mauritania is a country in the Maghreb and West Africa. It is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean in the west, by Western Sahara in the north, by Algeria in the northeast, by Mali in the east and southeast, and by Senegal in the southwest...

 
1,050,000(1967) 2,025,000(1990) 2,211,000 (1994) 2,667,859 (2003) 3,291,000 (2009) 54(2008) 2,241,000
Senegal
Senegal
Senegal , officially the Republic of Senegal , is a country in western Africa. It owes its name to the Sénégal River that borders it to the east and north...

3,607,000(1967) 7,327,000(1990) 8,102,000 (1994) 9,967,215(2002) 13,711,597 (2009) 57(2008) 10,104,597
Gambia 343,000(1967) 861,000(1990) 1,081,000 (1994) 1,367,124 (2000) 1,705,000(2008) 55(2008) 1,362,000
Algeria
Algeria
Algeria , officially the People's Democratic Republic of Algeria , also formally referred to as the Democratic and Popular Republic of Algeria, is a country in the Maghreb region of Northwest Africa with Algiers as its capital.In terms of land area, it is the largest country in Africa and the Arab...

 
11,833,126 (1966) 25,012,000 (1990) 27,325,000 (1994) 32,818,500 (2003) 34,895,000 (2008) 74 (2008) 23,061,874
The DRC/Zaire 16,353,000(1967) 35,562,000 (1990) 42,552,000 (1994) 55,225,478 (2003) 70,916,439 (2008) 54(2008) 54,563,439
Egypt
Egypt
Egypt , officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, Arabic: , is a country mainly in North Africa, with the Sinai Peninsula forming a land bridge in Southwest Asia. Egypt is thus a transcontinental country, and a major power in Africa, the Mediterranean Basin, the Middle East and the Muslim world...

 
30,083,419 (1966) 53,153,000 (1990) 58,326,000 (1994) 70,712,345 (2003) 79,089,650 (2008) 72 (2008) 49,006,231
Réunion
Réunion
Réunion is a French island with a population of about 800,000 located in the Indian Ocean, east of Madagascar, about south west of Mauritius, the nearest island.Administratively, Réunion is one of the overseas departments of France...

 (French colony)
418,000 (1967) N/A(1990) N/A (1994) 720,934 (2003) 827,000 (2009) N/A (2008) 409,000
The Falkland Islands
Falkland Islands
The Falkland Islands are an archipelago in the South Atlantic Ocean, located about from the coast of mainland South America. The archipelago consists of East Falkland, West Falkland and 776 lesser islands. The capital, Stanley, is on East Falkland...

 (UK colony)
2,500(1967) N/A(1990) N/A(1994) 2,967 (2003) 3,140(2010) N/A(2008) 640
Chile
Chile
Chile ,officially the Republic of Chile , is a country in South America occupying a long, narrow coastal strip between the Andes mountains to the east and the Pacific Ocean to the west. It borders Peru to the north, Bolivia to the northeast, Argentina to the east, and the Drake Passage in the far...

8,935,500(1967) 13,173,000 (1990) 13,994,000(1994) 15,116,435 (2002) 17,224,200 (2011) 77 (2008) 8,288,700
Colombia
Colombia
Colombia, officially the Republic of Colombia , is a unitary constitutional republic comprising thirty-two departments. The country is located in northwestern South America, bordered to the east by Venezuela and Brazil; to the south by Ecuador and Peru; to the north by the Caribbean Sea; to the...

19,191,000(1967) 32,987,000(1990) 34,520,000(1994) 41,088,227 (2002) 45,925,397(2010) 73 (2008) 26,734,397
Brazil
Brazil
Brazil , officially the Federative Republic of Brazil , is the largest country in South America. It is the world's fifth largest country, both by geographical area and by population with over 192 million people...

85,655,000(1967) 150,368,000 (1990) 153,725,000 (1994) 174,468,575 (2000) 190,732,694(2010) 72(2008) 105,077,694
Mexico
Mexico
The United Mexican States , commonly known as Mexico , is a federal constitutional republic in North America. It is bordered on the north by the United States; on the south and west by the Pacific Ocean; on the southeast by Guatemala, Belize, and the Caribbean Sea; and on the east by the Gulf of...

45,671,000(1967) 86,154,000(1990) 93,008,000(1994) 103,400,165 (2000) 112,322,757(2010) 76(2008) 66,651,757
Fiji
Fiji
Fiji , officially the Republic of Fiji , is an island nation in Melanesia in the South Pacific Ocean about northeast of New Zealand's North Island...

 
476,727 (1966) 765,000(1990) 771,000 (1994) 844,330 (2001) 849,000 (2010) 70 (2008) 372,273
Nauru
Nauru
Nauru , officially the Republic of Nauru and formerly known as Pleasant Island, is an island country in Micronesia in the South Pacific. Its nearest neighbour is Banaba Island in Kiribati, to the east. Nauru is the world's smallest republic, covering just...

6,050(1966) 10,000(1990) N/A (1994) 12,329 (2002) 9,322 (2011) N/A (2008) 3,272
Jamaican  1,876,000 (1967) 2,420,000 (1990) 2,429,000 (1994) 2,695,867 (2003) 2,847,232 (2010) 74 (2008) 971,232
Australia 11,540,764 (1964) 17,086,000 (1990) 17,843,000 (1994) 19,546,792 (2003) (2010) 82 (2008) 11,066,508
Albania
Albania
Albania , officially known as the Republic of Albania , is a country in Southeastern Europe, in the Balkans region. It is bordered by Montenegro to the northwest, Kosovo to the northeast, the Republic of Macedonia to the east and Greece to the south and southeast. It has a coast on the Adriatic Sea...

 
1,965,500(1964) 3,250,000 (1990) 3,414,000 (1994) 3,510,484 (2002) 2,986,952 (July 2010 est.) (2010) 78 (2008) 1,021,452
Poland
Poland
Poland , officially the Republic of Poland , is a country in Central Europe bordered by Germany to the west; the Czech Republic and Slovakia to the south; Ukraine, Belarus and Lithuania to the east; and the Baltic Sea and Kaliningrad Oblast, a Russian exclave, to the north...

31,944,000(1967) 38,180,000 (1990) 38,554,000 (1994) 38,626,349 (2001) 38,192,000(2010) 75 (2008) 6,248,000
Hungary
Hungary
Hungary , officially the Republic of Hungary , is a landlocked country in Central Europe. It is situated in the Carpathian Basin and is bordered by Slovakia to the north, Ukraine and Romania to the east, Serbia and Croatia to the south, Slovenia to the southwest and Austria to the west. The...

10,212,000(1967) 10,553,000 (1990) 10,261,000 (1994) 10,106,017 (2002) 9,979,000(2010) 73 (2008) −142,000
Bulgaria
Bulgaria
Bulgaria , officially the Republic of Bulgaria , is a parliamentary democracy within a unitary constitutional republic in Southeast Europe. The country borders Romania to the north, Serbia and Macedonia to the west, Greece and Turkey to the south, as well as the Black Sea to the east...

8,226,564(1965) 8,980,000 (1990) 8,443,000 (1994) 7,707,495(2000) 7,351,234 (2011) 73 (2008) −875,330
UK 55,068,000 (1966) 57,411,000 (1990) 58,091,000 (1994) 58,789,194 (2002) 62,008,048 (2010) 79(2008) 7,020,048
Ireland/Éire 2,884,002(1966) 3,503,000(1990) 3,571,000 (1994) 3,840,838 (2000) 4,470,700 (2010) 78 (2008) 1,586,698
The PRC/China 720,000,000(1967) 1,139,060,000(1990) 1,208,841,000 (1994) 1,286,975,468 (2004) 1,339,724,852(2010) 73 (2008) 619,724,852
Japan*** 98,274,961(1965) 123,537,000(1990) 124,961,000 (1994) 127,333,002 (2002) 127,420,000 (2010) 82(2008) 28,123,865
Ryukyu Islands
Ryukyu Islands
The , also known as the , is a chain of islands in the western Pacific, on the eastern limit of the East China Sea and to the southwest of the island of Kyushu in Japan. From about 1829 until the mid 20th century, they were alternately called Luchu, Loochoo, or Lewchew, akin to the Mandarin...

 (Once occupied by America)***
934,176(1965)
India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

#
511,115,000 (1967) 843,931,000 (1990) 918,570,000 (1994) 1,028,610,328 (2001) 1,210,193,422(2011) 69 (2008) 699,078,422


Notes
* Eritrea
Eritrea
Eritrea , officially the State of Eritrea, is a country in the Horn of Africa. Eritrea derives it's name from the Greek word Erethria, meaning 'red land'. The capital is Asmara. It is bordered by Sudan in the west, Ethiopia in the south, and Djibouti in the southeast...

 left Ethiopia
Ethiopia
Ethiopia , officially known as the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, is a country located in the Horn of Africa. It is the second-most populous nation in Africa, with over 82 million inhabitants, and the tenth-largest by area, occupying 1,100,000 km2...

 in 1991.
** Split in to the nations of Sudan
Sudan
Sudan , officially the Republic of the Sudan , is a country in North Africa, sometimes considered part of the Middle East politically. It is bordered by Egypt to the north, the Red Sea to the northeast, Eritrea and Ethiopia to the east, South Sudan to the south, the Central African Republic to the...

 and Southern Sudan during 2011.
*** Merged in 1972.
# Merged in 1975.

Population (1000 million) and growth 1990–2008 (%)
1990 2008 %
Eritrea* (1992) 3184 5674 78 %
Ethiopia* 50974 79221 55 %
Sudan** 25204 42272 68 %
Chad (2009) 5679 10329 82 %
Niger (2009) 7732 15306 98 %
Nigeria 88500 158259 79 %
Mali (2010) 8156 14517 78 %
Mauritania (2009) 2025 3291 63 %
Senegal (2009) 7327 13712 87 %
Gambia 861000 1705000 98 %
Algeria 25012 34895 40 %
Zaire 35562 70916 99 %
Egypt 53153 79090 49 %
Chile (2011) 13173 17224 31 %
Colombia (2010) 32987 45925 39 %
Brazil (2010) 150368 190733 27 %
Mexico (2010) 86154 112323 30 %
Fiji (2010) 765 849 11 %
Nauru (2011) 10000 9322 -7 %
Jamaican (2010) 2420 2847 18 %
Australia (2010) 17086 22687 33 %
Albania (2010) 3250 2987 -8 %
Poland(2010) 38180 38192 0 %
Hungary (2010) 10553 9979 -5 %
Bulgaria (2011) 8980 7351 -18 %
UK (2010) 57411 62008 8 %
Ireland/Éire (2010) 3503 4471 28 %
China(2010) 1139060 1339725 18 %
Japan (2010) 123537 127420 3 %
India (2011) 843931 1210193 43 %
Year after country if different, refs as in the previous table

Population growth 1990–2008 (%)
Qatar
Qatar
Qatar , also known as the State of Qatar or locally Dawlat Qaṭar, is a sovereign Arab state, located in the Middle East, occupying the small Qatar Peninsula on the northeasterly coast of the much larger Arabian Peninsula. Its sole land border is with Saudi Arabia to the south, with the rest of its...

 
174 %
UAE
United Arab Emirates
The United Arab Emirates, abbreviated as the UAE, or shortened to "the Emirates", is a state situated in the southeast of the Arabian Peninsula in Western Asia on the Persian Gulf, bordering Oman, and Saudi Arabia, and sharing sea borders with Iraq, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, and Iran.The UAE is a...

 
140 %
Jordan
Jordan
Jordan , officially the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan , Al-Mamlaka al-Urduniyya al-Hashemiyya) is a kingdom on the East Bank of the River Jordan. The country borders Saudi Arabia to the east and south-east, Iraq to the north-east, Syria to the north and the West Bank and Israel to the west, sharing...

 
86 %
Benin
Benin
Benin , officially the Republic of Benin, is a country in West Africa. It borders Togo to the west, Nigeria to the east and Burkina Faso and Niger to the north. Its small southern coastline on the Bight of Benin is where a majority of the population is located...

 
81 %
Congo
Democratic Republic of the Congo
The Democratic Republic of the Congo is a state located in Central Africa. It is the second largest country in Africa by area and the eleventh largest in the world...

 
69 %
Angola
Angola
Angola, officially the Republic of Angola , is a country in south-central Africa bordered by Namibia on the south, the Democratic Republic of the Congo on the north, and Zambia on the east; its west coast is on the Atlantic Ocean with Luanda as its capital city...

 
69 %
Tanzania
Tanzania
The United Republic of Tanzania is a country in East Africa bordered by Kenya and Uganda to the north, Rwanda, Burundi, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the west, and Zambia, Malawi, and Mozambique to the south. The country's eastern borders lie on the Indian Ocean.Tanzania is a state...

 
67 %
Syria
Syria
Syria , officially the Syrian Arab Republic , is a country in Western Asia, bordering Lebanon and the Mediterranean Sea to the West, Turkey to the north, Iraq to the east, Jordan to the south, and Israel to the southwest....

 
67 %
Togo
Togo
Togo, officially the Togolese Republic , is a country in West Africa bordered by Ghana to the west, Benin to the east and Burkina Faso to the north. It extends south to the Gulf of Guinea, on which the capital Lomé is located. Togo covers an area of approximately with a population of approximately...

 
65 %
Kenya
Kenya
Kenya , officially known as the Republic of Kenya, is a country in East Africa that lies on the equator, with the Indian Ocean to its south-east...

 
64 %
Côte d'Ivoire
Côte d'Ivoire
The Republic of Côte d'Ivoire or Ivory Coast is a country in West Africa. It has an area of , and borders the countries Liberia, Guinea, Mali, Burkina Faso and Ghana; its southern boundary is along the Gulf of Guinea. The country's population was 15,366,672 in 1998 and was estimated to be...

 
63 %
Senegal
Senegal
Senegal , officially the Republic of Senegal , is a country in western Africa. It owes its name to the Sénégal River that borders it to the east and north...

 
62 %
Mozambique
Mozambique
Mozambique, officially the Republic of Mozambique , is a country in southeastern Africa bordered by the Indian Ocean to the east, Tanzania to the north, Malawi and Zambia to the northwest, Zimbabwe to the west and Swaziland and South Africa to the southwest...

 
61 %
Nigeria
Nigeria
Nigeria , officially the Federal Republic of Nigeria, is a federal constitutional republic comprising 36 states and its Federal Capital Territory, Abuja. The country is located in West Africa and shares land borders with the Republic of Benin in the west, Chad and Cameroon in the east, and Niger in...

 
60 %
Zambia
Zambia
Zambia , officially the Republic of Zambia, is a landlocked country in Southern Africa. The neighbouring countries are the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the north, Tanzania to the north-east, Malawi to the east, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Botswana and Namibia to the south, and Angola to the west....

