Overpopulation occurs when the population of the world reaches an undesirable number that exceeds its carrying capacity. Its concept originated in 1798 in England when Reverend Thomas Robert Malthus noticed that the production of food production had risen incrementally, while the population grew exponentially. Generally, it is caused by many factors, such as reduced mortality rates.
Now, overpopulation has become a subject of debates around the world, with opposing parties pushing strong beliefs. To build a good opinion about this matter, let us take a look at its facts and statistics.
According to records, the world population has already soared past 7 billion, and every second of the day, it is growing by 3 people. In 1960, the average life expectancy was 51, which increased to 69 in 2010, hastening population growth. At the current rate, the population of the least-developed countries is expected to double in the next 31 years. Overpopulation is said to have started to degrade the life quality for many, significantly depleting valuable natural resources that they need to thrive and survive. The most recent reports also show that about 783 million people, which are about 10% of the world population, are lacking access to quality drinking water. In the US, there are more than 1.43 million unplanned births happening every year.
- When the agriculture era began about 8000 B.C., the world population was estimated to be 5 million, and after 8,000 years up to 1 A.D., it was said to had grown to 200 to 600 million, with a growth rate of under 0.05% per year, which was still an imprecise estimate considering that it was done during early historical periods.
- During the industrial period, a big series of changes occurred where the world population reached one billion in 1800, two billion only after 130 years in 1930, three billion in less than 30 years in 1959, four billion in just 15 years in 1974 and five billion in only 13 years in 1987.
- During the 20th century alone, the world population has grown from 1.65 billion to 6 billion. The yearly growth rate reached its peak at 2% and above in the late 1960s, but it almost halved in 1963.
- Currently, such a rate has been declining and is expected to continue to drop in the coming years, becoming less than 1% by 2020 and less than 0.5% by 2050. This means that the population in the world continues to grow in the 21st century, but it will be at a slower rate compared with the recent past.
- While it has doubled in four decades from three billion in 1959 to six billion in 1999, it is now estimated to take a further 39 years to grow by only 50% to nine billion by 2038.
- As of August 2016, the total number of human beings currently living in the world is estimated at 7.4 billion, with a current growth rate of around 1.13% per year. As for the current average population change, it is estimated at around 80 million every year.
Crystal Lombardo is a contributing editor for Vision Launch. Crystal is a seasoned writer and researcher with over 10 years of experience. She has been an editor of three popular blogs that each have had over 500,000 monthly readers.