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Guide to Overpopulation

Updated on November 26, 2014


Overpopulation drives every major problem on Earth and many minor problems as well. Wars, crime, pollution, failed nations, famine, plagues, terrorism, you name it, overpopulation either causes it or makes it worse.

The first famines happened long before world population hit Earth's optimal carrying capacity of one billion humans. We have long passed five billion people. So since there were famines below one billion and since there are famines at seven billion, how are we going to feed eleven billion people?

We aren't. Because we can't. Farmers are good but they aren't that good. Fishermen are getting out of the business because the ocean is poisoned and dead. And ranchers with their herds of cattle are a big part of the reasons for global warming. The herds are chewing away vegetation (leading to desertification) and emitting greenhouse gases.

But cheer up. Perhaps your grandchildren won't starve to death. Pandemics or wars might get them first.

But this lens is not just about gloom and doom. There is plenty of that for the alarmists but there are solutions too.

Overpopulation is the problem behind all other problems. Solve it.

"well, if the world falls apart, then I'll believe you"

Read some headlines. Watch the news.

The world _IS_ falling apart.

Optimum carrying capacity of the globe is one billion. We are now officially six billion over that.

It's not quantity of life that counts . . .

It is not quantity of life that counts but quality of life. Those who want more and more people generally have an ulterior motive. The real estate developer wanting to rape the Earth and sell more subdivisions. The cleric wanting more people in his congregation. The war-monger needing fresh cannon fodder.

Guide to Overpopulation - overpopulation solutions

Germs, roaches and rats are species that take the r strategy of overpopulation.

Stability is the K strategy in ecology. I always felt a kinship with elephants, sequoia, redwoods and blue whales. Now I know why.


image source: Paul R. Ehrlich

Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 Generic license.

Guide to Overpopulation - from A to Z

  • A - Atomic, A-bombs, Abstinence, Asexual, Africa, Asia, Arabization
  • B - Birth Control, Behavioral Sink, Baptists
  • C - Child-free, Condoms, Cervical Caps, Contraceptive Creams, Coitus Interruptus, China, Celibacy
  • D - Diaphragms, Douche
  • E - Evangelicals
  • F - Family Planning, (Contraceptive) Foams, Famine, Fundamentalists
  • G - Gays
  • H - Hispanics
  • I - Intra-Uterine Devices (IUD's), Improvised Explosive Devices (IED's), India
  • J - (Contraceptive) Jellies, Jehovah's Witnesses
  • K - K-strategy
  • L - Latter Day Saints, Latin America
  • M - Male Birth Control Pill, Mormons, Muslims
  • N - Negative Population Growth, National Organization of Non-parents
  • O - Overpopulation, Oral Contraceptives, One Child Policy
  • P - Population Explosion, Planned Parenthood, Plague
  • Q - Question why you "have to have children".
  • R - RU-486, Roman Catholics, r-strategy
  • S - Spermicides, Sponges, Sterilization, Sociobiology
  • T - Teen Pregnancies, Tubal Ligation
  • U - Unwed Pregnancy
  • V - Vasectomy, Vaginal Tablets, Vaginal Suppositories
  • W - Withdrawal, War
  • X - X-chromosome
  • Y - Y-chromosome
  • Z - Zero Population Growth

More Bad News

It turns out that the census people undercounted. The world population will be higher than previously thought.

Bumper Sticker

Actually, it is not just the environment. Overpopulation makes EVERY problem worse.

Whatever happened to Octo-mom?

watch out, they might call you a neo-Malthusian snob!

see? I warned you

Go to this link --,news-comment,n...

to see yourself described as a "self-serving pessimist" for wanting a better world. No one at this lens is advocating plague or pox upon anyone's house.

Overpopulating Mother Earth


these people are overpopulation deniers deliberately trying to kill us all-- - Overpopulation: The Making of a Myth

These people are overpopulation deniers (similar to climate change deniers) who are deliberately trying to kill us all. Watch this video with a critical eye, a discerning ear and your brain turned on or you'll end up one of their suckers. As P.T. Barnum's competitor might say: "there's a sucker born every minute."

