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.

100 thoughts on “Overpopulation – The Human Explosion Explained”

  1. Daniel Quinn's masterful 1992 book Ishmael brilliantly speaks upon this topic. He revisits the looming topic again in the 1996 stunner The Story of B.
    Absolute required reading for any one remotely interested in one of the most pressing subjects of out existence.


  2. I was born with big family with so many siblings. Because i am woman, i am controlled and rarely go outside of house to protect myself from perverts. In home or outside are always the same, crowd people like sardines. That's the reason i love living in japan, or any place that is rarely people around. I even wished to live alone and not allowing others to enter, at all. So even in my 30s, i still dont have boyfriend and i dont have intention to married. I love living alone, it's better for me

  3. Se olvidan de los problemas psiquiatricos de personas que no siguen las reglas, creando sistemas economicos destructivos y eso se hereda.

  4. Funny how they dont talk about China, India and the most of Africa that is exploding with humans. Africa will be 2 billion in 2050 just as India.

  5. Im guessing the "12 billionth human will never be born" part only covers the foreseeable future. We'd probably go higher than that if we started colonizing other planets.

  6. Bangladesh became one of few poor countries to achieve major fertility declines without draconian measures, such as China’s one-child policy. Much needed change!

  7. we are overpopulated, when you have to lock animals in cramped cages, in horrible conditions, when you have to go to the extreme lengths just to be able to feed people then you are overpopulated

  8. Don't be fooled space has been taken out the equation. Overpopulation is a very big problem but you can be free. our development to space will only save humanity.

  9. Thanos will snap, problem solved. No seriously, war, disease and lower birth rates will actuall stabilize the population or collapse it.

  10. 1:38 < 0% ? So the country is losing people every year. Didn't know that about Russia and Spain but Japan loses around 1200 people a day, which is hard not to notice.

  11. Stupidity is on the rise, what are you talking about.
    I see more idiots on the street now than when I was a child, humanity is getting stupid by the minute.

  12. This is highly optimistic and does not take into account the exploitation of basic resources (such as water)well beyond the point of natural sustainability

  13. You clearly didn't research Israel where the average birth now is 3.2 children actually rising for already decades now,Birth rates is most defiantly connected to culture and human decisions.

  14. Malaysia shouldn’t have dropped its population because it is having its toll on modern day malaysia as our workforce is now reliant on foreigners.

  15. That must have been a pretty soul bending movie if it made the Black Duck cry… Dude has watched his colleagues be blown up, disintegrated, sliced into pieces, scorched to charred lumps, and crushed to paste ALL while simply reacting with a °^° or a ^w^

    Yet a movie bout filthy humans made him cry? The contents of that movie must be more disturbing than waking up and noticing your pee is white and clumpy rather than red 😧

  16. If bleeding heart Bible thumpers would shut up and allow government assisted suicide, forced sterilization and euthanasia we can save the planet! Im a useless nobody, life would go on without me, I'd gladly volunteer for assisted suicide if it would make a difference!

  17. Hey world, I never had kids. Your welcome! Give me money so I can take care of myself when I'm older. Becuase my sacrifice means No one will be around to support me when I inevitably reach the ripe old age of 130!

  18. 12 billionth human will never be born? Urmm could've worded that better. World population will never hit the peak of 12 billion they said

  19. The Bill and Melinda Gates foundation were happy to write the dialogue for this video, they're doing some excellent work in social engineering at the moment 😛

  20. The UN just published the new population projected. By 2100 world population will be 10.8 billion compared to 11.2 billion. This mainly because most African countries having far faster declining fertility rate then originally thought. Hopefully it get even lower at a faster time.

  21. Nice try. But what about the fifth stage – we're coming to overcome current most common death causes – cancer and cardiac diseases, plus there are very reassuring results on life span increase, slowing of aging and eldery care. So, we are standing before a new problem – very long eldery, or 3rd age, as they call it today. People are stop dying not just at childhood, but also at age. Life expectancy increases and might increase twice or even more. Plus, age of fertility rises. Plus, there is an Africa online – with population growth potential same as in Europe in 19th – 20th century… All in all, it is quite possible population will grow twice before it will start slowing down and we do standing before doomsday.

  22. Let's say we transform Mars… What will happen to population growth there? Do we need to send so many people from earth to get people to Mars, or will marsian people have more kids…

  23. Yeah, this is why Toronto is a deeper, hotter, hell hole, now.
    The rest of the world cannot stand the fact that Europe and the West pulled their own civilization up by their own bootstraps.

  24. When we faced extinction I offered a solution


    But random, dispassionate, Fair, rich and poor alike. They called me a madman. And when what I predicted came to pass…

  25. dont worry nothing lasts forever. certainly not the human race. Earth will still be here and she gon shake us off like a bad cold.

  26. the videos that dismiss population concerns with "evidence" that accentuates certain data and omits other data sound very much like climate denial videos. It's interesting.

  27. Not sure if I should rejoice since we can stick it to "Captain Planet" and not have to worry about all over-population or if I should still be concerned because of underpopulation…

  28. This is why I’m dubious about the assumption (discussed in “The Fermi Paradox”) that intelligent life will necessarily expand throughout its galaxy. I can see us spreading out across the solar system for resources, but if we get better about renewables and recycling, those resources could last us a really long time. What would our motivation be for colonizing, say, Barnard’s Star?

  29. please I beg you revive ruskii channel I write in English because to coincide with the comments beg the vet when was ruskii channel you byllo more subscribed to your channel I'm talking about the last channel I will not speak to do a new channel I say that you inogda did Rusko video I speak for all Russian people who watched the last channel (Russian)

  30. But does it necessarily mean that we have to go up to a population of 12 billion for the 12 billionth person to never be born? Can we not slow down, if not stop, this never ending cycle of giving birth to children? Will it not be good for more people if there were less people? Even if population explosion is just a myth, the current population situation is extremely alarming as people bear so many children without thinking twice whether or not will they be able to raise them or not. This applies especially to rural areas.

  31. Think about it like this: The music videos for Meghan Trainors song “All about that bass” and PSY’s song “Gangnam style” in 2014 and 2012 have both been viewed more times than there were people on earth in the 1940’s. Brainfuck!

  32. A lot of women aren't planning on having children these days and its not like men can give birth soooo. Also, China's population is expected to drop as most people either only want 1 kid or none at all.

  33. In my experience in the U.S. I am surrounded by stupid people, and the movie Idiocracy is quickly becoming a documentary. I would love to see a video done on this to ease my mind.

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