Is the world over populated?

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by the8thark, May 17, 2013.

  1. the8thark, May 17, 2013
    Last edited: May 17, 2013

    the8thark macrumors 68040


    Apr 18, 2011
    I am Australian as you know. And we have currently roughly 23 million people. And I have noticed my main city slowly become more crowded in the peak times and I wished there was less people there. But I never really thought hard about it. Only thought hey maybe there are too many people here.

    But one day in 2010 an Australian called Dick Smith released a documentary called "Dick Smith's population puzzle".


    I bought it for $10 and watched it. And the TLDR of the documentary is "Australia is over populated and the government here is doing nothing about it". And after watching this documentary the only thing I could so is say wow. That man Dick Smith, he gets it in a way no one else in this country has before.

    To Dick Smith, an area or country being over populated is not simply having more people then a set number. Like over X people is over populated. He says this:

    1. If the country does not have enough infrastructure like houses, roads, hospitals, schools, police, etc etc so all the people have access to these or
    2. If the country does not have enough food to feed everyone or
    3. If the country does not have enough water for the population or
    4. The country does not have enough employment for the population etc etc

    Then the country is over populated. And by these standards Australia with it's small population is over populated, as we don't have enough water, food prices are ever increasing, the employment rates are falling, the hospital wait lists are ever increasing, you have to book your child in at birth to get a place at a good high school etc etc etc.

    And the government here does nothing about it. They only care about growth. More growth, more growth. And to sustain this growth in part they have huge amounts of immigration and natural births without increasing all the 4 points mentioned above ti cater for all these new people.

    If you liken it tot he stock market. Super high growth numbers can last forever. Eventually the market has to settle out or crash just like in 1929. And the total population of the world (and Australia to a point) in a graph is looking like the stock market just before 1929. Super high growth with to call for restraint.

    How does this matter to the rest of the world?

    This is relatively easy to see. I'll put a number of points I see as issues the world has.

    1. Food. There are famines in the world, and in other places the food price is skyrocketing out of control. Africa is one easy to see example of this. But take a look in your local super market. Unless your super rich you'll notice it's harder each year to get a good shop for the same amount of money. Too many people and not enough food to go around so the price goes up.

    2. Hospital waiting lists. Too many people and hot enough hospitals so the wait lists just get longer and longer. And not everyone can afford private health insurance because . . . .

    3. of unemployment. Too many people and not enough jobs to go around. In an ideal word we would be training up people from our own countries and employing them. Not bringing in foreign workers who bring their families, and that's 2-3 at least more mouths to feed and have infrastructure for.

    4. Water. Not just for drinking, for agriculture and business too. Clean water is a valuable scarce resource. Something many people of the world just do not have.

    5. The economy. Most countries are obsessed with growth. And getting more and more people. But all these people need services. And it costs more money to provide the services to all these extra people. Money the governments simply do not have, so they have to do it on foreign debt. And too much debt and to get situations like Spain or Greece or the USA or Japan. Not good at all.

    Conclusion or TLDR

    My definition of over populated is not a set figure for a country or the world.
    My definition of over populated is when bringing more people in lowers the living standards drastically for everyone in the country/world then that country/world is over populated.

    And by this metric I believe many countries and the world as a whole is over populated. By a large margin.

    But what do you think? Is your country over populated in your eyes? Is the world over populated in your eyes? Do you have an opinion on this very important issue.
  2. rovex macrumors 65816

    Feb 22, 2011
    Distillation plants would eradicate water shortages, It's just a matter of costs.
  3. VulchR macrumors 68020


    Jun 8, 2009
    My earliest memory of world population being quoted to me was that it was 4 billion. Now it is approaching 7 billion, and probably by the time I die it will be 8 billion. If so, that would be a doubling in one lifetime. So yes, we need to start addressing the fact that we are mismanaging our numbers. It make me frustrated that so many are against teaching about contraception.
  4. Mac'nCheese macrumors 68040


    Feb 9, 2010
  5. Andeavor macrumors 6502

    Aug 19, 2010
    At the beginning of he 20th century, there were approximately 1 billion people in the world - and that even before WWII - about a century later, the number grew seven-fold.

    Do your own math.
  6. stylinexpat macrumors 65816


    Mar 6, 2009
    Come to Guangzhou or Shanghai in China and you will know what over populated means:p
  7. P-Worm macrumors 68020


    Jul 16, 2002
    Salt Lake City, UT
    In the movie Collapse dealing with peak oil, it is mentioned that the world population remained relatively steady at 1 billion people for thousands of years. After the discovery of how to harness Oil, population started to boom to the near 7 billion we have today. When the oil runs out, unless we can manage to greatly reduce our energy consumption, then yes, I would say our planet is over populated.

    Unfortunately, I can't verify a source to the "steady population before oil" tidbit that doesn't come from a Peak Oil site.

  8. skunk macrumors G4


    Jun 29, 2002
    Republic of Ukistan
    It's nothing to do with oil, it all began with the invention of mood lighting.
  9. miloblithe macrumors 68020


    Nov 14, 2003
    Washington, DC
    It appears that no other source seems to think that world population was steady at about 1 billion for thousands of years:

    It looks like it's more or less been increasing for thousands of years. Even catastrophic events like the plague were just setbacks in terms of the ever increasing human population.
  10. Shrink macrumors G3


    Feb 26, 2011
    New England, USA
    ...and Barry White.
  11. citizenzen macrumors 65816

    Mar 22, 2010
    I would add to that list: if a country (or the world) does not have enough energy to meet the needs of the people.