The overpopulation deniers would have you deny your own senses of sight, hearing, smell and touch.

Seven Billion - headed for eight

Burn Out

Crammed Subway

You Are Disposable

There are seven billion people, so who is going to miss one person?

Things (and people) have value only when they are scarce. People are not scarce. Birth is _NOT_ a miracle when it is constant, continual and continuous.




(these babies don't look real, they are not puking)


I couldn't find any real photos of quints. This is a multiple exposure.

McCaughey Septuplets


There are now several sets of surviving septuplets around the world.

The Octuplets - Nine (nonuplets) Is Next


Gridlocked Freeway


Women Screaming While Giving Birth Part 1

Women screaming during childbirth part 2

Women Screaming While Giving Birth Part 3

women screaming while giving birth part 4: The Episiotomy

Screaming Delivery

Crying Babies 2

Baby Crying on an Airplane In Front of Me

Dude, if you don't like babies then get off the plane. Those people above got off the bus. Why can't you get off the plane? What's that about thirty-nine thousand feet and in five hours?

Blee, blee, blee, that's all folks!

That''s all for the world unless people heed the advice offered in this lens.

Sun of a Beach!

California prison


This crowd was in Egypt.

Are you stupid politicians and business "leaders" getting the message yet? Follow the advice in this lens or the alternative is that you get dragged out like the Colonel in Libya or Saddam in Iraq.

And don't act like this is a new phenomenon. Ever heard of the French Revolution? Ever heard what happened to Mussolini? Let's do this the sane and humane way proposed in this lens.

Or let's do it YOUR way which is to ignore overpopulation until the mobs drag you out and tear you to pieces. (A lot of people are hoping that we do things YOUR way).

Editor's note: For those who are clueless, the YOUR referred to above is a direct plea to our so-called political and business leaders to lower population in a peaceful, legal, ethical and humane manner. That means the rich and powerful have to make the following sacrifice -- Give up growth economics and accept that overpopulation makes every other problem on Earth worse. No lip service. Really accept it by your actions. Notice how I did not ask them to give up their money or their power? That stuff is irrelevant anyway. Money and power won't replace our home planet or bring people back from the dead who died unnecessarily. Addressing overpopulation is not about getting six billion to die. Read the solutions proposed above! Nobody needs to die. But we do need a lot less births. China's one child policy was a bandage. A one-child policy is something ALL nations should have. But a one-child policy is a milestone on the path to a net average "minus child policy" also known as NPG Negative Population Growth. Some idiots who don't care about the human race won't get it and have more than one child. So other people who care will voluntarily choose to have no children.

Are people who don't have children removing good genes from the gene pool while the overpopulating maniacs are injecting bad genes into the gene pool? Probably yes. But that is the price the human race will pay for letting world population soar past one billion. Is paying.

Elevator Crowding

I still have a sense of humor. And some days I wonder how.

that Arab Spring stuff can't happen in America

Spoke too soon. Some people (the 99%) think it has been happening here. I don't get why the Oakland folks want to shut down the port. Better to go after the cops who beat that veteran. Better yet, the police commissioner who let it happen. Even better, the mayor who hired an evil police commissioner. I thought cops were supposed to protect and serve not jump at the behest of Fox "News" and prevent people from exercising their Constitutional rights to assembly, petition, and free speech.

And cops shouldn't get to cheat by knocking a peaceful demonstrator to the ground while yelling "Stop resisting arrest! Stop resisting arrest!" We are wise to that trick and we have camera phones to catch you in the act and broadcast it all over the internet.

Some people learned from the Sixties. Those who didn't elected Nixon.

