Overpopulation – The Human Explosion Explained


Never before in history, have there been so many people on Earth as right now. Our numbers have skyrocketed, from 1 billion in 1800, to 2.3 billion in 1940, 3.7 billion in 1970, and 7.4 billion in 2016. The world population increased fourfold in the last century, so what can we expect for the next century? And what does population growth mean for our future? Will there be mass-migration? Overcrowded slums and megacities covering continents? Diseases and pollution? Chaos and violence over energy, water, and food? And a human species focused only on sustaining itself? Will population growth destroy our way of life? Or is this prophecy just ungrounded panic? In the 1960s population growth reached an unprecedented rate. Which lead to apocalyptic prophecies. The poor would pro-create endlessly and overrun the developed world. The legend of overpopulation was born. But it turns out high birth rates and the population explosion are not permanent features of some cultures or countries, But rather a part of a four step process the whole world is going through, The demographic transition. Most developed countries have already made the transition, while other countries are doing it right now. Let’s go back to the 18th century, when the entire world, including Europe, was in the first stage of the demographic transition. By today’s standards, Europe was worse off, than a developing region, suffering from poor sanitation, poor diets, and poor medicine. A lot of people were born, but lots of them died just as fast, so the population hardly grew. Women had between 4 and 6 children, but only 2 of them would reach adulthood. Then the industrial revolution happened in the UK and bought the greatest change in human living conditions since the agricultural revolution. People went from being peasants to workers. Manufactured goods were mass produced and became widely available. The sciences flourished and advanced transportation, communication, and medicine. The role of women in society shifted and created the conditions for their emancipation. Slowly this economic progress not only formed a middle class, but also raised standards of living and health care for the poor working population. The second transition stage started. Better food supplies, hygiene and medicine, meant people stopped dying all the time, especially so, at a very young age. The result was a population explosion. Doubling the UK’s population between 1750 and 1850. The main reasons families used to have lots of children was that only a few of them were likely to survive. Now that had changed, so the third stage of transition was set in motion. Fewer babies were conceived, and population growth slowed down. Eventually a balance emerged, fewer people were dying and fewer children were born, so the death rate and birth rate became stable. Britain had reached the fourth stage of the demographic transition. This didn’t only happen in the UK, more and more countries went through the four stages. First, many births and many deaths due to bad living conditions. Second, better living conditions leading to fewer deaths and a population explosion. Third, fewer deaths resulting in fewer births, and population growth came to an end. But if birth rates have dropped so much, why is the population still growing so fast? Well, the children born in the population explosion of the 70s and 80s are having kids themselves now. Leading to a noticeable spike in overall population. But they are having far fewer children on average than their parents. The average today is 2.5, it was 5, 40 years ago. So as this generation gets older, and fertility declines further, the rate of population growth will keep on slowing. This is true for every country. In the west, we tend to overlook progress in other regions of the world. But actually most of the world’s countries have made it to the fourth stage. Just look at Bangladesh. In 1971, the average woman had 7 kids, but 25% of them would die before the age of 5. In 2015, the mortality rate was down to 3.8% and women had only 2.2 kids on average. This is the rule, not an exception, we’re not special, we just had a head start. It took developed countries about 80 years to reduce fertility from more than 6 children, to less than 3. Others are catching up fast. Malaysia and South Africa did it in only 34 years; Bangladesh took just 20. Iran managed it in 10 years. All these countries that are catching up didn’t have to start from scratch and the more support they get, the faster they catch up. This is why programs that help lower child mortality or help poor nations develop, are so important, No matter what your motivation is, whether you dream of a world where all people live in freedom and wealth, or you just want fewer refugees coming into your country, The simple truth is, that it’s beneficial to you personally if people on the other side of the globe can live a good life. And we are getting there, the percentage of people living in extreme poverty has never been as low as today. So the future of global population growth is not an apocalyptic prophecy, it’s a promise! Population growth will come to an end. The UN forecasts that the 12th billionth human will never be born at all. And as the development level of the world rises, the number of people a higher education will increase tenfold. Countries who used to be a need, will help advance development instead. More people is going to mean more people able to advance our species. This video was a collaboration with Max Roser and ourworldindata, where he explores the progress of humanity through research and data visualisation. Make sure to check it out! In 2016 we were able to make more and better content than ever before, because of your support on Patreon.com. Thank you so much and we will be back in the year 12,017.

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100 thoughts on “Overpopulation – The Human Explosion Explained

  1. Well now here in America we have women having 5 kids all different dads the woman having another in her womb smoking a cigarette. This my mother's story. So yeah it's kinda funny.

  2. Is the increase in Homosexuality and People having more a desire to have dogs rather than babies not a factor to the population balancing out? Im curious about this, if anyone knows or can point me to a source that would be helpful

  3. No human is carbon-negative though. The more we develop, the more space we take up and the less space other animals & plants have to live.

