4. The History of Human Population Growth


2014-01-15. Planetary dashboard shows “Great Acceleration” in human activity since 1950. Global Change, International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme.

2012-04-09.  Population growth: Fastest growing urban area?  It may surprise you | by Emily Alpert, The Los Angeles Times World Now Blog. Excerpt: ...Africa and Asia are expected to make up 86% of the growth in urban populations worldwide in the decades leading up to 2050, according to the United Nations. Newly released estimates show the urban population in Africa is expected to roughly triple, exceeding 1.2 billion; urbanites in Asia will soar from 1.9 billion to 3.3 billion. There's an upside to urbanization: Educating people and bringing them other services is easier when they’re clustered in cities. The downside: Countries will have to scramble to provide enough urban jobs, housing, energy and infrastructure to avoid an explosion of slums, the U.N. says....  Full article at http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/world_now/2012/04/hold-urban-growth.html

2010 May 26. Gulf Coast population surges, but will it last? By Hope Yen, Associated Press. Excerpt: …The population of counties situated along the Gulf of Mexico is rising sharply but demographers warn that the trend won't last because of a constant threat of hurricanes and uncertainty over the current oil spill.
…The report found that the Gulf Coast population - which includes counties in Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia and western Florida - jumped by 150 percent since 1960 to about 14 million, as people shied away from coastal living in more crowded areas along the Atlantic and Pacific oceans.
…That Gulf Coast growth surpassed all other U.S. regions, and is more than double the rate of increase for the nation as a whole. Noncoastal areas also lagged, rising 64 percent to nearly 220 million despite the growing popularity of inland cities located in the Sunbelt.
… "The last two decades showed that the Gulf Coast has become a more affordable alternative for those priced out of the Atlantic and Pacific coastal magnets," said William H. Frey, a demographer at Brookings Institution. "But the recent spate of hurricanes and now the oil spill could dampen their attraction. This should bring even greater gains for noncoastal Sunbelt destinations once the housing market revives."

January 18. Genome Study Provides a Census of Early Humans. By Nicholas Wade, The NY Times. Excerpt: From the composition of just two human genomes, geneticists have computed the size of the human population 1.2 million years ago from which everyone in the world is descended.
They put the number at 18,500 people, but this refers only to breeding individuals, the “effective” population. The actual population would have been about three times as large, or 55,500.
...In biological terms, it seems, humans were not a very successful species, and the strategy of investing in larger brains than those of their fellow apes had not yet produced any big payoff. Human population numbers did not reach high levels until after the advent of agriculture.
Geneticists have long known that the ancestors of modern humans numbered as few as 10,000 at some time in the last 100,000 years. The critically low number suggested that some catastrophe, like disease or climate change induced by a volcano, had brought humans close to the brink of extinction.
If the new estimate is correct, however, human population size has been small and fairly constant throughout most of the last million years, ruling out the need to look for a catastrophe....

2004 September. India's Population to Surpass China's By 2035. The 2004 World Population Data Sheet, released this month by thePopulation Reference Bureau, http://www.prb.org/, projects an overall global population increase of 45% to 9.3 billion people by the year 2050. The United States is expected to remain the third most populous country through that year, falling behind India, which will become the most populous country, and China, which will drop to number two. PRB predicts that most of the population growth will occur in the developing countries, despite higher HIV/AIDS infection rates and higher infant mortality rates than in the developed world. The figures assume that HIV/AIDS prevalence in Africa will peak in 10-15 years and then rates will drop on the continent, where they are already decreasing in 14 of 38 countries. The gap between the developed and developing countries' figures is also attributed to aging populations, along with more frequent contraceptive use and lower birth rates in several European countries.

 

Articles from 2004–present

Population Density Maps -- http://sedac.ciesin.columbia.edu/plue/gpw

Videos from Al Bartlett, Professor Emeritus at University of Colorado at Boulder, about exponential growth.

World Population Video (on Population Connection website)

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