 
60 %
Singapore
Singapore
Singapore , officially the Republic of Singapore, is a Southeast Asian city-state off the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula, north of the equator. An island country made up of 63 islands, it is separated from Malaysia by the Straits of Johor to its north and from Indonesia's Riau Islands by the...

 
59 %
Eritrea
Eritrea
Eritrea , officially the State of Eritrea, is a country in the Horn of Africa. Eritrea derives it's name from the Greek word Erethria, meaning 'red land'. The capital is Asmara. It is bordered by Sudan in the west, Ethiopia in the south, and Djibouti in the southeast...

 
57 %
Ethiopia
Ethiopia
Ethiopia , officially known as the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, is a country located in the Horn of Africa. It is the second-most populous nation in Africa, with over 82 million inhabitants, and the tenth-largest by area, occupying 1,100,000 km2...

 
57 %
Gabon
Gabon
Gabon , officially the Gabonese Republic is a state in west central Africa sharing borders with Equatorial Guinea to the northwest, Cameroon to the north, and with the Republic of the Congo curving around the east and south. The Gulf of Guinea, an arm of the Atlantic Ocean is to the west...

 
56 %
Israel
Israel
The State of Israel is a parliamentary republic located in the Middle East, along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea...

 
56 %
Ghana
Ghana
Ghana , officially the Republic of Ghana, is a country located in West Africa. It is bordered by Côte d'Ivoire to the west, Burkina Faso to the north, Togo to the east, and the Gulf of Guinea to the south...

 
56 %
Iraq
Iraq
Iraq ; officially the Republic of Iraq is a country in Western Asia spanning most of the northwestern end of the Zagros mountain range, the eastern part of the Syrian Desert and the northern part of the Arabian Desert....

 
56 %
Bahrain
Bahrain
' , officially the Kingdom of Bahrain , is a small island state near the western shores of the Persian Gulf. It is ruled by the Al Khalifa royal family. The population in 2010 stood at 1,214,705, including 235,108 non-nationals. Formerly an emirate, Bahrain was declared a kingdom in 2002.Bahrain is...

 
56 %
Brunei
Brunei
Brunei , officially the State of Brunei Darussalam or the Nation of Brunei, the Abode of Peace , is a sovereign state located on the north coast of the island of Borneo, in Southeast Asia...

 
54 %
Cameroon
Cameroon
Cameroon, officially the Republic of Cameroon , is a country in west Central Africa. It is bordered by Nigeria to the west; Chad to the northeast; the Central African Republic to the east; and Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, and the Republic of the Congo to the south. Cameroon's coastline lies on the...

 
54 %
Pakistan
Pakistan
Pakistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is a sovereign state in South Asia. It has a coastline along the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman in the south and is bordered by Afghanistan and Iran in the west, India in the east and China in the far northeast. In the north, Tajikistan...

 
54 %
Guatemala
Guatemala
Guatemala is a country in Central America bordered by Mexico to the north and west, the Pacific Ocean to the southwest, Belize to the northeast, the Caribbean to the east, and Honduras and El Salvador to the southeast...

 
54 %
Sudan
Sudan
Sudan , officially the Republic of the Sudan , is a country in North Africa, sometimes considered part of the Middle East politically. It is bordered by Egypt to the north, the Red Sea to the northeast, Eritrea and Ethiopia to the east, South Sudan to the south, the Central African Republic to the...

 
53 %
Oman
Oman
Oman , officially called the Sultanate of Oman , is an Arab state in southwest Asia on the southeast coast of the Arabian Peninsula. It is bordered by the United Arab Emirates to the northwest, Saudi Arabia to the west, and Yemen to the southwest. The coast is formed by the Arabian Sea on the...

 
51 %

Projections of population growth



According to projections, the world population will continue to grow until at least 2050, with the population reaching 9 billion in 2040, and some predictions putting the population in 2050 as high as 11 billion.

According to the United Nations' World Population Prospects report:
  • The world population
    World population
    The world population is the total number of living humans on the planet Earth. As of today, it is estimated to be  billion by the United States Census Bureau...

     is currently growing by approximately 74 million people per year. Current United Nations predictions estimate that the world population will reach 9.0 billion around 2050, assuming a decrease in average fertility rate from 2.5 down to 2.0.
  • Almost all growth will take place in the less developed regions, where today's 5.3 billion population of underdeveloped countries is expected to increase to 7.8 billion in 2050. By contrast, the population of the more developed regions will remain mostly unchanged, at 1.2 billion. An exception is the United States population, which is expected to increase 44% from 305 million in 2008 to 439 million in 2050.
  • In 2000–2005, the average world fertility was 2.65 children per woman, about half the level in 1950–1955 (5 children per woman). In the medium variant, global fertility is projected to decline further to 2.05 children per woman.
  • During 2005–2050, nine countries are expected to account for half of the world's projected population increase: India
    India
    India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

    , Pakistan, Nigeria
    Nigeria
    Nigeria , officially the Federal Republic of Nigeria, is a federal constitutional republic comprising 36 states and its Federal Capital Territory, Abuja. The country is located in West Africa and shares land borders with the Republic of Benin in the west, Chad and Cameroon in the east, and Niger in...

    , Democratic Republic of the Congo, Bangladesh
    Bangladesh
    Bangladesh , officially the People's Republic of Bangladesh is a sovereign state located in South Asia. It is bordered by India on all sides except for a small border with Burma to the far southeast and by the Bay of Bengal to the south...

    , Uganda, United States, Ethiopia, and China, listed according to the size of their contribution to population growth. China would be higher still in this list were it not for its One Child Policy.
  • Global life expectancy at birth, which is estimated to have risen from 46 years in 1950–1955 to 65 years in 2000–2005, is expected to keep rising to reach 75 years in 2045–2050. In the more developed regions, the projected increase is from 75 years today to 82 years by mid-century. Among the least developed countries, where life expectancy today is just under 50 years, it is expected to be 66 years in 2045–2050.
  • The population of 51 countries or areas, including Germany, Italy, Japan and most of the successor States of the former Soviet Union, is expected to be lower in 2050 than in 2005.
  • During 2005–2050, the net number of international migrants to more developed regions is projected to be 98 million. Because deaths are projected to exceed births in the more developed regions by 73 million during 2005–2050, population growth in those regions will largely be due to international migration.
  • In 2000–2005, net migration in 28 countries either prevented population decline
    Population decline
    Population decline can refer to the decline in population of any organism, but this article refers to population decline in humans. It is a term usually used to describe any great reduction in a human population...

     or doubled at least the contribution of natural increase (births minus deaths) to population growth. These countries include Austria, Canada, Croatia, Denmark, Germany, Italy, Portugal, Qatar, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, United Arab Emirates and United Kingdom.
  • Birth rates are now falling in a small percentage of developing countries
    Developing country
    A developing country, also known as a less-developed country, is a nation with a low level of material well-being. Since no single definition of the term developing country is recognized internationally, the levels of development may vary widely within so-called developing countries...

    , while the actual populations in many developed countries
    Developed country
    A developed country is a country that has a high level of development according to some criteria. Which criteria, and which countries are classified as being developed, is a contentious issue...

     would fall without immigration.
  • By 2050 (Medium variant), India will have 1.6 billion people, China 1.4 billion, United States 439 million, Pakistan 309 million, Indonesia
    Indonesia
    Indonesia , officially the Republic of Indonesia , is a country in Southeast Asia and Oceania. Indonesia is an archipelago comprising approximately 13,000 islands. It has 33 provinces with over 238 million people, and is the world's fourth most populous country. Indonesia is a republic, with an...

     280 million, Nigeria
    Nigeria
    Nigeria , officially the Federal Republic of Nigeria, is a federal constitutional republic comprising 36 states and its Federal Capital Territory, Abuja. The country is located in West Africa and shares land borders with the Republic of Benin in the west, Chad and Cameroon in the east, and Niger in...

     259 million, Bangladesh
    Bangladesh
    Bangladesh , officially the People's Republic of Bangladesh is a sovereign state located in South Asia. It is bordered by India on all sides except for a small border with Burma to the far southeast and by the Bay of Bengal to the south...

     258 million, Brazil
    Brazil
    Brazil , officially the Federative Republic of Brazil , is the largest country in South America. It is the world's fifth largest country, both by geographical area and by population with over 192 million people...

     245 million, Democratic Republic of the Congo
    Democratic Republic of the Congo
    The Democratic Republic of the Congo is a state located in Central Africa. It is the second largest country in Africa by area and the eleventh largest in the world...

     189 million, Ethiopia
    Ethiopia
    Ethiopia , officially known as the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, is a country located in the Horn of Africa. It is the second-most populous nation in Africa, with over 82 million inhabitants, and the tenth-largest by area, occupying 1,100,000 km2...

     185 million, Philippines
    Philippines
    The Philippines , officially known as the Republic of the Philippines , is a country in Southeast Asia in the western Pacific Ocean. To its north across the Luzon Strait lies Taiwan. West across the South China Sea sits Vietnam...

     141 million, Mexico 132 million, Egypt
    Egypt
    Egypt , officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, Arabic: , is a country mainly in North Africa, with the Sinai Peninsula forming a land bridge in Southwest Asia. Egypt is thus a transcontinental country, and a major power in Africa, the Mediterranean Basin, the Middle East and the Muslim world...

     125 million, Vietnam
    Vietnam
    Vietnam – sometimes spelled Viet Nam , officially the Socialist Republic of Vietnam – is the easternmost country on the Indochina Peninsula in Southeast Asia. It is bordered by China to the north, Laos to the northwest, Cambodia to the southwest, and the South China Sea –...

     120 million, Russia 109 million, Japan 103 million, Iran
    Iran
    Iran , officially the Islamic Republic of Iran , is a country in Southern and Western Asia. The name "Iran" has been in use natively since the Sassanian era and came into use internationally in 1935, before which the country was known to the Western world as Persia...

     100 million, Turkey
    Turkey
    Turkey , known officially as the Republic of Turkey , is a Eurasian country located in Western Asia and in East Thrace in Southeastern Europe...

     99 million, Uganda
    Uganda
    Uganda , officially the Republic of Uganda, is a landlocked country in East Africa. Uganda is also known as the "Pearl of Africa". It is bordered on the east by Kenya, on the north by South Sudan, on the west by the Democratic Republic of the Congo, on the southwest by Rwanda, and on the south by...

     93 million, Tanzania
    Tanzania
    The United Republic of Tanzania is a country in East Africa bordered by Kenya and Uganda to the north, Rwanda, Burundi, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the west, and Zambia, Malawi, and Mozambique to the south. The country's eastern borders lie on the Indian Ocean.Tanzania is a state...

     85 million, Kenya
    Kenya
    Kenya , officially known as the Republic of Kenya, is a country in East Africa that lies on the equator, with the Indian Ocean to its south-east...

     85 million and United Kingdom 80 million.


2050
  • Africa – 1.9 billion
  • Asia – 5.2 billion
  • Europe – 674 million
  • Latin America & Caribbean – 765 million
  • North America – 448 million


Walter Greiling
Walter Greiling
Walter Greiling was a German chemist and futurologist. He sometimes used the pseudonym Walt Grey.- Life :...

 projected in the 1950s that world population would reach a peak of about nine billion, in the 21st century, and then stop growing, after a readjustment of the Third World
Third World
The term Third World arose during the Cold War to define countries that remained non-aligned with either capitalism and NATO , or communism and the Soviet Union...

 and a sanitation of the tropics. Recent extrapolations from available figures for population growth show that the population of Earth will stop increasing around 2070.

Demographic transition




The theory of demographic transition held that, after the standard of living
Standard of living
Standard of living is generally measured by standards such as real income per person and poverty rate. Other measures such as access and quality of health care, income growth inequality and educational standards are also used. Examples are access to certain goods , or measures of health such as...

 and life expectancy
Life expectancy
Life expectancy is the expected number of years of life remaining at a given age. It is denoted by ex, which means the average number of subsequent years of life for someone now aged x, according to a particular mortality experience...

 increase, family sizes and birth rate
Birth rate
Crude birth rate is the nativity or childbirths per 1,000 people per year . Another word used interchangeably with "birth rate" is "natality". When the crude birth rate is subtracted from the crude death rate, it reveals the rate of natural increase...

s decline. However, as new data has become available, it has been observed that after a certain level of development the fertility increases again. This means that both the worry the theory generated about aging populations and the complacency it bred regarding the future environmental impact of population growth are misguided.

Factors cited in the old theory included such social factors as later ages of marriage, the growing desire of many women in such settings to seek careers outside child rearing and domestic work, and the decreased need of children in industrialized settings. The latter factor stems from the fact that children perform a great deal of work
Child labor
Child labour refers to the employment of children at regular and sustained labour. This practice is considered exploitative by many international organizations and is illegal in many countries...

 in small-scale agricultural societies, and work less in industrial ones; it has been cited to explain the decline in birth rates in industrializing regions.

Another version of demographic transition is proposed by anthropologist Virginia Abernethy
Virginia Abernethy
Virginia Deane Abernethy is an American professor of psychiatry and anthropology at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine. She received a B.A. from Wellesley College, an M.B.A. from Vanderbilt University, and Ph.D. from Harvard University...

 in her book Population Politics, where she claims that the demographic transition occurs primarily in nations where women enjoy a special status (see Fertility-opportunity theory). In strongly patriarchal
Patriarchy
Patriarchy is a social system in which the role of the male as the primary authority figure is central to social organization, and where fathers hold authority over women, children, and property. It implies the institutions of male rule and privilege, and entails female subordination...

 nations, where she claims women enjoy few special rights, a high standard of living tends to result in population growth
Population growth
Population growth is the change in a population over time, and can be quantified as the change in the number of individuals of any species in a population using "per unit time" for measurement....

.

Many countries have high population growth rates but lower total fertility rates because high population growth in the past skewed the age demographic toward a young age, so the population still rises as the more numerous younger generation approaches maturity.

"Demographic entrapment" is a concept developed by Maurice King, Honorary Research Fellow at the University of Leeds
University of Leeds
The University of Leeds is a British Redbrick university located in the city of Leeds, West Yorkshire, England...

, who posits that this phenomenon occurs when a country has a population larger than its carrying capacity, no possibility of migration, and exports too little to be able to import food. This will cause starvation. He claims that for example many sub-Saharan nations are or will become stuck in demographic entrapment, instead of having a demographic transition.

For the world as a whole, the number of children born per woman decreased from 5.02 to 2.65 between 1950 and 2005. A breakdown by region is as follows:
  • Europe – 2.66 to 1.41
  • North America – 3.47 to 1.99
  • Oceania – 3.87 to 2.30
  • Central America – 6.38 to 2.66
  • South America – 5.75 to 2.49
  • Asia (excluding Middle East) – 5.85 to 2.43
  • Middle East & North Africa – 6.99 to 3.37
  • Sub-Saharan Africa – 6.7 to 5.53


Excluding the observed reversal in fertility decrease for high development, the projected world number of children born per woman for 2050 would be around 2.05. Only the Middle East & North Africa (2.09) and Sub-Saharan Africa (2.61) would then have numbers greater than 2.05.

