Humans aren’t overpopulated. We’re aging and shrinking

Too few babies — not overpopulation — is likely to be a major problem this century.

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  • A new study used demographic data to explore current and projected population changes around the world. Europe and Asia are shrinking, while Africa is still growing.
  • For the first time in history, people aged 65+ outnumber children younger than five.
  • Underpopulation will cause serious challenges for sustainability.
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China’s most important border is imaginary: the Hu Line

First drawn in 1935, Hu Line illustrates persistent demographic split – how Beijing deals with it will determine the country's future.

Credit: Tomaatje12, CC0 1.0 – Public domain.
  • In 1935, demographer Hu Huanyong drew a line across a map of China.
  • The 'Hu Line' illustrated a remarkable divide in China's population distribution.
  • That divide remains relevant, not just for China's present but also for its future.

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Live on Monday: Does the US need one billion people?

What would happen if you tripled the US population? Matthew Yglesias and moderator Charles Duhigg explore the idea on Big Think Live.

Is immigration key to bolstering the American economy? Could having one billion Americans secure the US's position as the global superpower?

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Why virtual reality is necessary on a planet of 11 billion

Virtual reality is more than a trick. It's a solution to big problems.

  • According to projections shared by the UN, Earth's population is expected to reach 9.7 billion in 2050. By the year 2100, that number could increase to 11 billion. Virtual reality will be necessary to reduce the waste of such a large population in industries like transport, retail, and manufacturing.
  • As an existing technology, there is a lot that virtual reality can do: rich and immersive environments, heightened storytelling, emotionally resonant experiences, and increased productivity in retail. But it's only in its infancy.
  • As the world's population continues to grow, the technology will need to evolve to facilitate a larger network of users, and developers will have to think harder about the technological potential and the ethical, neurological, and emotional side effects.

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Why are there so many humans?

Having lots of kids is great for the success of the species. But there's a hitch.

Photo by chuttersnap on Unsplash
Something curious happened in human population history over the last 1 million years.
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