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.

Comments 100

  • There's brand new stuff in the Kurzgesagt Merch Shop. Check it out here: shop.kurzgesagt.org

  • My grandma had 21, I said 21 kids (She was a poor woman in 1960's Brazil, a sub-developed country since 1889) And 14 of them have managed to reach the adulthood, including my mother

  • Idiocracy the movie are so real 🙂

  • uhhhhhhhhm actually aristo jsh''u already said that one must ' controll birthrates' and amoral greco-roman culture was obsessed with killing babies

  • So we need valentime SIM cards from kingsman i guess

  • Moral of the story

    Wear condoms

  • im sick of hearing about OVERPOPULATION… give me a fucking break! have any of these assholes ever been to Wyoming, Montana, Nebraska, Kansas Texas just to name a few places… there are places there where you cant see another god damn living soul for miles…. you know who repeats this shit? people who CHOSE to live jam packed like sardines in places like LA, MIAMI and NYC… i dont want to hear your psycho babel nonsense because the facts… AND THEY ARE FACTS clearly demonstrate this is not a population problem its a DISTRIBUTION OF POPULATION issue… if you have a problem with too many people then PACK YOUR SHIT AND MOVE!



  • Need world war 3

  • Sooo?

  • Lol just commit mass genocide

  • I think depopulation is the answer because there's to many humans to the point where planet earth can no longer support us in the next century. So World War 3 or any apocalyptic event like zombies and etc… or Thanos might do to drop the population

  • how is that posible many people dies becouse of sickness and they being killed and acidents

  • " I like the animation in this video! 😛 "

  • This video helps so much in AP human geography

  • The sky is falling

  • Wow AP human is actually useful

  • "The average today is 2.5"
    Stares at third child as I pull out a chainsaw. Half of you has got to go

  • Video completely ignores the unsustainability of our current population much less with another 2 billion people.

  • It's mostly muslims with 12 children per family taking over the world. But not a word about that.

  • Why do the poor tend to have more children

  • But I'm being told by the news outlets baby counts are down.
    An some country are in dangerous numbers.

    Which is it!!??

    Though you do not touch on CHEMICALS in and around our elements, costs due to artificial controlled costs, or criminal immigrates having 3+ kids.

  • "More people is going to mean more people advancing our species" keep having more kids Muslims..keep it up

  • Imagine you made 15 children, expecting 5 to reach adulthood, then somebody invents medicine against the plague o.O

  • lo that is true
    (giving a brazilian example)
    my fathar has 11 brothers/sister but just 9 are alive
    but every brother/sister and he just have 1 or 2 kids 😀

  • Another world war? :0

  • and that is why i'll die a virgin

  • What a load of rubbish there are too many people already

  • " Countries who used to be in need, will help advance development instead" .. is that like modern slavery or wha?

  • 5:50 Actually, the 12 Billionth person was born a long long time ago. Today's kids are now over the 100 billionth people born ever. But I get what you were saying

  • Global warming is a people problem, people ARE the problem. It is not a technological problem.

  • I feel like i can breathe again HAHA

  • Weird useless fact: every second people are having sex and getting babies

  • Thanos: YEET!!

  • Who is watching from Bangladesh?

  • Solution: THANOS

  • Nice thank you !

  • So, everything is good by now?

  • Easy solution-
    Let people go nuts and murder

  • 27164

  • I don't suppose never is actually used as never here so how far in the future is this actually referring to 300 years 500 years, less, more?
    Galactic expansion is inevitable given we don't hit a a Great Filter that kills us.

  • "More people is going to mean more people able to advance our species" I'm not so sure you did some critical thinking here. There are so many people in power toxic to this advancement.

  • Kurzgesagt: "everything is going to kill us at some point except for overpopulation"
    Overpopulation industry confirmed for paying off kurz.

  • First Kurzzy video I watched.

  • No one talking about the Malaysian flag being a knock off American flag?

  • So… Basically more cock and more dick equals even more cock and dick?

  • The answer is genocide…

    I’m joking plz don’t fbi open up me

  • Hence aids and cancer cures have been suppressed along with free energy. Ah religions and banking systems.

  • Opino que tomaste el tema muy desconectado del futuro. La tecnologia avanza y cada ves las cosas se hacen mas automaticas (menos mano de obra) y cada ves mas gente. Y no estoy diciendo cosas de muy del futuro, la semana pasada SCANIA lanzo su primer camion autonomo SIN CABINA. El conflicto de una crisis social yo creo que tarde o temprano sucederá. Lo de los alimentos creo que se resolvera con ingeniería. Pero el problema de millones sin trabajo será algo grave.

  • People dont understand that the earth its not made for all the industrial products and a lot of people consuming them!!! We are close to 'day zero' because all the population growing and the capitalism making money, breaking all our resources. Overpopulation its not good!

  • Don't think Muslims breeding like crazy helps the world.

  • This sounds plausible, the whole " having more kids because many died" thing. I think it's much more simple. People just like having sex. Almost everyone I know who has kids never planned on having kids in the first place. When you live in a "1st world country" you probably have a safe environment with a lot of free time for sex. Which is why (I'm going to lose you're support for this comment now) the government gives new borns undesirable traits like blindness or albinism or even Sid's to curb birth rates and also gives woman ovorial problems for the same reason. Or God does it. Whoever you wanna blame for that crap.