Carrying capacity


There is wide variability both in the definition and in the proposed size of the Earth's carrying capacity, with estimates ranging from less than 1 to 1000 billion humans (1 trillion). Around two-thirds of the estimates fall in the range of 4 billion to 16 billion (with unspecified standard errors), with a median of about 10 billion.

In a study titled Food, Land, Population and the U.S. Economy, David Pimentel, professor of ecology and agriculture at Cornell University
Cornell University
Cornell University is an Ivy League university located in Ithaca, New York, United States. It is a private land-grant university, receiving annual funding from the State of New York for certain educational missions...

, and Mario Giampietro, senior researcher at the US National Research Institute on Food and Nutrition (INRAN), estimate the maximum U.S. population for a sustainable economy
Sustainability
Sustainability is the capacity to endure. For humans, sustainability is the long-term maintenance of well being, which has environmental, economic, and social dimensions, and encompasses the concept of union, an interdependent relationship and mutual responsible position with all living and non...

 at 200 million. According to this theory, in order to achieve a sustainable economy and avert disaster, the United States would have to reduce its population by at least one-third, and world population
World population
The world population is the total number of living humans on the planet Earth. As of today, it is estimated to be  billion by the United States Census Bureau...

 would have to be reduced by two-thirds.

Some groups (for example, the World Wide Fund for Nature
World Wide Fund for Nature
The World Wide Fund for Nature is an international non-governmental organization working on issues regarding the conservation, research and restoration of the environment, formerly named the World Wildlife Fund, which remains its official name in Canada and the United States...

  and Global Footprint Network
Global Footprint Network
Global Footprint Network, founded in 2003, is an independent think tank based in the United States, Belgium and Switzerland. Global Footprint Network works on tools for advancing sustainability.-Work:...

) have stated that the carrying capacity for the human population has been exceeded as measured using the Ecological Footprint
Ecological footprint
The ecological footprint is a measure of human demand on the Earth's ecosystems. It is a standardized measure of demand for natural capital that may be contrasted with the planet's ecological capacity to regenerate. It represents the amount of biologically productive land and sea area necessary to...

. In 2006, WWF
World Wide Fund for Nature
The World Wide Fund for Nature is an international non-governmental organization working on issues regarding the conservation, research and restoration of the environment, formerly named the World Wildlife Fund, which remains its official name in Canada and the United States...

's "Living Planet Report
Living Planet Report
Living Planet Report is published every two years by the World Wide Fund for Nature. It is based the their Living Planet Index and ecological footprint calculations.-External links:* - Living Planet Report**...

" stated that in order for all humans to live with the current consumption patterns of Europeans, we would be spending three times more than what the planet can renew. Humanity as a whole was using, by 2006, 40 percent more than what Earth can regenerate.

But critics question the simplifications and statistical methods used in calculating Ecological Footprints. Therefore Global Footprint Network and its partner organizations have engaged with national governments and international agencies to test the results – reviews have been produced by France, Germany, the European Commission, Switzerland, Luxembourg, Japan and the United Arab Emirates. Some point out that a more refined method of assessing Ecological Footprint is to designate sustainable versus non-sustainable categories of consumption. However, if yield estimates were adjusted for sustainable levels of production, the yield figures would be lower, and hence the overshoot estimated by the Ecological Footprint method even higher.

Resources


David Pimentel, Professor Emeritus at Cornell University
Cornell University
Cornell University is an Ivy League university located in Ithaca, New York, United States. It is a private land-grant university, receiving annual funding from the State of New York for certain educational missions...

, has stated that "With the imbalance growing between population numbers and vital life sustaining resources, humans must actively conserve cropland, freshwater, energy, and biological resources. There is a need to develop renewable energy resources. Humans everywhere must understand that rapid population growth damages the Earth's resources and diminishes human well-being."

These reflect the comments also of the United States Geological Survey
United States Geological Survey
The United States Geological Survey is a scientific agency of the United States government. The scientists of the USGS study the landscape of the United States, its natural resources, and the natural hazards that threaten it. The organization has four major science disciplines, concerning biology,...

 in their paper The Future of Planet Earth: Scientific Challenges in the Coming Century. "As the global population continues to grow...people will place greater and greater demands on the resources of our planet, including mineral and energy resources, open space, water
Water crisis
Water crisis is a general term used to describe a situation where the available water within a region is less than the region's demand. The term has been used to describe the availability of potable water in a variety of regions by the United Nations and other world organizations...

, and plant and animal resources." "Earth's natural wealth: an audit" by New Scientist
New Scientist
New Scientist is a weekly non-peer-reviewed English-language international science magazine, which since 1996 has also run a website, covering recent developments in science and technology for a general audience. Founded in 1956, it is published by Reed Business Information Ltd, a subsidiary of...

 magazine states that many of the minerals that we use for a variety of products are in danger of running out in the near future. A handful of geologists around the world have calculated the costs of new technologies in terms of the materials they use and the implications of their spreading to the developing world. All agree that the planet's booming population and rising standards of living are set to put unprecedented demands on the materials that only Earth itself can provide. Limitations on how much of these materials is available could even mean that some technologies are not worth pursuing long term.... "Virgin stocks of several metals appear inadequate to sustain the modern 'developed world' quality of life for all of Earth's people under contemporary technology".

On the other hand, some researchers, such as Julian Simon
Julian Lincoln Simon
Julian Lincoln Simon was a professor of business administration at the University of Maryland and a Senior Fellow at the Cato Institute at the time of his death, after previously serving as a longtime business professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.Simon wrote many books and...

 and Bjorn Lomborg believe that resources exist for further population growth. In a 2010 study, they concluded that "there are not (and will never be) too many people for the planet to feed" according to The Independent
The Independent
The Independent is a British national morning newspaper published in London by Independent Print Limited, owned by Alexander Lebedev since 2010. It is nicknamed the Indy, while the Sunday edition, The Independent on Sunday, is the Sindy. Launched in 1986, it is one of the youngest UK national daily...

. Some critics warn, this will be at a high cost to the Earth: "the technological optimists are probably correct in claiming that overall world food production can be increased substantially over the next few decades...[however] the environmental cost of what Paul R. and Anne H. Ehrlich describe as 'turning the Earth into a giant human feedlot' could be severe. A large expansion of agriculture to provide growing populations with improved diets is likely to lead to further deforestation
Deforestation
Deforestation is the removal of a forest or stand of trees where the land is thereafter converted to a nonforest use. Examples of deforestation include conversion of forestland to farms, ranches, or urban use....

, loss of species
Species
In biology, a species is one of the basic units of biological classification and a taxonomic rank. A species is often defined as a group of organisms capable of interbreeding and producing fertile offspring. While in many cases this definition is adequate, more precise or differing measures are...

, soil erosion, and pollution from pesticides and fertilizer runoff as farming intensifies and new land is brought into production." Since we are intimately dependent upon the living systems of the Earth, some scientists have questioned the wisdom of further expansion.

According to the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment
Millennium Ecosystem Assessment
The Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, released in 2005, is an international synthesis by over 1000 of the world's leading biological scientists that analyses the state of the Earth’s ecosystems and provides summaries and guidelines for decision-makers...

, a four-year research effort by 1,360 of the world's leading scientists commissioned to measure the actual value of natural resources to humans and the world, "The structure of the world's ecosystems changed more rapidly in the second half of the twentieth century than at any time in recorded human history, and virtually all of Earth's ecosystems have now been significantly transformed through human actions." "Ecosystem services, particularly food production, timber and fisheries, are important for employment and economic activity. Intensive use of ecosystems often produces the greatest short-term advantage, but excessive and unsustainable use can lead to losses in the long term. A country could cut its forests and deplete its fisheries, and this would show only as a positive gain to GDP, despite the loss of capital assets. If the full economic value of ecosystems were taken into account in decision-making, their degradation could be significantly slowed down or even reversed."

Another study by the United Nations Environment Programme
United Nations Environment Programme
The United Nations Environment Programme coordinates United Nations environmental activities, assisting developing countries in implementing environmentally sound policies and practices. It was founded as a result of the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment in June 1972 and has its...

 (UNEP) called the Global Environment Outlook
Global Environment Outlook
The UNEP Global Environment Outlook project was initiated in response to the environmental reporting requirements of Agenda 21 and to a UNEP Governing Council decision of May 1995 which requested the production of a new comprehensive global state of the environment report.The coordinated global...

 which involved 1,400 scientists and took five years to prepare comes to similar conclusions. It "found that human consumption had far outstripped available resources. Each person on Earth now requires a third more land to supply his or her needs than the planet can supply." It faults a failure to "respond to or recognise the magnitude of the challenges facing the people and the environment of the planet... 'The systematic destruction of the Earth's natural and nature-based resources has reached a point where the economic viability of economies is being challenged – and where the bill we hand to our children may prove impossible to pay'... The report's authors say its objective is 'not to present a dark and gloomy scenario, but an urgent call to action'. It warns that tackling the problems may affect the vested interests of powerful groups, and that the environment must be moved to the core of decision-making... '

Although all resources, whether mineral or other, are limited on the planet, there is a degree of self-correction whenever a scarcity or high-demand for a particular kind is experienced. For example in 1990 known reserves of many natural resources were higher, and their prices lower, than in 1970, despite higher demand and higher consumption. Whenever a price spike would occur, the market tended to correct itself whether by substituting an equivalent resource or switching to a new technology.

Fresh water



Fresh water
Fresh Water
Fresh Water is the debut album by Australian rock and blues singer Alison McCallum, released in 1972. Rare for an Australian artist at the time, it came in a gatefold sleeve...

 supplies, on which agriculture depends, are running low worldwide. This water crisis
Water crisis
Water crisis is a general term used to describe a situation where the available water within a region is less than the region's demand. The term has been used to describe the availability of potable water in a variety of regions by the United Nations and other world organizations...

 is only expected to worsen as the population increases.

Potential problems with dependence on desalination are reviewed below, however, the majority of the world's freshwater supply is contained in the polar icecaps, and underground river systems accessible through springs and wells.

Fresh water can be obtained from salt water by desalination
Desalination
Desalination, desalinization, or desalinisation refers to any of several processes that remove some amount of salt and other minerals from saline water...

. For example, Malta
Malta
Malta , officially known as the Republic of Malta , is a Southern European country consisting of an archipelago situated in the centre of the Mediterranean, south of Sicily, east of Tunisia and north of Libya, with Gibraltar to the west and Alexandria to the east.Malta covers just over in...

 derives two thirds of its freshwater by desalination. A number of nuclear power
Nuclear power
Nuclear power is the use of sustained nuclear fission to generate heat and electricity. Nuclear power plants provide about 6% of the world's energy and 13–14% of the world's electricity, with the U.S., France, and Japan together accounting for about 50% of nuclear generated electricity...

ed desalination plants exist; However, the high costs of desalination, especially for poor countries, make impractical the transport of large amounts of desalinated seawater to interiors of large countries. The cost of desalinization varies; Israel
Israel
The State of Israel is a parliamentary republic located in the Middle East, along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea...

 is now desalinating water for a cost of 53 cents per cubic meter, Singapore
Singapore
Singapore , officially the Republic of Singapore, is a Southeast Asian city-state off the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula, north of the equator. An island country made up of 63 islands, it is separated from Malaysia by the Straits of Johor to its north and from Indonesia's Riau Islands by the...

 at 49 cents per cubic meter. In the United States, the cost is 81 cents per cubic meter ($3.06 for 1,000 gallons).

According to a 2004 study by Zhoua and Tolb, "one needs to lift the water by 2000 m, or transport it over more than 1600 km to get transport costs equal to the desalination costs. Desalinated water is expensive in places that are both somewhat far from the sea and somewhat high, such as Riyadh
Riyadh
Riyadh is the capital and largest city of Saudi Arabia. It is also the capital of Riyadh Province, and belongs to the historical regions of Najd and Al-Yamama. It is situated in the center of the Arabian Peninsula on a large plateau, and is home to 5,254,560 people, and the urban center of a...

 and Harare
Harare
Harare before 1982 known as Salisbury) is the largest city and capital of Zimbabwe. It has an estimated population of 1,600,000, with 2,800,000 in its metropolitan area . Administratively, Harare is an independent city equivalent to a province. It is Zimbabwe's largest city and its...

. In other places, the dominant cost is desalination, not transport. This leads to somewhat lower costs in places like Beijing, Bangkok
Bangkok
Bangkok is the capital and largest urban area city in Thailand. It is known in Thai as Krung Thep Maha Nakhon or simply Krung Thep , meaning "city of angels." The full name of Bangkok is Krung Thep Mahanakhon Amon Rattanakosin Mahintharayutthaya Mahadilok Phop Noppharat Ratchathani Burirom...

, Zaragoza
Zaragoza
Zaragoza , also called Saragossa in English, is the capital city of the Zaragoza Province and of the autonomous community of Aragon, Spain...

, Phoenix
Phoenix, Arizona
Phoenix is the capital, and largest city, of the U.S. state of Arizona, as well as the sixth most populated city in the United States. Phoenix is home to 1,445,632 people according to the official 2010 U.S. Census Bureau data...

, and, of course, coastal cities like Tripoli
Tripoli
Tripoli is the capital and largest city in Libya. It is also known as Western Tripoli , to distinguish it from Tripoli, Lebanon. It is affectionately called The Mermaid of the Mediterranean , describing its turquoise waters and its whitewashed buildings. Tripoli is a Greek name that means "Three...

." Thus while the study is generally positive about the technology for affluent areas that are proximate to oceans, it concludes that "Desalinated water may be a solution for some water-stress regions, but not for places that are poor, deep in the interior of a continent, or at high elevation. Unfortunately, that includes some of the places with biggest water problems." Another potential problem with desalination is the byproduction of saline brine
Brine
Brine is water, saturated or nearly saturated with salt .Brine is used to preserve vegetables, fruit, fish, and meat, in a process known as brining . Brine is also commonly used to age Halloumi and Feta cheeses, or for pickling foodstuffs, as a means of preserving them...

, which can be a major cause of marine pollution when dumped back into the oceans at high temperatures."

The world's largest desalination plant is the Jebel Ali
Jebel Ali
Jebel Ali is a port town, located 35 kilometres southwest of the city of Dubai in the United Arab Emirates . The village has a thriving expatriate community with over 300 residents. The area is also home to "5,500 companies from 120 countries"....

 Desalination Plant (Phase 2) in the United Arab Emirates
United Arab Emirates
The United Arab Emirates, abbreviated as the UAE, or shortened to "the Emirates", is a state situated in the southeast of the Arabian Peninsula in Western Asia on the Persian Gulf, bordering Oman, and Saudi Arabia, and sharing sea borders with Iraq, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, and Iran.The UAE is a...

