7 Billion People: How Near Is Overpopulation?

On October 31st, the United Nations estimates that the seventh billion child will be born. But people have worried about overpopulation since long ago. Are we approaching a threshold? 

7 Billion People: How Near Is Overpopulation?

What's the Latest Development?


The United Nations estimates that the seventh billion child will be born this October 31st, bringing world population to its highest point yet. The international body had long thought that birth rates would level out at about nine billion around 2050, but now, as a result of steady birthrates even in developed countries, the world population is expected to reach ten billion by 2100 and continue climbing. Harvard biologist E. O. Wilson has called 'the pattern of human population growth' in the twentieth century 'more bacterial than primate.'

What's the Big Idea?

Concerns about overpopulation have been around for a long time, since at least the late 18th century when Thomas Malthus wrote that population would always be kept in check by 'inevitable famine'. How long can the planet continue to provide for an ever-increasing human population? "As many, including Bill Gates, have pointed out, just to keep per-capita food production constant in the coming decades will require a second 'green revolution'," the first of which increased food production by two percent every year from 1950 to 1990.

U.S. Navy controls inventions that claim to change "fabric of reality"

Inventions with revolutionary potential made by a mysterious aerospace engineer for the U.S. Navy come to light.

U.S. Navy ships

Credit: Getty Images
Surprising Science
  • U.S. Navy holds patents for enigmatic inventions by aerospace engineer Dr. Salvatore Pais.
  • Pais came up with technology that can "engineer" reality, devising an ultrafast craft, a fusion reactor, and more.
  • While mostly theoretical at this point, the inventions could transform energy, space, and military sectors.
Keep reading Show less

Modern society is as unequal as 14th century Europe

As bad as this sounds, a new essay suggests that we live in a surprisingly egalitarian age.

"Philosophy Presenting the Seven Liberal Arts to Boethius"

Getty Open Content
Politics & Current Affairs
  • A new essay depicts 700 years of economic inequality in Europe.
  • The only stretch of time more egalitarian than today was the period between 1350 to approximately the year 1700.
  • Data suggest that, without intervention, inequality does not decrease on its own.
Keep reading Show less

You are suffering from “tab overload”

Our love-hate relationship with browser tabs drives all of us crazy. There is a solution.

Photo by Anna Shvets from Pexels
Technology & Innovation
  • A new study suggests that tabs can cause people to be flustered as they try to keep track of every website.
  • The reason is that tabs are unable to properly organize information.
  • The researchers are plugging a browser extension that aims to fix the problem.
Keep reading Show less
Personal Growth

Epicurus and the atheist's guide to happiness

Seek pleasure and avoid pain. Why make it more complicated?

Quantcast