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Climate Change and Human Migration

Updated on May 1, 2020
Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Ms. Inglish has spent 30 years working in medicine, psychology, STEM instruction, and aerospace education for Active USAF Civil Air Patrol.

Ice melt is affecting the shores of Greenland, just as it is the shores of Alaska and other coastlines.
Ice melt is affecting the shores of Greenland, just as it is the shores of Alaska and other coastlines. | Source

Eroding Shore Lines and Floods

Climate change in the late 20th and early 21st centuries caused consider4ble human migration away from areas that became too hostile for living. This migration included First Nations and Native Americans that moved away from the area around the Alaskan North Shore because the shoreline was eroded up to there villages. They needed to move at least 60 miles inland to escape the flooding and to find new food sources.

Ice melt (red line) in April 2020 already surpasses that for the same month from 1981 - 2010.
Ice melt (red line) in April 2020 already surpasses that for the same month from 1981 - 2010. | Source

Europe is expected by 2050 to have a base population, on average, at age 47 years - up from age 39 in 2008. Senior citizens are expected to outnumber children so that there will be twice as many elderly as children in Europe. Into this population, people will migrate form Greenland, the Middle East, Northern Africa, and possibly India and even as far away as China. As the shorelines erode and the deserts widen, people will move inward toward the EU.

Particularly interesting is that while the Arab world is rich in oil, it is poor in water and growing poorer, relying on Israel and other nations for fresh, clean water.

A coworker of mine visited the site of his childhood home in New Jersey in 1998 and found that the shoreline had eroded to leave his old neighborhood under water.

Global Population Clocks

World-O-Meters World Clock - Total Population Updates

World Clock of Statistics Updates

  • Seven billion reached by December 31, 2011.
  • Seven billion, 65 million reached by August 23, 2018.
  • Seven billion, 77 million reached by April 30, 2020.

National Population Clocks Available Online

Check population statistics on several continents:

The 2010 US Census (CENSUS2010)

Most Populous US States

  1. California - 37,253,956
  2. Texas - 25,145,561
  3. New York - 19,378,102
  4. Florida - 18,801,310
  5. Illinois - 12,830,632
  6. Pennsylvania - 12,702,379
  7. Ohio - 11,536,504
  8. Michigan - 9,883,640
  9. Georgia - 9,687,653
  10. North Carolina - 9,535,483: Displaced New Jersey to number 11.

States 11 - 20 in CENSUS2010

11. New Jersey - 8,791,894: Dropped from 10th to 11th place in Census2010
12. Virginia - 8,001,024
13. Washington - 6,724,540
14. Massachusetts - 6,547,629
15. Indiana - 6,483,802
16. Arizona - 6,329,017
17. Missouri - 5,988,927
18. Maryland - 5,773,552
19. Wisconsin - 5,686,986
20. Minnesota - 5,303,925

USA Is the #3 nation in Global Population Size
USA Is the #3 nation in Global Population Size | Source

USA - Baby Boom in 2007


Top 10 Most Populous Nations, 2010 - 2011

Data are from the CIA Factobook and the US Census Bureau

  1. China - 1,330,141,295
  2. India - 1,173,108,018
  3. United States - 310,232,863 (mid-2011)
  4. Indonesia - 242,968,342
  5. Brazil - 201,103,330
  6. Pakistan - 177,276,594
  7. Bangladesh - 158,065,841
  8. Nigeria - 152,217,341
  9. Russia - 139,390,205 (Declined since last count - see trable below)
  10. Japan - 126,804,433 (Declined again since last count)
  11. Mexico - 112,468,855
  12. Philippines - 99,900,177
  13. Vietnam - 89,571,130 (significant increase)
  14. Ethiopia - 88,013,491 (significant increase)
  15. Germany - 82,282,988
  16. Egypt - 80,471,869
  17. Turkey - 77,804,122 (significant increase)
  18. Democratic Republic of Congo - 70,916,439 (significant increase)
  19. Islamic Republic of Iran - 67,037,517
  20. Thailand - 66,404,688

Overwhelming Data

In researching the current populations of the nations of the world, one finds conflicting data on the Internet. Some of this data is that available from the CIA World Factbook. Other figures come from United Nations estimates. Still others originate with the US Census Bureau.

While the United States government and private sectors can boast of some of the world's leading scientists, mathematicians and statisticians, this fact does not mean that America has accurate access to the numbers of all people living in all foreign countries. This fact is borne out in the conflicting data found. However, there is enough information available and the population clocks are excellent enough to provide some convincing evidence of population sizes and growth trends.

In addition, people are being born and killed every minute all around the globe and this cannot be stopped. This makes population counts almost a "continuous variable" like blood pressure -- Blood pressure is different second by second, but if you stop it to take an accurate never-changing count, the patient dies. This is simply a source of statistical error in population counts and accounts for some of the conflict.