, which can produce 300 million cubic meters of water per year, or about 2500 gallons per second. The largest desalination plant in the US is the one at Tampa Bay
Tampa Bay
Tampa Bay is a large natural harbor and estuary along the Gulf of Mexico on the west central coast of Florida, comprising Hillsborough Bay, Old Tampa Bay, Middle Tampa Bay, and Lower Tampa Bay."Tampa Bay" is not the name of any municipality...

, Florida, which began desalinizing 25 million gallons (95000 m³) of water per day in December 2007. A 17 January 2008, article in the Wall Street Journal states, "Worldwide, 13,080 desalination plants produce more than 12 billion gallons of water a day, according to the International Desalination Association." After being desalinized at Jubail
Jubail
Jubail , is a city in the Eastern province on the Persian Gulf coast of Saudi Arabia. It consists of the Old Town of Al Jubail, which was originally a small fishing village, up to 1975 and the new industrial area....

, Saudi Arabia, water is pumped 200 miles (321.9 km) inland though a pipeline to the capital city of Riyadh
Riyadh
Riyadh is the capital and largest city of Saudi Arabia. It is also the capital of Riyadh Province, and belongs to the historical regions of Najd and Al-Yamama. It is situated in the center of the Arabian Peninsula on a large plateau, and is home to 5,254,560 people, and the urban center of a...

.

Food


Some scientists argue that there is enough food to support the world population, but critics dispute this, particularly if sustainability is taken into account.

Many countries rely heavily on imports however. Egypt
Egypt
Egypt , officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, Arabic: , is a country mainly in North Africa, with the Sinai Peninsula forming a land bridge in Southwest Asia. Egypt is thus a transcontinental country, and a major power in Africa, the Mediterranean Basin, the Middle East and the Muslim world...

 and Iran
Iran
Iran , officially the Islamic Republic of Iran , is a country in Southern and Western Asia. The name "Iran" has been in use natively since the Sassanian era and came into use internationally in 1935, before which the country was known to the Western world as Persia...

 rely on imports for 40% of their grain supply. Yemen
Yemen
The Republic of Yemen , commonly known as Yemen , is a country located in the Middle East, occupying the southwestern to southern end of the Arabian Peninsula. It is bordered by Saudi Arabia to the north, the Red Sea to the west, and Oman to the east....

 and Israel
Israel
The State of Israel is a parliamentary republic located in the Middle East, along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea...

 import more than 90%. And just 6 countries – Argentina
Argentina
Argentina , officially the Argentine Republic , is the second largest country in South America by land area, after Brazil. It is constituted as a federation of 23 provinces and an autonomous city, Buenos Aires...

, Australia, Canada, France, Thailand
Thailand
Thailand , officially the Kingdom of Thailand , formerly known as Siam , is a country located at the centre of the Indochina peninsula and Southeast Asia. It is bordered to the north by Burma and Laos, to the east by Laos and Cambodia, to the south by the Gulf of Thailand and Malaysia, and to the...

 and the USA – supply 90% of grain exports. In recent decades the US alone supplied almost half of world grain exports.

A 2001 United Nations report says population growth is "the main force driving increases in agricultural demand" but "most recent expert assessments are cautiously optimistic about the ability of global food production to keep up with demand for the foreseeable future (that is to say, until approximately 2030 or 2050)", assuming declining population growth rates.

However, the observed figures for 2007 show an actual increase in absolute numbers of undernourished people in the world, 923 million in 2007 versus 832 million in 1995.; the more recent FAO estimates point out to an even more dramatic increase, to 1.02 billion in 2009.

Global perspective




The amounts of natural resources in this context are not necessarily fixed, and their distribution is not necessarily a zero-sum game. For example, due to the Green Revolution
Green Revolution
Green Revolution refers to a series of research, development, and technology transfer initiatives, occurring between the 1940s and the late 1970s, that increased agriculture production around the world, beginning most markedly in the late 1960s....

 and the fact that more and more land is appropriated each year from wild lands for agricultural purposes, the worldwide production of food had steadily increased up until 1995. World food production per person was considerably higher in 2005 than 1961.

As world population doubled from 3 billion to 6 billion, daily Calorie
Calorie
The calorie is a pre-SI metric unit of energy. It was first defined by Nicolas Clément in 1824 as a unit of heat, entering French and English dictionaries between 1841 and 1867. In most fields its use is archaic, having been replaced by the SI unit of energy, the joule...

 consumption in poor countries increased from 1,932 to 2,650, and the percentage of people in those countries who were malnourished fell from 45% to 18%. This suggests that Third World poverty and famine are caused by underdevelopment, not overpopulation. However, others question these statistics. From 1950 to 1984, as the Green Revolution
Green Revolution
Green Revolution refers to a series of research, development, and technology transfer initiatives, occurring between the 1940s and the late 1970s, that increased agriculture production around the world, beginning most markedly in the late 1960s....

 transformed agriculture around the world, grain production increased by over 250%. The world population has grown by about four billion since the beginning of the Green Revolution and most believe that, without the Revolution, there would be greater famine
Famine
A famine is a widespread scarcity of food, caused by several factors including crop failure, overpopulation, or government policies. This phenomenon is usually accompanied or followed by regional malnutrition, starvation, epidemic, and increased mortality. Every continent in the world has...

 and malnutrition
Malnutrition
Malnutrition is the condition that results from taking an unbalanced diet in which certain nutrients are lacking, in excess , or in the wrong proportions....

 than the UN presently documents.

The number of people who are overweight
Obesity
Obesity is a medical condition in which excess body fat has accumulated to the extent that it may have an adverse effect on health, leading to reduced life expectancy and/or increased health problems...

 has surpassed the number who are undernourished. In a 2006 news story, MSNBC
MSNBC
MSNBC is a cable news channel based in the United States available in the US, Germany , South Africa, the Middle East and Canada...

 reported, "There are an estimated 800 million undernourished people and more than a billion considered overweight worldwide." The U.S. has one of the highest rates of obesity in the world.

The Food and Agriculture Organization
Food and Agriculture Organization
The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations is a specialised agency of the United Nations that leads international efforts to defeat hunger. Serving both developed and developing countries, FAO acts as a neutral forum where all nations meet as equals to negotiate agreements and...

 of the United Nations states in its report The State of Food Insecurity in the World 2006, that while the number of undernourished people in the developing countries has declined by about three million, a smaller proportion of the populations of developing countries is undernourished today than in 1990–92: 17% against 20%. Furthermore, FAO's projections suggest that the proportion of hungry people in developing countries could be halved from 1990–92 levels to 10% by 2015. The FAO also states "We have emphasized first and foremost that reducing hunger is no longer a question of means in the hands of the global community. The world is richer today than it was ten years ago. There is more food available and still more could be produced without excessive upward pressure on prices. The knowledge and resources to reduce hunger are there. What is lacking is sufficient political will to mobilize those resources to the benefit of the hungry."

As of 2008, the price of grain has increased due to more farming used in biofuel
Biofuel
Biofuel is a type of fuel whose energy is derived from biological carbon fixation. Biofuels include fuels derived from biomass conversion, as well as solid biomass, liquid fuels and various biogases...

s, world oil prices at over $100 a barrel, global population growth
Population growth
Population growth is the change in a population over time, and can be quantified as the change in the number of individuals of any species in a population using "per unit time" for measurement....

, climate change
Climate change
Climate change is a significant and lasting change in the statistical distribution of weather patterns over periods ranging from decades to millions of years. It may be a change in average weather conditions or the distribution of events around that average...

, loss of agricultural land to residential and industrial development, and growing consumer demand in China and India Food riot
2007–2008 world food price crisis
World food prices increased dramatically in 2007 and the 1st and 2nd quarter of 2008 creating a global crisis and causing political and economical instability and social unrest in both poor and developed nations. Systemic causes for the worldwide increases in food prices continue to be the subject...

s have recently taken place in many countries across the world. An epidemic of stem rust on wheat caused by race Ug99 is currently spreading across Africa and into Asia and is causing major concern. A virulent wheat disease could destroy most of the world's main wheat crops, leaving millions to starve. The fungus has spread from Africa to Iran
Iran
Iran , officially the Islamic Republic of Iran , is a country in Southern and Western Asia. The name "Iran" has been in use natively since the Sassanian era and came into use internationally in 1935, before which the country was known to the Western world as Persia...

, and may already be in Afghanistan
Afghanistan
Afghanistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, is a landlocked country located in the centre of Asia, forming South Asia, Central Asia and the Middle East. With a population of about 29 million, it has an area of , making it the 42nd most populous and 41st largest nation in the world...

 and Pakistan.

It is becoming increasingly difficult to maintain food security
Food security
Food security refers to the availability of food and one's access to it. A household is considered food-secure when its occupants do not live in hunger or fear of starvation. According to the World Resources Institute, global per capita food production has been increasing substantially for the past...

 in a world beset by a confluence of "peak" phenomena, namely peak oil
Peak oil
Peak oil is the point in time when the maximum rate of global petroleum extraction is reached, after which the rate of production enters terminal decline. This concept is based on the observed production rates of individual oil wells, projected reserves and the combined production rate of a field...

, peak water
Peak water
The term Peak Water has been put forward as a concept to help understand growing constraints on the availability, quality, and use of freshwater resources...

, peak phosphorus
Peak phosphorus
Peak phosphorus is the point in time at which the maximum global phosphorus production rate is reached. Phosphorus is a scarce finite resource on earth and due to its non-gaseous environmental cycle has resulted in alternative means other than mining being unavailable...

, peak grain and peak fish. Growing populations, falling energy sources and food shortages will create the "perfect storm" by 2030, according to the UK government chief scientist. He said food reserves are at a 50-year low but the world requires 50% more energy, food and water by 2030. The world will have to produce 70% more food by 2050 to feed a projected extra 2.3 billion people, the United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) warned.

Africa


In Africa, if current trends of soil degradation and population growth continue, the continent might be able to feed just 25% of its population by 2025, according to UNU
United Nations University
The United Nations University is an academic arm of the United Nations established in 1973, which serves purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations. The UNU undertakes research into the pressing global problems of human survival, development and welfare that are the concern of...

's Ghana
Ghana
Ghana , officially the Republic of Ghana, is a country located in West Africa. It is bordered by Côte d'Ivoire to the west, Burkina Faso to the north, Togo to the east, and the Gulf of Guinea to the south...

-based Institute for Natural Resources in Africa.

Hunger
Hunger
Hunger is the most commonly used term to describe the social condition of people who frequently experience the physical sensation of desiring food.-Malnutrition, famine, starvation:...

 and malnutrition
Malnutrition
Malnutrition is the condition that results from taking an unbalanced diet in which certain nutrients are lacking, in excess , or in the wrong proportions....

 kill nearly 6 million children a year, and more people are malnourished in sub-Saharan Africa
Sub-Saharan Africa
Sub-Saharan Africa as a geographical term refers to the area of the African continent which lies south of the Sahara. A political definition of Sub-Saharan Africa, instead, covers all African countries which are fully or partially located south of the Sahara...

 this decade than in the 1990s, according to a report released by the Food and Agriculture Organization
Food and Agriculture Organization
The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations is a specialised agency of the United Nations that leads international efforts to defeat hunger. Serving both developed and developing countries, FAO acts as a neutral forum where all nations meet as equals to negotiate agreements and...

. In sub-Saharan Africa, the number of malnourished people grew to 203.5 million people in 2000–02 from 170.4 million 10 years earlier says The State of Food Insecurity in the World report. In 2001, 46.4% of people in sub-Saharan Africa
Sub-Saharan Africa
Sub-Saharan Africa as a geographical term refers to the area of the African continent which lies south of the Sahara. A political definition of Sub-Saharan Africa, instead, covers all African countries which are fully or partially located south of the Sahara...

 were living in extreme poverty.

Asia


One survey says that nearly half of India's children are malnourished. According to a 2004 article from the BBC, China, the world's most populous country, suffers from an "obesity
Obesity
Obesity is a medical condition in which excess body fat has accumulated to the extent that it may have an adverse effect on health, leading to reduced life expectancy and/or increased health problems...

 surge". The article stated that, "Altogether, around 200 million people are thought to be overweight, 22.8% of the population, and 60 million (7.1%) obese". More recent data indicate China's grain production peaked in the mid 1990s, due to overextraction of groundwater
Groundwater
Groundwater is water located beneath the ground surface in soil pore spaces and in the fractures of rock formations. A unit of rock or an unconsolidated deposit is called an aquifer when it can yield a usable quantity of water. The depth at which soil pore spaces or fractures and voids in rock...

 in the North China plain.

Other Countries


Nearly half of India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

's children are malnourished, according to recent government data. Japan may face a food crisis that could reduce daily diets to the austere meals of the 1950s, believes a senior government adviser.

Population as a function of food availability


Thinkers such as David Pimentel, a professor from Cornell University
Cornell University
Cornell University is an Ivy League university located in Ithaca, New York, United States. It is a private land-grant university, receiving annual funding from the State of New York for certain educational missions...

, Virginia Abernethy
Virginia Abernethy
Virginia Deane Abernethy is an American professor of psychiatry and anthropology at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine. She received a B.A. from Wellesley College, an M.B.A. from Vanderbilt University, and Ph.D. from Harvard University...

, Alan Thornhill, Russell Hopffenberg and author Daniel Quinn
Daniel Quinn
Daniel Quinn is an American writer described as an environmentalist. He is best known for his book Ishmael , which won the Turner Tomorrow Fellowship Award in 1991....

 propose that like all other animals, human populations predictably grow and shrink according to their available food supply – populations grow in an abundance of food, and shrink in times of scarcity.

Proponents of this theory argue that every time food production is increased, the population grows. Some human populations throughout history support this theory. Populations of hunter-gatherer
Hunter-gatherer
A hunter-gatherer or forage society is one in which most or all food is obtained from wild plants and animals, in contrast to agricultural societies which rely mainly on domesticated species. Hunting and gathering was the ancestral subsistence mode of Homo, and all modern humans were...

s fluctuate in accordance with the amount of available food. Population increased after the Neolithic Revolution
Neolithic Revolution
The Neolithic Revolution was the first agricultural revolution. It was the transition from hunting and gathering to agriculture and settlement. Archaeological data indicates that various forms of plants and animal domestication evolved independently in 6 separate locations worldwide circa...

 and an increased food supply. This was followed by subsequent population growth after subsequent agricultural revolution
Agricultural revolution
Agricultural Revolution or Agrarian Revolution may refer to:*The Neolithic Revolution , the initial transition from hunting and gathering to settled agriculture in prehistory...

s.

Critics of this idea point out that birth rates are lowest in the developed nations, which also have the highest access to food. In fact, some developed countries have both a diminishing population and an abundant food supply. The United Nations projects that the population of 51 countries or areas, including Germany, Italy, Japan and most of the states of the former Soviet Union, is expected to be lower in 2050 than in 2005. This shows that when one limits their scope to the population living within a given political boundary, human populations do not always grow to match the available food supply. Additionally, many of these countries are major exporters of food.