  • Oh yes, this vid and probably the whole channel is sponsored by the eugenistic and masonic Bill Gates.

  • Why war is necessary

  • We need thanos


  • Time f o r colonization to mars and beyound…..

  • Not reaching 12 billion – population becoming better educated. Hardly an answer to the underlying problem. Global warming is caused primarily by energy demand and consumer consumption. A better educated population of almost twice that of present day – math, much?

  • Stupid the earth will never get to many people

  • The Earth is finite
    Its resources finite

  • Next video;
    How well would the "poor" thrive over the rich in the long run. Educated wealthy people versus "poor" people with common sense, street smarts and practical, real life experience.
    I would like to have hope for my children's future despite them not having a college education.

  • Looks like Thanos will need to play a drumbeat on his infinity guanlet again.

  • ….and I’m still watching PornHub.

  • Earth needs a new bubonic plague

  • War ruined us. Now the current setup bars us from bringing all our troops home at once because itd stagger our economy so we HAVE to stay invasive,continuing using them as pawns

  • As little brain as this sounds, I get certain third world country’s couldn’t enforce this properly, but what if for example all country’s in the un enforced one children laws for even just say ten years, the population would likely thin out in most of those country’s populations for years after. I mean this would only makes sense if the population wasn’t going to flatten out anyway

  • I wouldnt fear overpopulation because disease

  • Might consider suicide when the worlds way to bad and when im very sad

  • Then there’s my great grandma on my dads side who had 10 kids, then my grandpa had 3 kids, then my dad and mom had 3 kids including me…

  • I fear that the forces of selfishness and ingratitude will generate wars between the wealthy and the non-wealthy, the honest and the corrupt, the greedy and the logical, the secular and the religious, the entitled and the realistic.
    Rich countries will continue to blame others for their woes and resources will be fought over because humans are incapable of caring for others, especially those who are “different”. It could be a different soccer team, or a different skin colour, the fact is humans are selfish and, as history has shown over and over, we are not likely to change our over-all behaviour.
    One only has to consider climate change as a model of how humans sabotage their own future.
    Until a solution is found to greed (eliminating money), humans will destroy themselves and each other as well as our environment which does not specifically belong to humans, although our governments all behave like it does. And we pay for this behaviour through taxes.

  • 0:38 that grandma is WILD

  • The problem isn't population numbers, it's the number of people all vying for high standard of capitalist living. The world's ecosystems can't support it. We would need multiple earths.

    In order for everywhere to reach stage 4, every country will have to become fully developed. All projections show the world's ecology will be dead by then, and us along with it.

    This video does not talk about input factors. It only looks at population statistics and epidemiology.

    The planet is dying and we don't have time for every backwater to develop and get it's populations educated, so they can live in high rises, buy Louis Vuitton, and fly to vacation destinations.

  • The planet has a back up plan for that there will be another plague or new Dessie’s that kill a lot of people

  • Thanks for this video. I’ve always thought overpopulation would be what would make humans extinct.

  • but our high standards of living rely on lesser developed countries to provide cheap workers.. is that solveable with automization of processes alone? I doubt it

  • How're you gonna have half a damn kid? You just gonna say "Hey half of Bobby c'mere" and not feel like you birthed a mistake

  • From peasant to worker 🤣🤣🤣
    Those are just fancy words for slave

  • This is what I have been anxious about. Anybody else?

  • 4:47 so is this graph including the one child policy? im confused

  • thanos: I can help you with that

  • Well except that they are shipping all their people over hear and these people are fucking breading like rabbits so no it will not even out don't see these third world countries changing anytime soon why bother when we the West keep propping them up and they still will come on over i don't blame them who wouldn't . As for higher education sorting this out Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha don't make me laugh my lunch up cause as I say still coming hear and breading like fuck and he's they are mainly religious people this vid is so wrong we may of learnt our lesson on not needing so many kids but the third world countries haven't and don't have any reason to thanks to so called white guilt fuck that I didn't keep any slaves or kill anyone for their land so fuck you you sjw cunts I don't buy into your stupidity and never will let them sort out their own country's i.e. stop giving them money and limit their numbers again fuck you sjw's it isn't racist you cunts 👿

  • 2.5 kids, the .5 is Lieutenant Dan

  • Over population will destroy everything

  • Increase in Muslim population will spoil the whole world

  • So everything is going to be ok?

  • Well now here in America we have women having 5 kids all different dads the woman having another in her womb smoking a cigarette. This my mother's story. So yeah it's kinda funny.

  • We cannot keep up with energy consumption for all these people. Climate change is inevitable!!

  • This does put a smile on my face.

    Thanos 2017

  • I thought india and China would be primary topics of this video.

  • Utter bollocks! you didn’t factor in religion and indoctrinated beliefs!!!

  • Is the increase in Homosexuality and People having more a desire to have dogs rather than babies not a factor to the population balancing out? Im curious about this, if anyone knows or can point me to a source that would be helpful

  • Cannibalism is a great solution for both overpopulation and world hunger.

  • This world is only about money and reproducing.

  • Why is the title german?

  • What is the difference between the 3rd stage and the 4th stage?

  • No human is carbon-negative though. The more we develop, the more space we take up and the less space other animals and plants have to live.

  • kut van u moeder

  • just think that we reduced our population by sending peaple to the moon or other planets to live in

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