    If predictions of peak oil are on the mark, that measure of overpopulation should make itself more evident in the coming years.

    And yes. I do believe the world is overpopulated.
  12. Scepticalscribe Contributor


    Jul 29, 2008
    The Far Horizon
    The key to population control is the education and empowerment (economic, social, cultural and political) of women. In countries where women have control over their own fertility (in other words, where they have access to affordable and reliable contraception) populations decrease.

    But, this is a major issue with most of the world's religions, for whom the control of women, and female reproductive rights (and often, concomitant with that, the denial of education and economic independence to women) remain a matter of huge importance.

    Very well put. ;)
  13. the8thark thread starter macrumors 68040


    Apr 18, 2011
    I missed that one. Nice find. And I agree. People need electricity as well.
  14. Smileyboy macrumors 65816


    Aug 6, 2008
    Hardly... After living in NYC for a year... I'd say that NYC is over populated. Can't wait to go back home.
  15. barkomatic macrumors 68040

    Aug 8, 2008
    I think if the world had half the population it has now there would still be uneven distribution of food, water and housing -- that would result in people living in over crowded slums and not having enough to eat.

    I think setting the definition of "overpopulation" as not having access to those things is a bit flawed. We have the technology and resources to provide for everyone's basic needs in abundance--but for various reasons we don't.

    I don't think the world is over populated quite yet.
  16. floyde macrumors 6502a


    Apr 7, 2005
    Monterrey, México

    I'd been having the same concerns as the OP for quite a while. I hope it's just my ignorance on the subject, but it does seem like we're headed for disaster.
  17. Mac'nCheese macrumors 68040


    Feb 9, 2010
    It sounds like population has the ability to "correct" itself just like the stock market does every so often. Unfortunately, that correction might lead to decades of suffering....
  18. TedM macrumors 6502

    Sep 19, 2012
    I'm going to have to say yes it is overpopulated. We don't really make an economical use of space or food though. Eventually I assume we will have to in order to survive. Something does need to be done, but in the US it doesn't feel like its needed yet.

    Unemployment is a really interesting idea with overcrowding. It should be just terrible, maybe crime will get crazy gnarly as well.
  19. afireintonto macrumors 6502a


    Jul 22, 2008
  20. the8thark thread starter macrumors 68040


    Apr 18, 2011
    Yes. It happened in 1929 with a crash. And in 1980's with a recession. What is a crash and recession in terms of population?
  21. Bug-Creator macrumors 6502


    May 30, 2011
    Yes population growth will come to an halt at one point or another, but it won't be due to better birth control nor the lack of oil (or any other energy source).

    It will be due the world's capacity of producing food hitting it's limit.

    Now some may say, just make more land useable for farming, problem is the world is actually loosing farmable land (growing deserts, rising sea-level, building etc).

    Other may say, make better use of that land, problem is more and more farm land is used for stuff like growing flowers or energy plants. Even worse is the rising demand for meat and therefore growing cattle-feed.

    But we can for sure use industrial farming methods since those were what allowed the industrial nations to grow their population so much since 1900. Guess what there is a catch too.... industrial farming does not really work without synthetic fertilizer all of them based on phosphat a stuff we might well run out of long before oil or gas.

    There is a high possibilty that some of us will live to see a mega-famine bring back the population to much lower level.
  22. Huntn macrumors P6


    May 5, 2008
    The Misty Mountains
    And if that what checks the human race, it will be ugly, not a nicely planned event.

    My gut feeling is to say yes we are overpopulated. We are better than bacteria! :p
  23. DUCKofD3ATH Suspended


    Jun 6, 2005
    Universe 0 Timeline
    I think the question should be: Should we be worried about depopulation?

  24. Mac'nCheese macrumors 68040


    Feb 9, 2010
    That's not good for those who live nice long lives, expecting there to be enough younger people to take care for them. And what will happen financially? Not enough people buying up all the homes from people who need to sell them to retire, or people to buy stocks and bonds to keep the economy going? Too many businesses too with no new customers. Shops and malls will go broke. ****. That might be worse, right?
  25. steve knight macrumors 68020

    steve knight

    Jan 28, 2009
    I think the duggers know the truth :rolleyes:
    Michelle Duggar, star of TLC's reality show, "19 Kids and Counting", says there needs to be more children because our world needs more joy. And as for overpopulation? That's just a lie, Duggar recently told the Christian Broadcasting Network in a web interview. "The idea of overpopulation is not accurate," Duggar says, because the entire population of the world could fit inside of Jacksonville, Florida.

    "I agree with Mother Teresa when she said, 'to say that there are too many children is like saying there are too many flowers,'" Duggar said.

    She explains how her large family is resourceful and therefore not posing as big of an environmental problem as perceived. They buy used cars, she says, and frequently shop at thrift stores, purchasing things others would discard.

    Jezebel's Erin Gloria Ryan points out that, even so, "A family of three or four would practically have to prance around throwing a trail of styrofoam packing peanuts in their wake to leave the same sort of carbon footprint that the Duggars leave." By our rough calculations, the family uses over 1,000 rolls of toilet paper each year.

    Duggar claims countries have come to America and asked us to encourage their people to have more children. "Theyr'e in crisis," she said. "They don't have people of marrying age for their youth now, and they see what that's done to their country."

    So instead of being "deceived" by the idea of overpopulation, "we need to focus on loving people and trying to reach out and make a difference for good in our world," Duggar says.

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