Nevertheless, on the global scale the world population
World population
The world population is the total number of living humans on the planet Earth. As of today, it is estimated to be  billion by the United States Census Bureau...

 is increasing, as is the net quantity of human food produced – a pattern that has been true for roughly 10,000 years, since the human development of agriculture. That some countries demonstrate negative population growth fails to discredit the theory. Food moves across borders from areas of abundance to areas of scarcity. Additionally, this hypothesis is not so simplistic as to be rejected by a single case study, as in Germany's recent population trends – clearly other factors are at work: contraceptive access, cultural norms and most importantly economic realities differ from nation to nation.

As a result of water deficits


Water deficits, which are already spurring heavy grain imports in numerous smaller countries, may soon do the same in larger countries, such as China or India, if technology is not used. The water tables are falling in scores of countries (including Northern China, the US, and India) owing to widespread overdrafting
Overdrafting
Overdrafting is the process of extracting groundwater beyond the safe yield or equilibrium yield of the aquifer.Since every groundwater basin recharges at a different rate depending upon precipitation, vegetative cover and soil conservation practises, the quantity of groundwater that can be safely...

 beyond sustainable yields. Other countries affected include Pakistan, Iran
Iran
Iran , officially the Islamic Republic of Iran , is a country in Southern and Western Asia. The name "Iran" has been in use natively since the Sassanian era and came into use internationally in 1935, before which the country was known to the Western world as Persia...

, and Mexico. This overdrafting is already leading to water scarcity and cutbacks in grain harvest. Even with the overpumping of its aquifers, China has developed a grain deficit. This effect has contributed in driving grain prices upward. Most of the 3 billion people projected to be added worldwide by mid-century will be born in countries already experiencing water shortages. One suggested solution is for population growth
Population growth
Population growth is the change in a population over time, and can be quantified as the change in the number of individuals of any species in a population using "per unit time" for measurement....

 to be slowed quickly by investing heavily in female literacy
Literacy
Literacy has traditionally been described as the ability to read for knowledge, write coherently and think critically about printed material.Literacy represents the lifelong, intellectual process of gaining meaning from print...

 and family planning
Family planning
Family planning is the planning of when to have children, and the use of birth control and other techniques to implement such plans. Other techniques commonly used include sexuality education, prevention and management of sexually transmitted infections, pre-conception counseling and...

 services. Desalination
Desalination
Desalination, desalinization, or desalinisation refers to any of several processes that remove some amount of salt and other minerals from saline water...

 is also considered a viable and effective solution to the problem of water shortages.

After China and India, there is a second tier of smaller countries with large water deficits – Algeria
Algeria
Algeria , officially the People's Democratic Republic of Algeria , also formally referred to as the Democratic and Popular Republic of Algeria, is a country in the Maghreb region of Northwest Africa with Algiers as its capital.In terms of land area, it is the largest country in Africa and the Arab...

, Egypt, Iran
Iran
Iran , officially the Islamic Republic of Iran , is a country in Southern and Western Asia. The name "Iran" has been in use natively since the Sassanian era and came into use internationally in 1935, before which the country was known to the Western world as Persia...

, Mexico, and Pakistan. Four of these already import a large share of their grain. Only Pakistan remains self-sufficient. But with a population expanding by 4 million a year, it will also soon turn to the world market for grain.

Land


The World Resources Institute states that "Agricultural conversion to croplands and managed pasture
Pasture
Pasture is land used for grazing. Pasture lands in the narrow sense are enclosed tracts of farmland, grazed by domesticated livestock, such as horses, cattle, sheep or swine. The vegetation of tended pasture, forage, consists mainly of grasses, with an interspersion of legumes and other forbs...

s has affected some 3.3 billion [hectares] – roughly 26 percent of the land area. All totaled, agriculture has displaced one-third of temperate
Temperate forest
Temperate forests correspond to forest concentrations formed in the northern hemisphere. Main characteristics include: wide leaves, big and tall trees and non seasonal vegetation...

 and tropical forests and one-quarter of natural grasslands." Forty percent of the land area is under conversion and fragmented; less than one quarter, primarily in the Arctic and the deserts, remains intact. Usable land may become less useful through salinization, deforestation
Deforestation
Deforestation is the removal of a forest or stand of trees where the land is thereafter converted to a nonforest use. Examples of deforestation include conversion of forestland to farms, ranches, or urban use....

, desertification
Desertification
Desertification is the degradation of land in drylands. Caused by a variety of factors, such as climate change and human activities, desertification is one of the most significant global environmental problems.-Definitions:...

, erosion
Erosion
Erosion is when materials are removed from the surface and changed into something else. It only works by hydraulic actions and transport of solids in the natural environment, and leads to the deposition of these materials elsewhere...

, and urban sprawl
Urban sprawl
Urban sprawl, also known as suburban sprawl, is a multifaceted concept, which includes the spreading outwards of a city and its suburbs to its outskirts to low-density and auto-dependent development on rural land, high segregation of uses Urban sprawl, also known as suburban sprawl, is a...

. Global warming
Global warming
Global warming refers to the rising average temperature of Earth's atmosphere and oceans and its projected continuation. In the last 100 years, Earth's average surface temperature increased by about with about two thirds of the increase occurring over just the last three decades...

 may cause flooding of many of the most productive agricultural areas. The development of energy sources may also require large areas, for example, the building of hydroelectric dams. Thus, available useful land may become a limiting factor. By most estimates, at least half of cultivable land is already being farmed, and there are concerns that the remaining reserves are greatly overestimated.

High crop yield
Crop yield
In agriculture, crop yield is not only a measure of the yield of cereal per unit area of land under cultivation, yield is also the seed generation of the plant itself...

 vegetables like potatoes and lettuce use less space on inedible plant parts, like stalks, husks, vines, and inedible leaves. New varieties of selectively bred and hybrid plants have larger edible parts (fruit, vegetable, grain) and smaller inedible parts; however, many of these gain of agricultural technology are now historic, and new advances are more difficult to achieve. With new technologies, it is possible to grow crops on some marginal land under certain conditions. Aquaculture
Aquaculture
Aquaculture, also known as aquafarming, is the farming of aquatic organisms such as fish, crustaceans, molluscs and aquatic plants. Aquaculture involves cultivating freshwater and saltwater populations under controlled conditions, and can be contrasted with commercial fishing, which is the...

 could theoretically increase available area. Hydroponics
Hydroponics
Hydroponics is a method of growing plants using mineral nutrient solutions, in water, without soil. Terrestrial plants may be grown with their roots in the mineral nutrient solution only or in an inert medium, such as perlite, gravel, mineral wool, or coconut husk.Researchers discovered in the 18th...

 and food from bacteria and fungi, like quorn
Quorn
Quorn is the leading brand of mycoprotein food product in the UK and Ireland. The mycoprotein used to produce Quorn is extracted from a fungus, Fusarium venenatum, which is grown in large vats....

, may allow the growing of food without having to consider land quality, climate, or even available sunlight, although such a process may be very energy-intensive. Some argue that not all arable land will remain productive if used for agriculture because some marginal land can only be made to produce food by unsustainable practices like slash-and-burn agriculture. Even with the modern techniques of agriculture, the sustainability of production is in question.

Some countries, such as the United Arab Emirates
United Arab Emirates
The United Arab Emirates, abbreviated as the UAE, or shortened to "the Emirates", is a state situated in the southeast of the Arabian Peninsula in Western Asia on the Persian Gulf, bordering Oman, and Saudi Arabia, and sharing sea borders with Iraq, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, and Iran.The UAE is a...

 and particularly the Emirate of Dubai
Dubai
Dubai is a city and emirate in the United Arab Emirates . The emirate is located south of the Persian Gulf on the Arabian Peninsula and has the largest population with the second-largest land territory by area of all the emirates, after Abu Dhabi...

 have constructed large artificial islands, or have created large dam and dike systems, like the Netherlands, which reclaim land from the sea to increase their total land area. Some scientists have said that in the future, densely populated cities will use vertical farming
Vertical farming
Vertical farming is a concept that argues that it is economically and environmentally viable to cultivate plant or animal life within skyscrapers, or on vertically inclined surfaces...

 to grow food inside skyscrapers. The notion that space is limited has been decried by skeptics, who point out that the Earth's population of roughly 6.8 billion people could comfortably inhabit an area comparable in size to the state of Texas, in the United States (about 269000 square miles or 696,706.8 km²). However, the impact of humanity extends over a far greater area than that required simply for habitation.

Fossil fuels


Population optimists have been criticized for failing to take into account the depletion of the petroleum required for the production of fertilizers and fuel for transportation, as well as other fossil fuel
Fossil fuel
Fossil fuels are fuels formed by natural processes such as anaerobic decomposition of buried dead organisms. The age of the organisms and their resulting fossil fuels is typically millions of years, and sometimes exceeds 650 million years...

s. In his 1992 book Earth in the Balance
Earth in the Balance
Earth in the Balance: Ecology and the Human Spirit is a 1992 book written by Al Gore, published in June 1992, shortly before he was elected Vice President in the 1992 presidential election...

, Al Gore
Al Gore
Albert Arnold "Al" Gore, Jr. served as the 45th Vice President of the United States , under President Bill Clinton. He was the Democratic Party's nominee for President in the 2000 U.S. presidential election....

 wrote, "... it ought to be possible to establish a coordinated global program to accomplish the strategic goal of completely eliminating the internal combustion engine over, say, a twenty-five-year period..." Approximately half of the oil produced in the United States is refined into gasoline for use in internal combustion engines.

Optimists counter that fossil fuels will be sufficient until the development and implementation of suitable replacement technologies—such as hydrogen
Hydrogen economy
The hydrogen economy is a proposed system of delivering energy using hydrogen. The term hydrogen economy was coined by John Bockris during a talk he gave in 1970 at General Motors Technical Center....

 or other sources of renewable energy
Renewable energy
Renewable energy is energy which comes from natural resources such as sunlight, wind, rain, tides, and geothermal heat, which are renewable . About 16% of global final energy consumption comes from renewables, with 10% coming from traditional biomass, which is mainly used for heating, and 3.4% from...

—occurs. Methods of manufacturing fertilizers from garbage, sewage
Sewage
Sewage is water-carried waste, in solution or suspension, that is intended to be removed from a community. Also known as wastewater, it is more than 99% water and is characterized by volume or rate of flow, physical condition, chemical constituents and the bacteriological organisms that it contains...

, and agricultural waste by using thermal depolymerization
Thermal depolymerization
Thermal depolymerization is a depolymerization process using hydrous pyrolysis for the reduction of complex organic materials into light crude oil. It mimics the natural geological processes thought to be involved in the production of fossil fuels...

 have been discovered.

Wealth and poverty



The United Nations indicates that about 850 million people are malnourished
Malnutrition
Malnutrition is the condition that results from taking an unbalanced diet in which certain nutrients are lacking, in excess , or in the wrong proportions....

 or starving
Starvation
Starvation is a severe deficiency in caloric energy, nutrient and vitamin intake. It is the most extreme form of malnutrition. In humans, prolonged starvation can cause permanent organ damage and eventually, death...

, and 1.1 billion people do not have access
Water crisis
Water crisis is a general term used to describe a situation where the available water within a region is less than the region's demand. The term has been used to describe the availability of potable water in a variety of regions by the United Nations and other world organizations...

 to safe drinking water
Drinking water
Drinking water or potable water is water pure enough to be consumed or used with low risk of immediate or long term harm. In most developed countries, the water supplied to households, commerce and industry is all of drinking water standard, even though only a very small proportion is actually...

. Some argue that Earth may support 6 billion people, but only if many live in misery. The proportion of the world's population living on less than $1 per day has halved in 20 years, but these are inflation-unadjusted numbers and likely misleading.

The UN Human Development Report
Human Development Report
The Human Development Report is an annual milestone publication by the Human Development Report Office of the United Nations Development Programme .-History:...

 of 1997 states: "During the last 15–20 years, more than 100 developing countries, and several Eastern European countries, have suffered from disastrous growth failures. The reductions in standard of living
Standard of living
Standard of living is generally measured by standards such as real income per person and poverty rate. Other measures such as access and quality of health care, income growth inequality and educational standards are also used. Examples are access to certain goods , or measures of health such as...

 have been deeper and more long-lasting than what was seen in the industrialised countries during the depression in the 1930s
Great Depression
The Great Depression was a severe worldwide economic depression in the decade preceding World War II. The timing of the Great Depression varied across nations, but in most countries it started in about 1929 and lasted until the late 1930s or early 1940s...

. As a result, the income for more than one billion people has fallen below the level that was reached 10, 20 or 30 years ago". Similarly, although the proportion of "starving" people in sub-Saharan Africa
Sub-Saharan Africa
Sub-Saharan Africa as a geographical term refers to the area of the African continent which lies south of the Sahara. A political definition of Sub-Saharan Africa, instead, covers all African countries which are fully or partially located south of the Sahara...

 has decreased, the absolute number of starving people has increased due to population growth. The percentage dropped from 38% in 1970 to 33% in 1996 and was expected to be 30% by 2010. But the region's population roughly doubled between 1970 and 1996. To keep the numbers of starving constant, the percentage would have dropped by more than half.

As of 2004, there were 108 countries in the world with more than five million people. All of these in which women have, on the average, more than 4 children in their lifetime, have a per capita GDP of less than $5000. Only in two countries with per capita GDP above ~$15,000 do women have, on the average, more than 2 children in their lifetime: these are Israel and Saudi Arabia, with average lifetime births per woman between 2 and 4.

As their income increases, women are liberated and tend to have fewer "quantity kids", as in two in place of six.

The correlation does not imply cause and effect, and can be linked to the interplay of birth rates, death rates and economic development.

Environment


Overpopulation has substantially adversely impacted the environment of Earth starting at least as early as the 20th century. There are also economic consequences of this environmental degradation
Environmental degradation
Environmental degradation is the deterioration of the environment through depletion of resources such as air, water and soil; the destruction of ecosystems and the extinction of wildlife...

 in the form of ecosystem services
Ecosystem services
Humankind benefits from a multitude of resources and processes that are supplied by natural ecosystems. Collectively, these benefits are known as ecosystem services and include products like clean drinking water and processes such as the decomposition of wastes...

 attrition. Beyond the scientifically verifiable harm to the environment, some assert the moral right of other species to simply exist rather than become extinct. Environmental author Jeremy Rifkin
Jeremy Rifkin
Jeremy Rifkin is an American economist, writer, public speaker, political advisor and activist. He is the founder and president of the Foundation On Economic Trends...

 has said that "our burgeoning population and urban way of life have been purchased at the expense of vast ecosystems and habitats. ... It's no accident that as we celebrate the urbanization of the world, we are quickly approaching another historic watershed: the disappearance of the wild."

Says Peter Raven, former President of the American Association for the Advancement of Science
American Association for the Advancement of Science
The American Association for the Advancement of Science is an international non-profit organization with the stated goals of promoting cooperation among scientists, defending scientific freedom, encouraging scientific responsibility, and supporting scientific education and science outreach for the...

