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. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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…

  4. 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?

  5. 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)

  6. 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.

  7. 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!

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. Well you never know in a 100 years what technological and medical break through will happen allowing the human body to survive in harsher environments or being able to put us on other planets like mars

  11. What I find funny is that everyone has been complaining about over population but now that it's finally going down, "oh no nobodys making enuf babies nobodys getting married these days" Or "in the next 10 years the population is going to be cut in half! We must do something blah blah blaaaaaaah" Like damn shut the fuck up like shiiiitttt god daym! I swear if I hear anybody else mention the Japanese baby population I'ma drop a bomb to settle that argument, like I thought Tokyo was over xrowded now that the population is starting to decline to steady numbers again people are complaining

  12. Kurzgesagy: Uploads a compound but very important video explaining the current world population crisis

    Everyone: i’M sTiLl SiNgLe

  13. So what happens when the population gets out of control? This is what I think.
    1.murder our own for population control,through massive accidents and "war" and negligence, no thats stupid,its not the year 100 anymore,before education, so thats not likely.
    2.Sci-fi option #57: Move part of the population that is young and likely to continue making babies to another planet entirely, leaving the elderly,who still look young,because of science,but can no longer make babies,behind on the reasonably overpopulated planet,.Human race expanding throughout the universe.What if that happened already and we're originally from a less hostile planet! Ahhh! Wth! and I hate Star Trek.
    3.The bad ending¡ Ban having children once the population is out of control,science is to dumb to create a spermicide vaccine thing,so everybodys on like lame moneymaking birthcontrol pills, and if you have a child,besides having to hide your pregnancy, in an inunderstanding cold reality, you get a hefty fine and jail time which can be served later in life, to most likely pay off the unaffordable fine, in what is a crisis-out of control "Judge Dredd" type of future.
    4.Reality.Who cares I'll be long dead by than.Feel sorry for me! 🙁 Till than Cocaine and hoes! YAY! or settling down wife, kids, work, mortage, Cadillac payment, divorce, …… Energy drinks and strip clubs! yay! 😉

  14. By the time all humans are pulled out of poverty there will be no wilderness habitat left, much less the many animal and plant species, we will be in the company of cockroaches and rats, and not much else!

  15. tell this to africa… they are not developing and all they do is fuck. they have 8 times the population since 1950 and each day there are 200000 more africans on this planet. average birthrate in nigeria is 6 kids per woman

  16. Yeah, population growth will balance out. Meanwhile the earth's ecosystems are permanently and irreversably damaged. No reason to worry.

  17. The problem is that the current population size is already only barely sustainable on the planet if everyone lowers his unnecessary emissions completely at once.

  18. सारे धरम पर लागु होना चाहीये. तब भारत देश महान होगा.🇮🇳🇮🇳🇮🇳🇮🇳हम 2 हमारे 2

  19. the ONLY problem is those 'country line' and rules that bind people. also, we can't just build our house in a soil like all mankind used to do. we have permits to get, we have to pay, we have to pay taxes every year for the soil we bought already. SEE AROUND, there's canyon, there's savanna, there's a lot of forest, there's a mountain, and there's a lot of unused Lot. so … take my word. even after uncontrolled birth and death in 700 years later. this earth still suffice to contain ALL human inside of it. BUT again, you have to have a money to buy a land, who own the Earth? God . God give earth to human to live in FREE. and crazy people with power take over and Monetized ALL. and THAT'S the problem, not the earth is 'not big enough to live in' . see history of Tsamud. a civilization in a long time ago, they built their city by carving stone-mountain slope.

  20. The main premise of this video is flawed. It states that world population growth will slow as more underdeveloped countries transition to become developed countries. The problem is that each person in a developed country has much more of an impact on the Earth’s environment than each person in an underdeveloped or developing country. People in developed countries live much longer, consume much more of the Earth’s resources, pollute more, add more to climate change and contribute more to the displacement / extinction of other species. As an example, in North America each person on average uses 100 times more water than a person in Africa. So even if the world population does level off, that increasingly affluent population will still have an ever increasing impact on the Earth’s environment. The size of the Human population will still be a problem.

  21. Thank you for making this video, I show this to people every time some one makes ridiculous or just horrible suggestions for this supposed problem of overpopulation.

  22. I do not believe this video accurately describes what will happen in the future…it is too optimistic…Just the population growth in Africa and India alone will surpass the optimism in this video of a stable world population…also religious, racial, and governmental differences will cause humans to compete over population and resources…

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