However, some of the data found for July 16, 2007 [see the table] shows that certain populations in particular nations decreased in just one or two months or even less time. This cannot be a looseness in the figures, but indicates that something else is happening. This could be mistakes in estimates, deaths from famine or war, mass migrations, or a number of other possibilities.

It does seem certain that France dropped off the Top 20 list into 21st place, though. Where are the French going?

World Populations by 2050

US Census and UN Statistics

In the year 2050, the Top 10 Populated Countries are expected to be:

  1. India - 1,628,000,000 (1.628 billion)
  2. China - 1,437,000,000 (1.437 billion)
  3. United States - 420,000,000 (420 million)
  4. Nigeria - 299,000,000
  5. Pakistan - 295,000,000
  6. Indonesia - 285,000,000
  7. Brazil - 260,000,000
  8. Bangladesh - 231,000,000
  9. Democratic Republic of Congo - 183,000,000
  10. Ethiopia - 145,000,000

The Eastern Hemisphere, estimates 2005 - 2007

Most Populous Countries in Africa

  1. Nigeria 125,750,356
  2. Egypt 76,117,421
  3. Ethiopia 71,336,571
  4. Congo 58,317,930
  5. South Africa 44,448,470

Most Populous Countries in Asia

  1. China 1,298,847,624
  2. India 1,065,070,607
  3. Indonesia 238,452,952
  4. Pakistan 159,196,336
  5. Bangladesh 141,340,476

Most Populous Countries in Europe

  1. Russia 143,974,059
  2. Germany 82,424,609
  3. France 60,424,213
  4. United Kingdom 60,270,708
  5. Italy 58,057,477
  6. Ukraine 47,732,079
  7. Spain 40,280,780
  8. Poland 38,626,349
  9. Romania 22,355,551
  10. Netherlands 16,318,199

Most Populous Countries in the Middle East

  1. Iran 67,503,205
  2. Saudi Arabia 25,795,938
  3. Iraq 25,374,691
  4. Yemen 20,024,867
  5. Syria 18,016,874

Most Populous Countries in Oceania

  1. Australia 19,913,144
  2. New Zealand 3,993,817
  3. Fiji 880,874
  4. Solomon Islands 523,617

Western Hemisphere Population Estimates 2005 - 2007

Most Populous Countries in the Caribbean

  1. Cuba 11,308,764
  2. Dominican Republic 8,833,634
  3. Haiti 7,942,419
  4. Jamaica 2,713,130
  5. Trinidad and Tobago 1,096,585

Most Populous Countries in Central America

  1. Guatemala 14,280,596
  2. Honduras 6,823,568
  3. El Salvador 6,587,541

Most Populous Countries in South America

  1. Brazil 184,101,109
  2. Colombia 42,310,775
  3. Argentina 39,144,753
  4. Peru 27,544,305
  5. Venezuela 25,017,387

Nations With the Largest Economies (GDP) in CENSUS2010

  1. United States $11,750,000,000,000
  2. China $7,262,000,000,000
  3. Japan $3,745,000,000,000
  4. India $3,319,000,000,000
  5. Germany $2,362,000,000,000
  6. United Kingdom $1,782,000,000,000
  7. France $1,737,000,000,000
  8. Italy $1,609,000,000,000
  9. Brazil $1,492,000,000,000
  10. Russia $1,408,000,000,000
  11. Canada $1,023,000,000,000
  12. Mexico $1,006,000,000,000
  13. Spain $937,600,000,000
  14. South Korea $925,100,000,000
  15. Indonesia $827,400,000,000


The Mars Society is pushing for Martian colonization in part to ease Earth's population woes. They do some fascinating things, like having volunteers living in Marscapes of a sort in the desert of the American West as a training and research mission. Other groups are being created to think of additional ideas for population overgrowth on our planet.

To the Moon and Mars

Whatever the most accurate numbers for the leading top 20 nations in population, it is a certainty that the world is filling up with people. If it continues to do so, it will one day be able to support no more people - not even one more.

This has been the topic of science fiction and science research for decades.

The Flag of Mars. Chosen for the future of Mars Exploration
The Flag of Mars. Chosen for the future of Mars Exploration | Source

In the 1980s, a group of doctors in my home state of Ohio drew up a proposal for a Medical Moon Base for chronic victims of uncontrollable hypertension and related maladies.

Inhabitants of such a base might include a lot of people, acting as an escape valve to siphon off some of the populations of Earth. On the Moon, with only 1/5 the gravity of our home planet, blood pressures would decrease for these patients. However, they might not be able to get back to Earth, because returning, if they survived the G-forces of re-entry, would raise their blood pressures so quickly and dramatically that they would likely suffer strokes.

At the same time as this proposal, other interested parties decided that the Moon should become a penal colony just as Australia was when formed and was first settled by prisoners.