 (AAAS) in their seminal work AAAS Atlas of Population & Environment, "Where do we stand in our efforts to achieve a sustainable world? Clearly, the past half century has been a traumatic one, as the collective impact of human numbers, affluence (consumption per individual) and our choices of technology continue to exploit rapidly an increasing proportion of the world's resources at an unsustainable rate. ... During a remarkably short period of time, we have lost a quarter of the world's topsoil
Topsoil
Topsoil is the upper, outermost layer of soil, usually the top to . It has the highest concentration of organic matter and microorganisms and is where most of the Earth's biological soil activity occurs.-Importance:...

 and a fifth of its agricultural land, altered the composition of the atmosphere
Atmosphere
An atmosphere is a layer of gases that may surround a material body of sufficient mass, and that is held in place by the gravity of the body. An atmosphere may be retained for a longer duration, if the gravity is high and the atmosphere's temperature is low...

 profoundly, and destroyed a major proportion of our forests and other natural habitat
Habitat
* Habitat , a place where a species lives and grows*Human habitat, a place where humans live, work or play** Space habitat, a space station intended as a permanent settlement...

s without replacing them. Worst of all, we have driven the rate of biological extinction
Extinction
In biology and ecology, extinction is the end of an organism or of a group of organisms , normally a species. The moment of extinction is generally considered to be the death of the last individual of the species, although the capacity to breed and recover may have been lost before this point...

, the permanent loss of species, up several hundred times beyond its historical levels, and are threatened with the loss of a majority of all species by the end of the 21st century."

Further, even in countries which have both large population growth and major ecological problems, it is not necessarily true that curbing the population growth will make a major contribution towards resolving all environmental problems. However, as developing countries with high populations become more industrialized, pollution and consumption will invariably increase.

The Worldwatch Institute
Worldwatch Institute
The Worldwatch Institute is a globally focused environmental research organization based in Washington, D.C. Worldwatch was named as one of the top ten sustainable development research organizations by Globescan Survey of Sustainability Experts.-Mission:...

 said the booming economies of China
People's Republic of China
China , officially the People's Republic of China , is the most populous country in the world, with over 1.3 billion citizens. Located in East Asia, the country covers approximately 9.6 million square kilometres...

 and India are planetary powers that are shaping the global biosphere. The report states:
The world's ecological capacity is simply insufficient to satisfy the ambitions of China, India, Japan, Europe and the United States as well as the aspirations of the rest of the world in a sustainable way


It said that if China and India were to consume as much resources per capita as United States or Japan in 2030 together they would require a full planet Earth to meet their needs. In the longterm these effects can lead to increased conflict over dwindling resources and in the worst case a Malthusian catastrophe
Malthusian catastrophe
A Malthusian catastrophe was originally foreseen to be a forced return to subsistence-level conditions once population growth had outpaced agricultural production...

.

Many studies link population growth with emission
Emission
Emission may refer to:* Flue gas, also:** Exhaust gas, flue gas occurring as a result of the combustion of a fuel* Emission of air pollutants...

s and the effect of climate change
Climate change
Climate change is a significant and lasting change in the statistical distribution of weather patterns over periods ranging from decades to millions of years. It may be a change in average weather conditions or the distribution of events around that average...

.

Cities



In 1800 only 3% of the world's population
World population
The world population is the total number of living humans on the planet Earth. As of today, it is estimated to be  billion by the United States Census Bureau...

 lived in cities. By the 20th century's close, 47% did so. In 1950, there were 83 cities with populations exceeding one million; but by 2007, this had risen to 468 agglomerations of more than one million. If the trend continues, the world's urban population
Metropolis
A metropolis is a very large city or urban area which is a significant economic, political and cultural center for a country or region, and an important hub for regional or international connections and communications...

 will double every 38 years, according to researchers. The UN forecasts that today's urban population of 3.2 billion will rise to nearly 5 billion by 2030, when three out of five people will live in cities.

The increase will be most dramatic in the poorest and least-urbanised continents, Asia and Africa. Projections indicate that most urban growth over the next 25 years will be in developing countries. One billion people, one-sixth of the world's population, or one-third of urban population, now live in shanty towns, which are seen as "breeding grounds" for social problems such as crime, drug addiction , alcoholism, poverty and unemployment. In many poor countries, slums exhibit high rates of disease due to unsanitary conditions, malnutrition, and lack of basic health care.

In 2000, there were 18 megacities – conurbation
Conurbation
A conurbation is a region comprising a number of cities, large towns, and other urban areas that, through population growth and physical expansion, have merged to form one continuous urban and industrially developed area...

s such as Tokyo, Seoul
Seoul
Seoul , officially the Seoul Special City, is the capital and largest metropolis of South Korea. A megacity with a population of over 10 million, it is the largest city proper in the OECD developed world...

, Mexico City, Mumbai
Mumbai
Mumbai , formerly known as Bombay in English, is the capital of the Indian state of Maharashtra. It is the most populous city in India, and the fourth most populous city in the world, with a total metropolitan area population of approximately 20.5 million...

, São Paulo and New York City – that have populations in excess of 10 million inhabitants. Greater Tokyo already has 35 million, more than the entire population of Canada (at 34.1 million).

By 2025, according to the Far Eastern Economic Review, Asia alone will have at least 10 hypercities, those with 20 million or more, including Jakarta
Jakarta
Jakarta is the capital and largest city of Indonesia. Officially known as the Special Capital Territory of Jakarta, it is located on the northwest coast of Java, has an area of , and a population of 9,580,000. Jakarta is the country's economic, cultural and political centre...

 (24.9 million people), Dhaka
Dhaka
Dhaka is the capital of Bangladesh and the principal city of Dhaka Division. Dhaka is a megacity and one of the major cities of South Asia. Located on the banks of the Buriganga River, Dhaka, along with its metropolitan area, had a population of over 15 million in 2010, making it the largest city...

 (25 million), Karachi
Karachi
Karachi is the largest city, main seaport and the main financial centre of Pakistan, as well as the capital of the province of Sindh. The city has an estimated population of 13 to 15 million, while the total metropolitan area has a population of over 18 million...

 (26.5 million), Shanghai (27 million) and Mumbai
Mumbai
Mumbai , formerly known as Bombay in English, is the capital of the Indian state of Maharashtra. It is the most populous city in India, and the fourth most populous city in the world, with a total metropolitan area population of approximately 20.5 million...

 (33 million). Lagos
Lagos
Lagos is a port and the most populous conurbation in Nigeria. With a population of 7,937,932, it is currently the third most populous city in Africa after Cairo and Kinshasa, and currently estimated to be the second fastest growing city in Africa...

 has grown from 300,000 in 1950 to an estimated 15 million today, and the Nigerian government estimates that city will have expanded to 25 million residents by 2015. Chinese experts forecast that Chinese cities will contain 800 million people by 2020.

Despite the increase in population density within cities (and the emergence of megacities), UN Habitat states in its reports that urbanization may be the best compromise in the face of global population growth. Cities concentrate human activity within limited areas, limiting the breadth of environmental damage. But this mitigating influence can only be achieved if urban planning
Urban planning
Urban planning incorporates areas such as economics, design, ecology, sociology, geography, law, political science, and statistics to guide and ensure the orderly development of settlements and communities....

 is significantly improved and city services are properly maintained.

Effects of human overpopulation


Some problems associated with or exacerbated by human overpopulation:
  • Inadequate fresh water for drinking water
    Drinking water
    Drinking water or potable water is water pure enough to be consumed or used with low risk of immediate or long term harm. In most developed countries, the water supplied to households, commerce and industry is all of drinking water standard, even though only a very small proportion is actually...

     use as well as sewage treatment
    Sewage treatment
    Sewage treatment, or domestic wastewater treatment, is the process of removing contaminants from wastewater and household sewage, both runoff and domestic. It includes physical, chemical, and biological processes to remove physical, chemical and biological contaminants...

     and effluent
    Effluent
    Effluent is an outflowing of water or gas from a natural body of water, or from a human-made structure.Effluent is defined by the United States Environmental Protection Agency as “wastewater - treated or untreated - that flows out of a treatment plant, sewer, or industrial outfall. Generally refers...

     discharge. Some countries, like Saudi Arabia
    Saudi Arabia
    The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia , commonly known in British English as Saudi Arabia and in Arabic as as-Sa‘ūdiyyah , is the largest state in Western Asia by land area, constituting the bulk of the Arabian Peninsula, and the second-largest in the Arab World...

    , use energy-expensive desalination
    Desalination
    Desalination, desalinization, or desalinisation refers to any of several processes that remove some amount of salt and other minerals from saline water...

     to solve the problem of water shortages.
  • Depletion of natural resources, especially fossil fuels.
  • Increased levels of air pollution, water pollution
    Water pollution
    Water pollution is the contamination of water bodies . Water pollution occurs when pollutants are discharged directly or indirectly into water bodies without adequate treatment to remove harmful compounds....

    , soil contamination
    Soil contamination
    Soil contamination or soil pollution is caused by the presence of xenobiotic chemicals or other alteration in the natural soil environment....

     and noise pollution
    Noise pollution
    Noise pollution is excessive, displeasing human, animal or machine-created environmental noise that disrupts the activity or balance of human or animal life...

    . Once a country has industrialized and become wealthy, a combination of government regulation and technological innovation causes pollution to decline substantially, even as the population continues to grow.
  • Deforestation and loss of ecosystems that sustain global atmospheric oxygen and carbon dioxide balance; about eight million hectares of forest are lost each year.
  • Changes in atmospheric composition and consequent global warming
    Global warming
    Global warming refers to the rising average temperature of Earth's atmosphere and oceans and its projected continuation. In the last 100 years, Earth's average surface temperature increased by about with about two thirds of the increase occurring over just the last three decades...

    .
  • Irreversible loss of arable land
    Arable land
    In geography and agriculture, arable land is land that can be used for growing crops. It includes all land under temporary crops , temporary meadows for mowing or pasture, land under market and kitchen gardens and land temporarily fallow...

    and increases in desertification
    Desertification
    Desertification is the degradation of land in drylands. Caused by a variety of factors, such as climate change and human activities, desertification is one of the most significant global environmental problems.-Definitions:...

    . Deforestation and desertification can be reversed by adopting property rights, and this policy is successful even while the human population continues to grow.
  • Mass species extinctions from reduced habitat in tropical forests due to slash-and-burn techniques that sometimes are practiced by shifting cultivators
    Shifting cultivation
    Shifting cultivation is an agricultural system in which plots of land are cultivated temporarily, then abandoned. This system often involves clearing of a piece of land followed by several years of wood harvesting or farming, until the soil loses fertility...

    , especially in countries with rapidly expanding rural populations; present extinction
    Extinction
    In biology and ecology, extinction is the end of an organism or of a group of organisms , normally a species. The moment of extinction is generally considered to be the death of the last individual of the species, although the capacity to breed and recover may have been lost before this point...

     rates may be as high as 140,000 species
    Species
    In biology, a species is one of the basic units of biological classification and a taxonomic rank. A species is often defined as a group of organisms capable of interbreeding and producing fertile offspring. While in many cases this definition is adequate, more precise or differing measures are...

     lost per year. As of February 2011, the IUCN Red List
    IUCN Red List
    The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species , founded in 1963, is the world's most comprehensive inventory of the global conservation status of biological species. The International Union for Conservation of Nature is the world's main authority on the conservation status of species...

     lists a total of 801 animal species having gone extinct during recorded human history.
  • High infant and child mortality. High rates of infant mortality are caused by poverty. Rich countries with high population densities have low rates of infant mortality.
  • Intensive factory farming
    Factory farming
    Factory farming is a term referring to the process of raising livestock in confinement at high stocking density, where a farm operates as a factory — a practice typical in industrial farming by agribusinesses. The main products of this industry are meat, milk and eggs for human consumption...

    to support large populations. It results in human threats including the evolution and spread of antibiotic resistant bacteria diseases, excessive air and water pollution, and new viruses that infect humans.
  • Increased chance of the emergence of new epidemics and pandemic
    Pandemic
    A pandemic is an epidemic of infectious disease that is spreading through human populations across a large region; for instance multiple continents, or even worldwide. A widespread endemic disease that is stable in terms of how many people are getting sick from it is not a pandemic...

    s
    . For many environmental and social reasons, including overcrowded living conditions, malnutrition
    Malnutrition
    Malnutrition is the condition that results from taking an unbalanced diet in which certain nutrients are lacking, in excess , or in the wrong proportions....

     and inadequate, inaccessible, or non-existent health care, the poor are more likely to be exposed to infectious diseases.
  • Starvation
    Starvation
    Starvation is a severe deficiency in caloric energy, nutrient and vitamin intake. It is the most extreme form of malnutrition. In humans, prolonged starvation can cause permanent organ damage and eventually, death...

    , malnutrition
    Malnutrition
    Malnutrition is the condition that results from taking an unbalanced diet in which certain nutrients are lacking, in excess , or in the wrong proportions....

    or poor diet with ill health and diet-deficiency diseases (e.g. rickets
    Rickets
    Rickets is a softening of bones in children due to deficiency or impaired metabolism of vitamin D, magnesium , phosphorus or calcium, potentially leading to fractures and deformity. Rickets is among the most frequent childhood diseases in many developing countries...

    ). However, rich countries with high population densities do not have famine.
  • Poverty coupled with inflation in some regions and a resulting low level of capital formation. Poverty and inflation are aggravated by bad government and bad economic policies. Many countries with high population densities have eliminated absolute poverty and keep their inflation rates very low.
  • Low life expectancy
    Life expectancy
    Life expectancy is the expected number of years of life remaining at a given age. It is denoted by ex, which means the average number of subsequent years of life for someone now aged x, according to a particular mortality experience...

    in countries with fastest growing populations.
  • Unhygienic living conditions for many based upon water resource depletion, discharge of raw sewage and solid waste disposal. However, this problem can be reduced with the adoption of sewers. For example, after Karachi, Pakistan installed sewers, its infant mortality rate fell substantially.
  • Elevated crime rate due to drug cartels and increased theft by people stealing resources to survive.
  • Conflict over scarce resources and crowding, leading to increased levels of warfare.
  • Less Personal Freedom / More Restrictive Laws. Laws regulate interactions between humans. Law "serves as a primary social mediator of relations between people." The higher the population density, the more frequent such interactions become, and thus there develops a need for more laws and/or more restrictive laws to regulate these interactions. It was even speculated by Aldous Huxley
    Aldous Huxley
    Aldous Leonard Huxley was an English writer and one of the most prominent members of the famous Huxley family. Best known for his novels including Brave New World and a wide-ranging output of essays, Huxley also edited the magazine Oxford Poetry, and published short stories, poetry, travel...

     in 1958 that democracy is threatened due to overpopulation, and could give rise to totalitarian style governments.