Editor's note: I personally see no point in protests and demonstrations. It is first cousin to mobs breaking windows and burning cars to "celebrate" their city winning the World Series or the Super Bowl. Yes, yes, I know the Occupy Wall Street people are insistent upon peaceful assembly but this sort of thing is only good for an adrenaline rush and feeling like you have a voice in this country. (you don't) Better activism is hiring lawyers and going after the deep pockets and electing progressives. NOT Republicans or Democrats. This means the OWS has to evolve into a political party. Perhaps the Coffee Party. But I try to keep politics out of my Squidoo lenses. I take my politics over to Hub Pages.but they (Hub moderator) have blocked me from quoting Coffee Party people and positions verbatim. I don't like to misrepresent people. I am not a Coffee Party member but I sure respect them.

crowded prison - this one was Polinter

Prison Overcrowding

Why am I showing prison photos? Because we live in a police state created by the Patriot Act. Wasting the taxpayers' money going overseas to infuriate terrorists so that they will follow us home when we withdraw our troops. Follow is home? Yes, refugees because as soon as our troops leave the government collapses and the boat people start coming over (not just from China, Vietnam, Haiti, and Cuba) seeking political asylum and economic opportunities when the USA is already in the middle of the Second Great Depression and can't take care of the people born here. This added to illegals taking our jobs.

And sneaking in with the refugees and illegals are terrorists. Not all can be crammed into Guantanamo. Or the black prisons. Some have to settle for county jails, state prisons and federal pens.

Problems caused (or aggravated) by overpopulation

1. wars

2. crime

3. pollution

4. global warming

5. epidemics

6. famines

7. dwindling supplies of fresh water

8. less land per person

9. poverty

Photo: as glaciers melt, flood victims eaten by great white sharks.

Editor's note: Please forgive the humor. And for the record, I like all big whales EXCEPT Orcas (killer whales) because they eat cute penguins, seals (they look and sound like dogs) and sometimes people.

Largest Average Family Size

by ethnicity -- (selected cities data for year: 2000)

Atlanta, Hispanic 4.1 (2000 data)

Bakersfield, California, Hispanic 4.1

Charlotte, Hispanic 4.0

Chicago, Hispanic 4.0

Fresno, Non-Hispanic Asian 4.1

Los Angeles--Long Beach, Hispanic, 4.1

Nassau--Suffolk, NY, Hispanic 4.2

Orange County, California, Hispanic 4.6

Raleigh--Durham--Chapel Hill, Hispanic 4.0

Riverside--San Bernardino, California, Hispanic 4.1

San Jose, Hispanic 4.2

Stockton--Lodi, California, Non-Hispanic Asian 3.9

Ventura, California Hispanic 4.4

My goal is to eventually present data on the largest average family size by national origin, political party, education, religion and et cetera.

Orange County is known for its affluence and political conservatism according to a 2005 academic study. Orange County was at the time the largest US county to have gone bankrupt.

Lack of education does not necessarily correlate with large family size. There are UIS population groups with a fair amount of education who nonetheless tend to have large families -- but worldwide, less education and less income does seem to mean large families. When the factor of religion is introduced, Latter Day Saints (aka Mormons) pop up in the data.

Interestingly, what people want as opposed to what they get is often allowed to confuse the issue. Often people want more children than they get. As F. Scott Fitzgerald might say: "The rich get richer and the poor get . . children. Ain't we got fun."

Education and Family Size

What you have, what you want, and what you get may be three different things if you are not master of your domain (to borrow a line from Seinfeld).

World War Three - (the one before World War Four)

.. . . which, in turn, is the war before World War Five . . . .

Air Pollution, Water Pollution, Soil Pollution, Noise Pollution, and Thermal Pollution

You see litter everywhere and you know there is dumping going on even if you don't hang out around smokestacks and effluent drains and sewers and midnight dumpers.

You hear noise even in national parks and national forests because there is always a jet overhead or chainsaws or vehicles without mufflers.

You smell the poison in the air -- unless you have gotten used to it and don't smell it any more. You'd have to spend a few months in a purified oxygen room or the Antarctica to detox before you could come back and notice the smell that you are used to -- unless cancer of the nose has taken away your sense of smell.