This is likely not a workable solution to overpopulation. However, a good story about the possibility is The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, by Robert Heinlein, first published in 1966. It is also about about the penal colony's revolt against the Earth government, filled with interesting and libertarian views, as well as an English language laced with Russian terms.

Written in the middle of the Cold War, Harsh Mistress was a pointed conceptual focus - colonies combining elements from former enemies for survival on a new world. It is a good piece of science fiction with an interesting ending. It won the HUGO award for Sci-Fi.


This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2007 Patty Inglish MS

Comments and Recommendations

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    • Patty Inglish, MS profile imageAUTHOR

      Patty Inglish MS 

      9 years ago from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation

      Yes, I already wrote Hubs containing information about the investments already made for gaining resources from the moon and Mars, flights to begin in early 2013.

    • Eugene Hardy profile image

      Eugene Hardy 

      9 years ago from Southfield, Michigan

      I do not believe it matters anymore as to the cause of climate change, (though I know that we humans helped cause most of it!). What matters now is that humans change their behavior about our climate.

      And as for our population problems, the only viable choice we have is to colonize space. Establishing colonies on the moon and Mars will probably be necessary, but I think there are things we need to do in space before we get to Mars - we need more resources.

      A good way to get those resources is to mine the asteroid belt for necessary materials to build any colonization efforts. Also, we need the materials to build near Earth habitats that are self sustaining, especially as a learning experience.

      What do you think?

    • profile image

      sewale lewoyehu (Ethiopian) 

      9 years ago

      This time every one should participate to minimise the

      trend of global warming and keep our earth as beautiful

      as before. Doing this is the most proud of your doings...........before any thing love and prtect our

      eenvironment then the wish to our betterment will be succeded.

    • Jangaplanet profile image

      Andrea Ercoli 

      9 years ago

      Life as we know it has persistently permeated and adapted to its environment. Sure, a lot of species die out every year but more species move to fill in their place in the grand scheme of things … the circle of life if you will. However, having said that, climate change is real and it's a serious issue. I'm no expert on subject but from what i see around the world, and hear, i'm concerned. Global warming is affecting us all.

      Thanks Patty for sharing! It is always good to learn something new.

    • profile image


      9 years ago it's still human's basic instinct after all.we relocate to save ourselves and be freed from harm.

      great hub!

    • Goodpal profile image


      10 years ago

      Shortage of drinking water, food products, sudden climatic disasters will increase conflicts in all regions of the world. The worst affected will be the people of poor countries, for a problem to which their contribution is least. "Migrate or perish" is likely to drive the survival instinct of people everywhere, in the coming decades.

    • barryrutherford profile image

      Barry Rutherford 

      10 years ago from Queensland Australia

      Refuges from Climate Chage will become an increasing problem. The Pacific Islands of Tuvalu & others near NZ & Australia face inundation from the sea in the near future...

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile imageAUTHOR

      Patty Inglish MS 

      10 years ago from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation


    • profile image

      pamela and stephanie 

      10 years ago

      wowwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww i likeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee

    • profile image

      richmond quayson{university of Ghana  

      10 years ago

      i think this issue is very important and as such good measures and practices must be put in place to ensure a considerable reduction in their effects

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      Nice reading...hope we do something positive before the tide turns on.

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      Thanks for the information provided, it really help in my research work. Lets all protects our environment from GLOBAL WARMING as it affects our environment.

    • profile image


      10 years ago from new zealand

      wow... how true... like the people, diseases will migrate too as the globe gets warmer.

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile imageAUTHOR

      Patty Inglish MS 

      10 years ago from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation

      @pichwai - I see these interesting banyan-type trees growing in Florida, but since they are HUGE at 30 meters or more tall, we cannot plant as many as you feel we need in USA. Maybe in fallow lands - like constructing wind-turbine farms - that would work.

    • profile image


      10 years ago


      We can reduce the GLOBAL WARMING by our single effort, if each one family plant PEEPAL Tree (Indian Name of Tree, don’t know the English name).

      Every one takes care of that tree than we can save the earth from global warming.

      Only PEEPAL tree give Oxygen (O2) to us 24 hrs. & breathe Carbon dioxide (CO2) 24 hrs.

      Rest other tree only gives Oxygen in a day and take back Oxygen in night.

      So these PEEPAL Trees will helpful to remove Carbon dioxide (CO2) and save us & earth from Global warming.

      Start saving earth.

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      Very interesting. Thanks for sharing. Climate change seems to be effecting us all.

    • MNichopolis profile image


      11 years ago from Massachusetts

      You should check out the emails from the University of East Anglia in England (that were just hacked/released) - proud members of the IPCC...

      It's starting to look like there has been a lot of falsified data (supporting man-made climate change) and pressure on peers (and scientific journals) to NOT publish contradictory (but real) data...