Many of these problems are addressed in the science fiction film Soylent Green
Soylent Green
Soylent Green is a 1973 American science fiction film directed by Richard Fleischer. Starring Charlton Heston, the film overlays the police procedural and science fiction genres as it depicts the investigation into the murder of a wealthy businessman in a dystopian future suffering from pollution,...

.

Some economists, such as Thomas Sowell
Thomas Sowell
Thomas Sowell is an American economist, social theorist, political philosopher, and author. A National Humanities Medal winner, he advocates laissez-faire economics and writes from a libertarian perspective...

 and Walter E. Williams
Walter E. Williams
Walter E. Williams, is an American economist, commentator, and academic. He is the John M. Olin Distinguished Professor of Economics at George Mason University, as well as a syndicated columnist and author known for his libertarian views.- Early life and education :Williams family during childhood...

 argue that third world poverty and famine
Famine
A famine is a widespread scarcity of food, caused by several factors including crop failure, overpopulation, or government policies. This phenomenon is usually accompanied or followed by regional malnutrition, starvation, epidemic, and increased mortality. Every continent in the world has...

 are caused in part by bad government and bad economic policies. Most biologists and sociologists see overpopulation as a serious threat to the quality of human life.

Overpopulation and warfare


The hypothesis
Hypothesis
A hypothesis is a proposed explanation for a phenomenon. The term derives from the Greek, ὑποτιθέναι – hypotithenai meaning "to put under" or "to suppose". For a hypothesis to be put forward as a scientific hypothesis, the scientific method requires that one can test it...

 that population pressure causes increased warfare (youth bulge theory) has been recently criticized on the empirical grounds. Both studies focusing on specific historical societies and analyses of cross-cultural data have failed to find positive correlation between population density and incidence of warfare. Andrey Korotayev
Andrey Korotayev
Andrey Korotayev is an anthropologist, economic historian, and sociologist, with major contributions to world-systems theory, cross-cultural studies, Near Eastern history, and mathematical modeling of social and economic macrodynamics.Education and career=Born in Moscow, Andrey Korotayev attended...

, in collaboration with Peter Turchin
Peter Turchin
Peter Turchin is a Russian-American scientist, specializing in population biology and "cliodynamics" — mathematical modeling and statistical analysis of the dynamics of historical societies.- Biography :...

, has shown that such negative results do not falsify the population-warfare hypothesis. Population and warfare are dynamical variables, and if their interaction causes sustained oscillations, then we do not in general expect to find strong correlation between the two variables measured at the same time (that is, unlagged). Korotayev and Turchin have explored mathematically what the dynamical patterns of interaction between population and warfare (focusing on internal warfare) might be in both stateless and state societies. Next, they have tested the model predictions in several empirical case studies: early modern England, Han and Tang
Tang Dynasty
The Tang Dynasty was an imperial dynasty of China preceded by the Sui Dynasty and followed by the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms Period. It was founded by the Li family, who seized power during the decline and collapse of the Sui Empire...

 China, and the Roman Empire
Roman Empire
The Roman Empire was the post-Republican period of the ancient Roman civilization, characterised by an autocratic form of government and large territorial holdings in Europe and around the Mediterranean....

. Their empirical results have supported the population-warfare theory: Korotayev and Turchin have found that there is a tendency for population numbers and internal warfare intensity to oscillate with the same period but shifted in phase (with warfare peaks following population peaks). Furthermore, they have demonstrated that in the agrarian societies the rates of change of the two variables behave precisely as predicted by the theory: population rate of change is negatively affected by warfare intensity, while warfare rate of change is positively affected by population density.

Mitigation measures


While the current world trends are not indicative of any realistic solution to human overpopulation during the 21st century, there are several mitigation measures that have or can be applied to reduce the adverse impacts of overpopulation. All of these mitigations are ways to implement social norms. Overpopulation is an issue that threatens the state of the environment in the above-mentioned ways and therefore societies must make a change in order to reverse some of the environmental effects brought on by current social norms. In societies like China, the government has put policies in place that regulate the number of children allowed to a couple. Other societies have already begun to implement social marketing strategies in order to educate the public on overpopulation effects. "The intervention can be widespread and done at a low cost. A variety of print materials (flyers, brochures, fact sheets, stickers) needs to be produced and distributed throughout the communities such as at local places of worships, sporting events, local food markets, schools and at car parks (taxis / bus stands)." Such prompts work to introduce the problem so that social norms are easier to implement. Certain government policies are making it easier and more socially acceptable to use contraception and abortion methods. An example of a country whose laws and norms are hindering the global effort to slow population growth is Afghanistan. “The approval by Afghan President Hamid Karzai of the Shia Personal Status Law in March 2009 effectively destroyed Shia women’s rights and freedoms in Afghanistan. Under this law, women have no right to deny their husbands sex unless they are ill, and can be denied food if they do.” All of these examples use principles of social psychology to show how a strong correlation to the damage to the planet caused by the rapid population growth.

Birth regulations


Overpopulation is related to the issue of birth control
Birth control
Birth control is an umbrella term for several techniques and methods used to prevent fertilization or to interrupt pregnancy at various stages. Birth control techniques and methods include contraception , contragestion and abortion...

; some nations, like the People's Republic of China, use strict measures to reduce birth rates. Religious and ideological opposition to birth control has been cited as a factor contributing to overpopulation and poverty. Some leaders and environmentalists (such as Ted Turner
Ted Turner
Robert Edward "Ted" Turner III is an American media mogul and philanthropist. As a businessman, he is known as founder of the cable news network CNN, the first dedicated 24-hour cable news channel. In addition, he founded WTBS, which pioneered the superstation concept in cable television...

) have suggested that there is an urgent need to strictly implement a China-like one-child policy
One-child policy
The one-child policy refers to the one-child limitation applying to a minority of families in the population control policy of the People's Republic of China . The Chinese government refers to it under the official translation of family planning policy...

 globally by the United Nations, because this would help control and reduce population gradually.

Indira Gandhi
Indira Gandhi
Indira Priyadarshini Gandhara was an Indian politician who served as the third Prime Minister of India for three consecutive terms and a fourth term . She was assassinated by Sikh extremists...

, late Prime Minister of India, implemented a forced sterilization
Compulsory sterilization
Compulsory sterilization also known as forced sterilization programs are government policies which attempt to force people to undergo surgical sterilization...

 programme in the 1970s. Officially, men with two children or more had to submit to sterilization, but many unmarried young men, political opponents and ignorant men were also believed to have been sterilized. This program is still remembered and criticized in India, and is blamed for creating a public aversion to family planning
Family planning
Family planning is the planning of when to have children, and the use of birth control and other techniques to implement such plans. Other techniques commonly used include sexuality education, prevention and management of sexually transmitted infections, pre-conception counseling and...

, which hampered Government programmes for decades.

Urban designer Michael E. Arth
Michael E. Arth
Michael E. Arth is an American artist, home/landscape/urban designer, public policy analyst, advocate for the homeless, futurist, and author. He was a candidate for the governor of Florida in 2009 and 2010.-Art:Michael E...

 has proposed a "choice-based, marketable birth license plan" he calls "birth credits." Birth credits would allow any woman to have as many children as she wants, as long as she buys a license for any children beyond an average allotment that would result in zero population growth
Zero population growth
Zero population growth, sometimes abbreviated ZPG , is a condition of demographic balance where the number of people in a specified population neither grows nor declines, considered as a social aim....

 (ZPG). If that allotment was determined to be one child, for example, then the first child would be free, and the market would determine what the license fee for each additional child would cost. Extra credits would expire after a certain time, so these credits could not be hoarded by speculators. The actual cost of the credits would only be a fraction of the actual cost of having and raising a child
Cost of raising a child
The cost of raising a child varies from country to country.-Developing countries:According to Globalissues.org, "Almost half the world — over three billion people — live on less than $2.50 a day." This statistic includes children. On this number, it costs roughly US$900 to raise a child for a year,...

, so the credits would serve more as a wake-up call to women who might otherwise produce children without seriously considering the long term consequences to themselves or society.

Education and empowerment


One option is to focus on education about overpopulation, family planning
Family planning
Family planning is the planning of when to have children, and the use of birth control and other techniques to implement such plans. Other techniques commonly used include sexuality education, prevention and management of sexually transmitted infections, pre-conception counseling and...

, and birth control
Birth control
Birth control is an umbrella term for several techniques and methods used to prevent fertilization or to interrupt pregnancy at various stages. Birth control techniques and methods include contraception , contragestion and abortion...

 methods, and to make birth-control devices like male/female
Female condom
A female condom is a device that is used during sexual intercourse as a barrier contraceptive and to reduce the risk of sexually transmitted infections and unintended pregnancy...

 condoms, pills and intrauterine device
Intrauterine device
A copper IUD is a type of intrauterine device. Most IUDs have a plastic T- or U-shaped frame which is wrapped in copper wire, with the exception of Gynefix, which is a plastic string with several copper beads, affixed to the fundus of the uterus...

s easily available. Worldwide, nearly 40% of pregnancies are unintended
Unintended pregnancy
Unintended pregnancies are those in which conception was not intended by the female sexual partner. Worldwide, 38% of pregnancies were unintended in 1999 . Unintended pregnancies are the primary cause of induced abortion, resulting in about 42 million induced abortions per year...

 (some 80 million unintended pregnancies each year). An estimated 350 million women in the poorest countries of the world either did not want their last child, do not want another child or want to space their pregnancies, but they lack access to information, affordable means and services to determine the size and spacing of their families. In the developing world, some 514,000 women die annually of complications from pregnancy and abortion, with 86% of these deaths occurring in the sub-Saharan Africa
Sub-Saharan Africa
Sub-Saharan Africa as a geographical term refers to the area of the African continent which lies south of the Sahara. A political definition of Sub-Saharan Africa, instead, covers all African countries which are fully or partially located south of the Sahara...

 region and South Asia. Additionally, 8 million infants die, many because of malnutrition
Malnutrition
Malnutrition is the condition that results from taking an unbalanced diet in which certain nutrients are lacking, in excess , or in the wrong proportions....

 or preventable diseases, especially from lack of access to clean drinking water. In the United States, in 2001, almost half of pregnancies were unintended
Unintended pregnancy
Unintended pregnancies are those in which conception was not intended by the female sexual partner. Worldwide, 38% of pregnancies were unintended in 1999 . Unintended pregnancies are the primary cause of induced abortion, resulting in about 42 million induced abortions per year...

.

Egypt
Egypt
Egypt , officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, Arabic: , is a country mainly in North Africa, with the Sinai Peninsula forming a land bridge in Southwest Asia. Egypt is thus a transcontinental country, and a major power in Africa, the Mediterranean Basin, the Middle East and the Muslim world...

 announced a program to reduce its overpopulation by family planning education and putting women in the workforce
Women in the workforce
Until modern industrialized times, legal and cultural practices, combined with the inertia of longstanding religious and educational traditions, had restricted women's entry and participation in the workforce. Economic dependency upon men, and consequently the poor socio-economic status of women...

. It was announced in June 2008 by the Minister of Health and Population Hatem el-Gabali. The government has set aside 480 million Egyptian pounds (about 90 million U.S. dollars) for the program.

Extraterrestrial settlement


In the 1970s, Gerard O'Neill
Gerard O'Neill
Gerard Kitchen O'Neill was an American physicist and space activist. As a faculty member of Princeton University, he invented a device called the particle storage ring for high-energy physics experiments. Later, he invented a magnetic launcher called the mass driver...

 suggested building space habitats that could support 30,000 times the carrying capacity of Earth using just the asteroid belt and that the Solar System
Solar System
The Solar System consists of the Sun and the astronomical objects gravitationally bound in orbit around it, all of which formed from the collapse of a giant molecular cloud approximately 4.6 billion years ago. The vast majority of the system's mass is in the Sun...

 as a whole could sustain current population growth rates for a thousand years. Marshall Savage
Marshall Savage
Marshall Thomas Savage is an advocate of space travel who wrote The Millennial Project: Colonizing the Galaxy in Eight Easy Steps and founded the Living Universe Foundation, which was designed to make plans for stellar exploration over the next 1,000 years....

 (1992, 1994) has projected a human population of five quintillion throughout the Solar System by 3000, with the majority in the asteroid belt
Asteroid belt
The asteroid belt is the region of the Solar System located roughly between the orbits of the planets Mars and Jupiter. It is occupied by numerous irregularly shaped bodies called asteroids or minor planets...

. Freeman Dyson
Freeman Dyson
Freeman John Dyson FRS is a British-born American theoretical physicist and mathematician, famous for his work in quantum field theory, solid-state physics, astronomy and nuclear engineering. Dyson is a member of the Board of Sponsors of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists...

 (1999) favours the Kuiper belt
Kuiper belt
The Kuiper belt , sometimes called the Edgeworth–Kuiper belt, is a region of the Solar System beyond the planets extending from the orbit of Neptune to approximately 50 AU from the Sun. It is similar to the asteroid belt, although it is far larger—20 times as wide and 20 to 200 times as massive...

 as the future home of humanity, suggesting this could happen within a few centuries. In Mining the Sky
Mining the Sky: Untold Riches from the Asteroids, Comets, and Planets
Mining the Sky: Untold Riches from the Asteroids, Comets, and Planets is a book by John S. Lewis which discusses the development of interplanetary space within our solar system....

, John S. Lewis suggests that the resources of the solar system could support 10 quadrillion (1016) people.

K. Eric Drexler
K. Eric Drexler
Dr. Kim Eric Drexler is an American engineer best known for popularizing the potential of molecular nanotechnology , from the 1970s and 1980s.His 1991 doctoral thesis at MIT was revised and published as...

, famous inventor of the futuristic concept of molecular nanotechnology
Molecular nanotechnology
Molecular nanotechnology is a technology based on the ability to build structures to complex, atomic specifications by means of mechanosynthesis. This is distinct from nanoscale materials...

, has suggested in Engines of Creation
Engines of Creation
Engines of Creation: The Coming Era of Nanotechnology is a 1986 molecular nanotechnology book written by K. Eric Drexler with a foreword by Marvin Minsky. An updated version was released in 2007...

 that colonizing space will mean breaking the Malthusian limits
Malthusian catastrophe
A Malthusian catastrophe was originally foreseen to be a forced return to subsistence-level conditions once population growth had outpaced agricultural production...

 to growth for the human species.