You taste water unfit to drink.

You even can touch pollution more directly if you work in certain occupations like Hazmat or Wastewater Treatment or Environmental Cleanup. But everyone feels dust in their homes. That dust in your home is not just dead skin from you. It is also air pollution particles settling.

And thermal pollution and greenhouse gases are causing climate change.


Loss of Farmland Means Famine Is on the Way

So should you have more children? - Knowing that you're bringing them into a doomed world?

Unless you are a sadist who hates little children, the answer is no. Fix up the world first. And then you can decide if you still want to have children.

But it could be a while. The world population is above seven billion. That's six billion too many for a planet built for one billion maximum. Those people who say that there's lots of empty land are both too stupid to understand that this land belongs to our grandchildren and that oxygen does not come by magic. Nature has to make it. Such people say the Earth can support trillions. Such people want us to live like roaches.

We are not roaches and our value as human individuals does not increase with numbers. It decreases.

So should you have more children? Knowing that you're bringing them into a doomed world? If you answer yes, then you have sentenced your children to respiratory problems and strange genetic diseases caused by a civilization that is breeding people and problems faster than it can solve the old problems.

Doomed World

Does any one really believe that I will motivate any one to positive action? I am not sanguine about our prospects based on human history but perhaps I will touch one person who can make a difference.

Meanwhile, here is more cold water in the face to wake you up.








The Population Bomb - by Paul Ehrlich

Think about the world that your grandchildren's grandchildren will live in.

Editor's Note

If you have seen my other lenses, then you know that half of them concern space. The first thing an activist thinks or says when you mention space is: "We have problems enough on Earth. Therefore, we should not waste money on space."

Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. once told Nichelle Nichols that her role (albeit confined to "Hailing frequencies open.") was important because she was the first woman of color to be seen regularly on a science fiction series about space. If he had that perspective and knew that he was going to be assassinated, then perhaps you should keep an open mind to space as a solution. True, it will not lower population but it will ease some of the stress on our home world's ecosystem.

Below is another perspective from, of all things, a conservative Republican.

It's really simple

1. voluntary programs like Family Planning. [Of course rich people are going to have less children anyway, that's how they get rich. Duh.]

2. education -- particularly of young girls. They discover that they don't have to be baby factories.

3. if some males are knuckle-dragging Neanderthals who regard any contraception or birth control on their part as impugning their manhood, then apparently Nature herself is taking care of that. See scientific articles about the male of the species going extinct. It doesn't have to be this way if males will just stop wanting so many children.

4. a vigorous manned space program of terraforming other worlds will ease the crowding on Earth

5. coming down hard on economists and developers and businessmen who think "growth" is a good thing. Overpopulation is a bad thing. We need new economic models and better business models. We already have some of it. It's called sustainability.

Isn't this better than letting the Doctor Kevorkians of the world kill our old?

Isn't this better than letting disease and disaster kill innocent people?

Isn't this better than letting the Hitlers and the Pol Pots kill millions?

Isn't this better than letting wackos kill innocent first graders?

Education and Health

Studies have proven that education and health reduce overpopulation over time.

Therefore if you are wealthy, here is how you can help:

1. Donate money to foundations and organizations that improve the educational and health levels of people in the USA and other nations.

2. Donate time to foundations and organizations that improve the educational and health levels of people in the USA and other nations.

3. Convince political fat cats who are anti-education and anti-health care that they are a blight on the human race -- a cancer of sorts -- and that they should adopt your position. There was a time when rich people could be called aristocrats in the sense of noblesse oblige. The word aristocracy literally means the best. They understood that because they were born with more in life that more was expected of them. They had a responsibility to those born with less. No longer. In the USA, trash has gotten Big Money and is determined to ransack the world and use it up like a swarm of locusts. Where do they think they are going next? It is people like me who are talking about terraforming other worlds -- not them -- and this has not started yet. That means we need to take care of Mother Earth. That means you rich people who are reading these words need to fight the fat cats who are bankrolling the anti-education Republican Party and the anti-health care Tea Party and the Democrats who are going along with this naked attempt to kill the human race through overpopulation.

