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Human Population Essay

1236 words - 5 pages

Human Overpopulation

Not that long ago, humans were still struggling to survive in a world plagued with diseases, predators, and unknown dangers. The harsh natural environment functioned to keep our population growth in check. However, since the last century, the human population had grown exponentially. Our survival is no longer threatened by other species and harsh environmental conditions. In fact, there is a new concern for the modern society—overpopulation. According to The American Heritage Science Dictionary, overpopulation is “The population of an environment by a particular species in excess of the environment's carrying capacity”. In addition, “the effects of overpopulation can ...view middle of the document...

We will eventually use up our natural resources and begin to level off around the carrying capacity. Though we may be reaching the carrying capacity, it is possible to alter the carrying capacity in two ways. Based on the equation, our per capita impact on the planet can be reduced to increase the carrying capacity by lowering our consumption or improving technological advances.
The rate of human population growth was not always so fast; human population grew at very steady rate of around 5-10% annual increase before the 1920s. Our population was just a mere 480 million in 1500 and just under two billion in 1920. The growth rate was relatively stable and slow because the births and deaths were approximately the same. Initially, the birth rates were very high but accompanied with a high infant mortality rate. However, after 1920s, advances in nutrition, sanitation, and medical care in Europe and the United States had led to an unbalanced birth rate to death rate ratio. Death rates decreased dramatically, while birth rates continued to be high in developing countries. Like what Thomas Robert Malthus had said, the only way to solve overpopulation once it has occurred is through war, famine, and disease. These are the ways in which nature has kept the human population in check, radically decreasing the human population once in a while.
On October 31, 2011, the seventh billionth baby was born. Approximately nineteen babies are born and eight people die every few seconds. According to, there are approximately 7.2 billion people in the world now, with China as the leading country by population and India following very closely behind. United States is the third most populated country; however, its population is incomparable to that of China’s and India’s population. China and India’s high population is due to the fact that they are developing countries. China has already successfully controlled and restricted its population to under the replacement level. Though China’s population growth is no longer a threat, the rate of growth of India’s population has become the main concern. Because population grows fastest in the world’s poorest countries, their population is predicted to rise higher than China’s population in a few years.
Though human population has yet to reach the carrying capacity, we are already seeing some negative effects of population growth. Many basics resources are strained by our current population, and we are having problems with the distribution of these scarce resources. The basic resources include food, air quality, oil, and gas. Often, people living in developing countries are ignorant of these problems because we normally do not encounter the problems ourselves. Standards of living in developed countries are very high compared...

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