It may be possible for other parts of the Solar System to be inhabited by humanity at some point in the future. Geoffrey Landis
Geoffrey A. Landis
Geoffrey A. Landis is an American scientist, working for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration on planetary exploration, interstellar propulsion, solar power and photovoltaics...

 of NASA's Glenn Research Center
Glenn Research Center
NASA John H. Glenn Research Center at Lewis Field is a NASA center, located within the cities of Brook Park, Cleveland and Fairview Park, Ohio between Cleveland Hopkins International Airport and the Cleveland Metroparks's Rocky River Reservation, and has other subsidiary facilities in Ohio...

 in particular has pointed out that "[at] cloud-top level, Venus is the paradise planet", as one could construct aerostat
Aerostat
An aerostat is a craft that remains aloft primarily through the use of buoyant lighter than air gases, which impart lift to a vehicle with nearly the same overall density as air. Aerostats include free balloons, airships, and moored balloons...

 habitats and floating cities
Floating city (science fiction)
In science fiction, floating cities are settlements that strictly use buoyancy to remain in the atmosphere of a planet. However the term generally refers to any city that is flying, hovering, or otherwise suspended in the air via any means technological or even magical.-Earth:In Jonathan Swift's...

 there easily, based on the concept that breathable air is a lifting gas in the dense Venusian atmosphere
Atmosphere of Venus
The atmosphere of Venus is much denser and hotter than that of Earth. The temperature at the surface is 740 K , while the pressure is 93 bar. The Venusian atmosphere supports opaque clouds made of sulfuric acid, making optical Earth-based and orbital observation of the surface impossible...

. Venus
Venus
Venus is the second planet from the Sun, orbiting it every 224.7 Earth days. The planet is named after Venus, the Roman goddess of love and beauty. After the Moon, it is the brightest natural object in the night sky, reaching an apparent magnitude of −4.6, bright enough to cast shadows...

 would, like also Saturn
Saturn
Saturn is the sixth planet from the Sun and the second largest planet in the Solar System, after Jupiter. Saturn is named after the Roman god Saturn, equated to the Greek Cronus , the Babylonian Ninurta and the Hindu Shani. Saturn's astronomical symbol represents the Roman god's sickle.Saturn,...

, Uranus
Uranus
Uranus is the seventh planet from the Sun. It has the third-largest planetary radius and fourth-largest planetary mass in the Solar System. It is named after the ancient Greek deity of the sky Uranus , the father of Cronus and grandfather of Zeus...

, and Neptune
Neptune
Neptune is the eighth and farthest planet from the Sun in the Solar System. Named for the Roman god of the sea, it is the fourth-largest planet by diameter and the third largest by mass. Neptune is 17 times the mass of Earth and is slightly more massive than its near-twin Uranus, which is 15 times...

, in the upper layers of their atmospheres, even afford a gravitation
Gravitation
Gravitation, or gravity, is a natural phenomenon by which physical bodies attract with a force proportional to their mass. Gravitation is most familiar as the agent that gives weight to objects with mass and causes them to fall to the ground when dropped...

 almost exactly as strong as that on Earth
G-force
The g-force associated with an object is its acceleration relative to free-fall. This acceleration experienced by an object is due to the vector sum of non-gravitational forces acting on an object free to move. The accelerations that are not produced by gravity are termed proper accelerations, and...

 (see colonization of Venus
Colonization of Venus
The colonization of Venus has been a subject of much speculation and many works of science fiction since before the dawn of spaceflight, and is still much discussed...

). Many authors, including Carl Sagan
Carl Sagan
Carl Edward Sagan was an American astronomer, astrophysicist, cosmologist, author, science popularizer and science communicator in astronomy and natural sciences. He published more than 600 scientific papers and articles and was author, co-author or editor of more than 20 books...

, Arthur C. Clarke, and Isaac Asimov
Isaac Asimov
Isaac Asimov was an American author and professor of biochemistry at Boston University, best known for his works of science fiction and for his popular science books. Asimov was one of the most prolific writers of all time, having written or edited more than 500 books and an estimated 90,000...

, have argued that shipping the excess population into space is not a viable solution to human overpopulation. According to Clarke, "the population battle must be fought or won here on Earth". The problem for these authors is not the lack of resources in space (as shown in books such as Mining the Sky), but the physical impracticality of shipping vast numbers of people into space to "solve" overpopulation on Earth. However, Gerard O'Neill
Gerard O'Neill
Gerard Kitchen O'Neill was an American physicist and space activist. As a faculty member of Princeton University, he invented a device called the particle storage ring for high-energy physics experiments. Later, he invented a magnetic launcher called the mass driver...

's calculations show that Earth could offload all new population growth with a launch services industry about the same size as the current airline industry. A hypothetical extraterrestrial colony could potentially grow organically, with most of the inhabitants being the direct descendants of the original colonists.

See also

  • Birth Credits
  • Eugenics
    Eugenics
    Eugenics is the "applied science or the bio-social movement which advocates the use of practices aimed at improving the genetic composition of a population", usually referring to human populations. The origins of the concept of eugenics began with certain interpretations of Mendelian inheritance,...

  • Georgia Guidestones
    Georgia Guidestones
    The Georgia Guidestones is a large granite monument in Elbert County, Georgia, USA. A message comprising ten guides is inscribed on the structure in eight modern languages, and a shorter message is inscribed at the top of the structure in four ancient languages' scripts: Babylonian, Classical...

  • One-child policy
    One-child policy
    The one-child policy refers to the one-child limitation applying to a minority of families in the population control policy of the People's Republic of China . The Chinese government refers to it under the official translation of family planning policy...

  • Human migration
    Human migration
    Human migration is physical movement by humans from one area to another, sometimes over long distances or in large groups. Historically this movement was nomadic, often causing significant conflict with the indigenous population and their displacement or cultural assimilation. Only a few nomadic...

  • Human population control
  • Fertility and intelligence
    Fertility and intelligence
    Fertility and intelligence research investigates the relationship between fertility and intelligence. Demographic studies have indicated that in humans, fertility and intelligence tend to be inversely correlated, that is to say, the more intelligent, as measured by IQ tests, exhibit a lower total...

  • List of most highly populated countries
  • Medieval demography
    Medieval demography
    This article discusses human demography in Europe during the Middle Ages, including population trends and movements. Demographic changes helped to shape and define the Middle Ages...

  • Over-consumption
    Over-consumption
    Over-consumption is a situation where resource-use has outpaced the sustainable capacity of the ecosystem. A prolonged pattern of overconsumption leads to inevitable environmental degradation and the eventual loss of resource bases...

  • Overexploitation
    Overexploitation
    Overexploitation, also called overharvesting, refers to harvesting a renewable resource to the point of diminishing returns. Sustained overexploitation can lead to the destruction of the resource...

  • Projections of population growth
    Projections of population growth
    According to current projections of population growth, the world population of humans will continue to grow until at least 2050, with the estimated population, based on current growth trends, to reach 9 billion in 2040, and some predictions putting the population in 2050 as high as 11 billion.World...

  • Overpopulation in companion animals
  • Agriculture and population limits
  • Population ageing
    Population ageing
    Population ageing or population aging occurs when the median age of a country or region rises. This happens because of rising life expectancy or declining birth rates. Excepting 18 countries termed 'demographic outliers' by the UN) this process is taking place in every country and region across...

  • Rientrodolce
    Rientrodolce
    Rientrodolce is an Italian association linked to Radicali Italiani, which concerns itself with overpopulation, natural environment and energy....

    , an Italian interest group which lobbies against overpopulation
  • Risks to civilization, humans and planet Earth
    Risks to civilization, humans and planet Earth
    Various existential risks could threaten humankind as a whole, have adverse consequences for the course of human civilization, or even cause the end of planet Earth.-Types of risks:...

  • Sustainability
    Sustainability
    Sustainability is the capacity to endure. For humans, sustainability is the long-term maintenance of well being, which has environmental, economic, and social dimensions, and encompasses the concept of union, an interdependent relationship and mutual responsible position with all living and non...

  • Tragedy of the commons
    Tragedy of the commons
    The tragedy of the commons is a dilemma arising from the situation in which multiple individuals, acting independently and rationally consulting their own self-interest, will ultimately deplete a shared limited resource, even when it is clear that it is not in anyone's long-term interest for this...

  • Sustainable fertility rate
  • Population pyramid
    Population pyramid
    A population pyramid, also called an age structure diagram, is a graphical illustration that shows the distribution of various age groups in a population , which forms the shape of a pyramid when the population is growing...

  • Demographic trap
    Demographic trap
    According to the Encyclopedia of International Development, the term demographic trap is used by demographers "to describe the combination of high fertility and declining mortality in developing countries, resulting in a period of high population growth rate ." High fertility combined with...


Further reading

  • Virginia Abernethy
    Virginia Abernethy
    Virginia Deane Abernethy is an American professor of psychiatry and anthropology at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine. She received a B.A. from Wellesley College, an M.B.A. from Vanderbilt University, and Ph.D. from Harvard University...

    , professor (emerita) of psychiatry and anthropology, Population Politics, (1993)
  • Albert Bartlett
    Albert Bartlett
    Albert Allen Bartlett is an emeritus Professor of Physics at the University of Colorado at Boulder, USA. Professor Bartlett has lectured over 1,600 times since September, 1969 on Arithmetic, Population, and Energy...

    , emeritus professor of physics, Arithmetic, Population, and Energy: The Forgotten Fundamentals of the Energy Crisis, (1978)
  • Joel E. Cohen
    Joel E. Cohen
    Joel E. Cohen is a mathematical biologist. He is currently Abby Rockefeller Mauzé Professor of Populations at the Rockefeller University in New York City and at the Earth Institute of Columbia University, where he holds a joint appointment in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, the...

    , Chair, Laboratory of Populations at the Rockefeller University, How Many People Can the Earth Support? (1996)
  • Barry Commoner
    Barry Commoner
    Barry Commoner is an American biologist, college professor, and eco-socialist. He ran for president of the United States in the 1980 US presidential election on the Citizens Party ticket. He was also editor of Science Illustrated magazine.-Biography:Commoner was born in Brooklyn...

    , American biologist and college professor Making Peace with the Planet (1990)
  • Herman Daly
    Herman Daly
    Herman Daly is an American ecological economist and professor at the School of Public Policy of University of Maryland, College Park in the United States....

    , professor at the School of Public Policy at the University of Maryland, College Park Ecological Economics and the Ecology of Economics (1999)
  • Paul R. Ehrlich
    Paul R. Ehrlich
    Paul Ralph Ehrlich is an American biologist and educator who is the Bing Professor of Population Studies in the department of Biological Sciences at Stanford University and president of Stanford's Center for Conservation Biology. By training he is an entomologist specializing in Lepidoptera , but...

    , Bing Professor of Population Studies, The Population Bomb
    The Population Bomb
    The Population Bomb was a best-selling book written by Paul R. Ehrlich and his wife, Anne Ehrlich , in 1968. It warned of the mass starvation of humans in the 1970s and 1980s due to overpopulation, as well as other major societal upheavals, and advocated immediate action to limit population growth...

    , (1968) The Population Explosion, (1990) The Population Bomb, (1995) reprint
  • Garrett Hardin
    Garrett Hardin
    Garrett James Hardin was an American ecologist who warned of the dangers of overpopulation and whose concept of the tragedy of the commons brought attention to "the damage that innocent actions by individuals can inflict on the environment"...

    , 1941 Stanford University – PhD Microbiology, Living Within Limits, (1995) reprint
  • Steven LeBlanc, Constant battles: the myth of the peaceful, noble savage, (2003) ISBN 0312310897 argues that local overpopulation has been the major cause of warfare since paleolithic
    Paleolithic
    The Paleolithic Age, Era or Period, is a prehistoric period of human history distinguished by the development of the most primitive stone tools discovered , and covers roughly 99% of human technological prehistory...

     times.
  • F. L. Lucas
    F. L. Lucas
    Frank Laurence Lucas was an English classical scholar, literary critic, poet, novelist, playwright, political polemicist, and Fellow of King's College, Cambridge....

    , The Greatest Problem (1960); an early wake-up call on over-population, by a distinguished Cambridge academic
  • Andrew Mason
    Andrew Mason
    Andrew Mason was an English cricketer. He was a right-handed batsman and a right-arm off-break bowler who played for Herefordshire. He was born in Worcester....

    , Professor, head of the University of Hawaii's population studies program, Population change and economic development in East Asia: Challenges met, opportunities seized (2001)
  • Donella Meadows
    Donella Meadows
    Donella H. "Dana" Meadows was a pioneering American environmental scientist, teacher and writer. She is best known as lead author of the influential book The Limits to Growth, which made headlines around the world.- Life :Born in Elgin, Illinois, Meadows was educated in science, receiving a B.A...

    , lead author PhD in biophysics from Harvard, Jorgen Randers, professor of policy analysis at the Norwegian School of Management, Dennis Meadows
    Dennis Meadows
    Dennis L. Meadows is an American scientist and Emeritus Professor of Systems Management, and former director of the Institute for Policy and Social Science Research at the University of New Hampshire...

    , director of the Institute for Policy and Social Science Research Limits to Growth
    Limits to Growth
    The Limits to Growth is a 1972 book modeling the consequences of a rapidly growing world population and finite resource supplies, commissioned by the Club of Rome. Its authors were Donella H. Meadows, Dennis L. Meadows, Jørgen Randers, and William W. Behrens III. The book used the World3 model to...

    : The 30-Year Update (Paperback) (2004)
  • Thomas Malthus
    Thomas Malthus
    The Reverend Thomas Robert Malthus FRS was an English scholar, influential in political economy and demography. Malthus popularized the economic theory of rent....

    , English demographer and political economist, An Essay on the Principle of Population, (1798)
  • Julian Lincoln Simon
    Julian Lincoln Simon
    Julian Lincoln Simon was a professor of business administration at the University of Maryland and a Senior Fellow at the Cato Institute at the time of his death, after previously serving as a longtime business professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.Simon wrote many books and...

    , professor of Business Administration The Ultimate Resource 2, (1998)"
  • Ben J. Wattenberg
    Ben J. Wattenberg
    Benjamin J. Wattenberg is an American conservative commentator and writer.-Early years:Wattenberg was born in The Bronx, New York, to Jewish parents, and went on to graduate from Hobart College in 1955, majoring in English. From 1955 to 1957 he was in the U.S. Air Force, based in San Antonio. He...

    , senior fellow at the neoconservative American Enterprise Institute, The Birth Dearth (1989) ??? Fewer: How the New Demography of Depopulation Will Shape Our Future, (2005)
  • Daniel Quinn
    Daniel Quinn
    Daniel Quinn is an American writer described as an environmentalist. He is best known for his book Ishmael , which won the Turner Tomorrow Fellowship Award in 1991....

    , author The Story of B
    The Story of B
    The Story of B is a 1996 novel written by Daniel Quinn and published by Bantam Publishing. It chronicles a young priest's movement away from his religion and toward the teachings of a mysterious preacher named B, expanding upon many of the philosophical ideas introduced in Quinn's 1992 novel Ishmael...

    , pp 304–305 (1996)
  • Moseley, W.G. 2007. "A population remedy is right here at home: U.S. overconsumption is a bigger issue than fertility." The Philadelphia Inquirer. 11 July. http://articles.philly.com/2007-07-11/news/25240357_1_population-growth-world-population-day-global-population
  • The Environmental Politics of Population and Overpopulation A University of California, Berkeley summary of historical, contemporary and environmental concerns involving overpopulation