      It appears that not only is the global warming data fake, but also that the scientific "consensus" is a sham too - ah well.

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile imageAUTHOR

      Patty Inglish MS 

      11 years ago from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation

      Jenny-Anne - I don't think we'll have a moon settlement for another 30-50 years. More likely settlements like the "space hotel" to launch soon - very expensive. :)

    • profile image


      11 years ago

      interesting hub - climate change seems to be causing serious problems like drought in poorer countries - and overpopulation seems to have been a taboo subject until now!

      Should I start making plans for a quiet retirement on the moon?

    • kephrira profile image


      11 years ago from Birmingham

      interesting stats

    • profile image

      Federico Macheda 

      12 years ago

      Global warming is time i scored a goal against aston-villa

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile imageAUTHOR

      Patty Inglish MS 

      12 years ago from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation

      Hello midnightbliss -- We have too much of too much. How many people can the plant support? - I'll have to look THAT one up and see how much room we have left. To clean things up enough to make much difference we'd need to go back to 1903 and stop the Wright Brother's plane and Henry Ford's autos. 100 years really tipped the scales and some countries simly have too many people born yearly, but we can't morally stop that.

    • midnightbliss profile image

      Haydee Anderson 

      12 years ago from Hermosa Beach

      great information on this hub, thanks for sharing.

      Globar warming nad climate changes has been happening and unless we do our part in helping our environment, more and more environmental problems will happen.

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile imageAUTHOR

      Patty Inglish MS 

      12 years ago from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation

      The spread of desert lands and lack of rain:

      July 2008--

      "Climate Change Triggers Migration in The Gambia’s North Bank Region:

      Although the problems of migration have been around since time immemorial, the large proportions it has reached in the Gambia today are attributable to climate change and its consequences. Drought and desertification, which are some of its direct results, have jeopardized the livelihoods of many rural habitations in the Gambia.

      The effect is most felt in homes deserted by migrants, where people not only feel the direct pinch of losing their energetic forces, the youth, but also become liabilities, largely depending on the state for sustenance. As such, the migration phenomenon itself becomes exacerbated and engrained in a chain of catch twenty-two.

      The main factor mobilizing the youth to migrate is the quasi destruction of the social fabric which, hitherto, was the basic support to the equilibrium that made communities self-sustaining and stable. Traditionally, communities depended on the land and the plenitude of hands for labor as well as the forest or water bodies which they exploited for farming, fruit collection, hunting and fishing respectively. Rains were good and the resulting harvest was generally adequate to feed families from one cropping season to the other, supplemented by products form the forest and fishing. "

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile imageAUTHOR

      Patty Inglish MS 

      12 years ago from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation

      I'm glad you visited with these interesting observations. So much advancement in only a century has ripped the earth up. I've been reading first-hand accounts of folks in Beijing being hit in the face with sand for the Gobi Desert even between sand storms - polution so thick you can't see. Coal burning out of control.

      Probably many people will die in catastrophes and releive the earth somewhat, imo.

      Thanks again for writing here. I will go look at your Hubs.

    • Christoph Reilly profile image

      Christoph Reilly 

      12 years ago from St. Louis

      Patty, great hub! There are so many factors coming together that threaten mankind, it makes one wonder if it's not too late already. Global warming, climate change (flooding, drought, hurricanes, etc.), an ever increasing population, depletion of natural resources, all combine to make one hell of a problem. No offense to Mr. Nigeria, but stopping the use of plastic is not only unrealistic, but would hardley solve things all by it's little ol' self. This is a tempest in a teapot, and adding a spoonful of sugar isn't going to accomplish much in the big picture.

      Technology has increased over the last 100 years equal to the previous millions of years and, frankly, we humans have not managed our planet very well.

      In the 1940s, composer Kurt Weill (The Threepenny Opera, etc.) included these lyrics in one of his songs: Mankind will survive...thanks to it's brilliant." 20 years ago that gave me a modicum of comfort. Now, I'm not so sure.

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile imageAUTHOR

      Patty Inglish MS 

      13 years ago from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation

      I hope it does not make the poor poorer. There is a rising trend in green industries that should provide plenty of jobs. If not, then it's been a bogus plan.

      Global warming unites people with a common threat like the UFO scares in the 50s and 60s brought communists and capitalists together in study.

    • ipsism profile image


      13 years ago

      Global warming is real. Only thing is, global warming is a transient trend in the cycles of earth's history.

      If one reviews the temperature history that scientists have obtained, There can be no conclusion other than that our current climate is a natural cycle, no worse than prior cycles. See, or

      Climatologists ignore the affects of geological events, such as sub-oceanic volcanoes and astrogocial findings. Everyone takes a small sampling of data to support their pet hypothesis, rather than examining the globe in a unified approach. As such, there is rancor and duplicity to force an agenda that will make a few super-rich while making the majority poorer.


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