4. Either disinvest in companies that are bankrolling overpopulation or oust the CEO and his cronies by organizing your fellow stockholders.

5. Since idiots insist upon politicizing science and pretending that there are two sides and that science is a debate club rather than a method and since logic cannot sway these idiots, move this whole fight to save the human race from overpopulation and low quality of life to the realm of ethics. What is best for our grandchildren? A world where trillions of us live like roaches? Or a planet topped out at one billion with the other six billion freely choosing to move to those terraformed worlds I talked about above. If you hear some "leader" talk about war or final solutions or ethnic cleansing or biological weapons or other schemes to kill people; then you will know who are the villains of this badly written movie called world politics. There is no need to kill anyone. Voluntary programs will work given the chance -- except that some (GOP) don't want voluntary programs. They want the nightmare scenarios. They want to end contraceptives and birth control. They claim to love children. They hate children. Why else are they against education and health? Why else do they ignore child poverty? How about less concern for mythical unborns and more concern for the newborns who are crying? How about less concern for protoplasm that has no brain activity (like the anti-abortionists themselves) and more concern for the children who are already here and in dilapidated schools and in appalling health conditions? How about cuss out a few of these self-righteous "pro-Lifers" and tell them how much they hate God and how much they hate their fellow human beings? I am a Christian Fundamentalist myself and so I know how they think and I know the flaws in their thinking.

[By the way, I am not pro-abortion. I just do not get excited over embryos before the third trimester. I do think that once brain activity begins -- the legal definition of the beginning of life -- that one should let it be born and be put up for adoption. The ultimate goal of "pro-Lifers" is to declare sperm and unfertilized eggs to be persons. Which of course makes nocturnal emissions by males and periods by females to be acts of murder. Insane. While it is commendable that "pro-Lifers" sanctify life, they show zero concern for those of us already here. And this is why I have no respect for them.]

6. Refrain from punching these idiots in the mouth no matter how much they deserve it. Don't give them an assault and battery charge that they can use against you. Don't descend to their level of violence. But do get angry. Get mad as hell. And organize your fellow rich people to do something ethical about the overpopulation problem. We members of the working class and middle class who are already in the NPG (negative population growth) movement are already doing our best. So we need help from our brothers and sisters who are rich. Please help us out. Don't let the dinosaurs of growth economics win. If they win, we all die. Rich and poor and middle class.

7. Switch to sustainability economics.

8. Join NPG dot org.

Thank you!

Enterprise - and poor entrepreneurs

Banker to the Poor: The Story of the Grameen Bank

Editor's Note -- What does helping poor people out of poverty have to do with overpopulation? Everything. If they have money, then they have choices. They can afford contraceptives and birth control and family planning. They don't have to have twenty or thirty children in the hopes that a few of them survive infant mortality and childhood diseases and live long enough to take care of them in their old age. Girls (and boys) can go to school and get a decent education instead of having to work the fields or work in a child labor sweat shop -- or even work in mines to help support so many mouths to feed. They send themselves or their children to college. They can start small businesses and earn their way out of poverty. Nations can be stable when they don't have lots of teens and young adults with no jobs and who then drift into terrorist groups because there is nothing else to do. What does helping poor people out of poverty have to do with overpopulation? It means they do not have to have babies that they cannot feed, cannot afford doctors for, cannot send to school and cannot provide jobs for -- or even a place in society.

Entrepreneurship, whether small businesses started by the poorest or with the aid of nano-lenders like Grameen or crowd funding nano-investors, can reduce overpopulation also.

If you are not rich, here is how you can help:

1. Join NPG dot org. Negative population growth means a net decrease in population. That's a good thing. It is better than nuclear war or being poisoned to death by pollution.

2. Make the word "childless" a compliment rather than a criticism. Remind preachers, politicians, and people in real estate that there are single people and non-parents in the world too.