  4. Or the people who know they can’t afford more children don’t have any ..while paying for those people who don’t care and keep popping them out (no matter the economic stability)

  5. Gelişmiş kapital şehirlerde yaşayan zengin aileler tek cocuk veya hiç cocuk yapmadan hayatlarını sürdüyor sürdürücek ve fakir eğitimsiz aileler afrika ve benzeri fakir aileler ile dolucak ve bi süre sonra cocuksuz kalan avrupa amerika zenginşeri evlatlık alıcaklar böyle böyle 10 milyarda kalacağını düşünüyorum nüfusun insan bi yolunu bulucak doğa bir yolunu bulucak

  6. Oh, as soon as I read Bill Gates there I got the shivers. They got one thing right tho, we won't be able to succeed the 12 billion, but thats due to our life span, and we got Bill and Melinda partly to thank for it.

  7. 2:00. I think you mean in the USA, the UK adopted American ideas and followed our lead from the industrial revolution in America. Which gave women endless jobs in the country. We created the assembly line….the USA. Oh and the UK also create the nuclear bomb too. So the UK dropped them over Japan? Ok sure. I’ll sit watch this video. But, give credit where credit is due.

    Yes @ 2:30, women got the right to vote…in America! Someone here please edit out the UK from this conversation?

  8. The US is 5% of the populous yet uses 25% of world resources.

    Africa, 15% of the populous yet uses 3% of the worlds resources.

    The US uses as much resources as 8 Africas. We could sort out the worlds problems easily but that means getting rid of America.

    Aaah! We can only dream!

  9. The developed world did it themselves gradually over hundreds of years. They learned to slow down
    The developing world has had most of it done for them in decades. They maintain the attitudes of their parents who were stuck in the 'as many as you can mindset.' This mindset needs to be fixed before any kind of stabilization occurs or they will simply breed beyond their means

  10. What is not reported is that the development necessary for the "phase of decline" is slower than the population growth that is occuring right now, and that this "development" depends mainly on fossil fuels. Besides ignoring that population growth is often taking as necessary element to maintain the welfare state by the current economics of westernized nations…"In a soy bean".

  11. We need a new plague!!!. I know that most smart and decent people are not having kids, while the fucking low life welfare trash are in the millions.

  12. Only thing that annoys me is when people who have never done a days work or intend to have lots of kids and the taxpayers have to pay for their upbringing with no fault of the kids

  13. You know that if you dont have kids, Your whole family tree ends. Hundreds of years, Ended. So kids arent that bad.

  14. More people educated also means lots of people unemployed so in the future also many people would be struggling. Like some countries in Asia like Japan and korea are already struggling with unemployment as they have better educational system than other countries. So, we should be aware of increase population

  15. We live on earth, there is absolutely no reason we should have a problem with food and space, this planet was designed to fertilize and there’s a lot of space, maybe if they stopped using it for polluted factories and unnecessary amounts of restaurants we’d be good, seeds (for farming) should be free that might affect modern restaurants slightly but these guys make millions every second they’ll be fine but seriously, just one packet of watermelon seeds can keep you feed for years idk why there’s any food problem, not denying overpopulations existence but there are plenty of ways to avoid it and we need to be even, even amounts a food, being even living, like there shouldn’t be 30 million people in America and 2 million in Asia it should be half and half make it equal, an equal amount of food is being consumed and there’s no problem, and hopefully it’ll be easier to farm

  16. There is subtle but important detail that this report misses: even if globally it isn't that dramatic, in some regions or/and countries it is actually a big deal because they are already not able to provide population with any life conditions – food, medicine, utilities, education, jobs, moreover pension and accommodation.

  17. I like the idea of megacities covering continents. In my stories, Australia becomes one, with the Uluru area being a park. Due to being a city, Australia annexes new zealand All of new guinea along with Fiji, becoming either fijistralia or Polynestralia

  18. we have to many fucking people on earth now. if you educate a stupid person you have a educated stupid person. so what.

  19. Tell that to Hispanic Americans, I saw a family the other day enter what seemed to be a 2 bedroom home with like 6 kids and a newborn. Like holy crap.

  20. The population of people living in extreme poverty has never been as low as today? You know why cause the Bank of America lowered the line which constitutes extreme poverty

  21. This form of useless education teaches people to expect that there is going to be reduced level of reproduction in the future? What a Joke. You are allowed to have as much children as you want no matter where you live. So get busy and start fucking. You are not suppose feel depressed being informed that your life is going no where.

  22. I recommend that you replant your opinion since the poor are the ones with more children and more than half of the countries are poorand I also remind you that the poorest countries have the most children per family, so everything could get worse the infant mortality rate is very low and the poor still have too many children

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