3. Some people have decided that they will use the term "child free".

4. If you can afford a sterilization, then getting pregnant or getting someone pregnant will be one less thing to worry about (you still need to prevent being infected by STD's though).

5. Adopt instead of having biological children. The world is full of orphans. Most of them will not be adopted because they have congenital problems or are becoming teens who will age out of the system. They are the wreckage of thoughtless people who have lots of children but no concern for their future or the world's future.

6. Go back to school or take adult education classes evenings.

7. Get a better job or start a business or start a professional practice.

8. Exercise and stop eating junk. Take an interest in life extension.

9. Stop beating yourself down. You may not become a billionaire and your IQ may not suddenly jump up 50 points but you _WILL_ prosper, you _WILL_ become smarter, and you _WILL_ be healthier.

Is your solution something immoral?

For instance, like starting a war to kill a lot of people for no reason other than to amuse the politician, general, war lord, general or crazy dictator who started it?

Or for instance, death camps. The final solution of monsters like Adolf Hitler,, Idi Amin and Joseph Stalin.

Or for instance, killing off the intellectuals who could help you solve the problems. This was the approach of Mao Zedong and Pol Pot.

Or is it an unworkable idea like encouraging sterile people and those using contraceptives to not have children? Meanwhile "Octomom" and religious groups (for example Catholics, Baptists and Mormons) have dozens of children per family at a time when many orphans can't get adopted.

The human race is turning itself from rabbits into roaches with the explosive breeding habits that comparison implies. One individual is valuable. A billion is a statistic. To recover the worth of you, the individual, you need to wise up. No group of people will ever read this. Only individuals reading this one at a time can make the mental changes to save the human race.

Read up on a term: "behavioral sink." That is where the world is headed.

Census - What is your solution to overpopulation?

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    • Toni-Roman profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago

      @Inkhand: How much destruction before it all comes to an end? Well that depends on whether the end comes suddenly or gradually or both.

      Toxic waste is building up in the tissues of species at the top of the food chain so the gradual part is happening as we speak. You have probably seen nature shows where birds such as eagles (which are at the top of the food chain in a national forest) cannot hatch eggs and reproduce because of the poisons in the environment. Humans will probably never have a problem reproducing. We are like roaches or rats in that respect. Not a pleasant comparison but an accurate one.

      Sudden would be when we reach a tipping point where the physics and chemistry and biology facts just will not allow us to avoid the Grim Reaper any more. One example is the percentage of oxygen in the air. Ask a doctor (preferably a lung specialist) or a biology teacher: "What is the minimum percentage of oxygen in the air humans can tolerate before they faint? Before they drop dead?"

      Americans see pictures of Chinese wearing face masks to deal with soot in the air. Americans see pictures of Japanese wearing surgical mask to avoid giving people their cold. Americans are not as polite as Japanese and simply do not care if they sneeze in someone's face and infect them. {possibly with a biowar germ} I live in America so it is okay if I harshly criticize Americans. I point out this example of handling air to show that many people just do not care about the air they breathe. Soot, germs, lack of oxygen. If we the population of Earth put up with turning our atmosphere into a sewer, then the end may well be lots of people dropping dead because not everyone can afford a portable tank of oxygen.

      I could cite a relevant incident in my own family but that is too personal and I am still dealing with the grief and I am still in mourning over the loss.

    • Toni-Roman profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago

      @RhondaSueDavis: You're right. I expand on this in my lens Guide to Urban Agriculture.

    • Inkhand profile image


      6 years ago

      A very informative lens. The world's population will reach 7 billion in 2012, it's shocking but I wonder just how much destruction can our planet take before all comes to an end.

    • RhondaSueDavis profile image


      7 years ago

      Man learns to manufacture dirt from plants, body waste and other elements. He learns to grow things in small containers and on top or buildings. He learns to grow food and eat in space in self sustainable fashion. Better get started.


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