Have we reached the maximum human population carrying capacity?

Jump to Last Post 1-8 of 8 discussions (20 posts)
  1. SHTFer profile image61
    SHTFerposted 5 years ago

    Have we reached the maximum human population carrying capacity?

    If you refer to the picture, this can be observed when viewing population of bacteria growing in a petri dish. If Earth is the petri dish, where do you think humans are on this chart? Is our population about to crash?


  2. Stella Kaye profile image84
    Stella Kayeposted 5 years ago


    From what I've read recently, we exceeded the carrying capacity some time ago but there are many opposing views on the subject. Apparently it's a difficult thing to assess.

    As someone born in the late 1950s, I'm amazed that world population has tripled since I was born and my personal view is that there are just too many of us and we've already damaged the environment too much for it to be sustainable.

    Nothing is infinite and we must also consider that it's not just humans that populate this planet. There has to be habitat for other animals too. I've written an article about overpopulation which you might like to read on HubPages. It's called:  'Are there too many people in the world?'

    1. SHTFer profile image61
      SHTFerposted 5 years agoin reply to this

      Some people think that technology will save us. As we become more advanced, technology will solve all of our problems. However, I disagree with this because I do not think technology will evolve fast enough. What do you think?

    2. Stella Kaye profile image84
      Stella Kayeposted 5 years agoin reply to this

      I don't think technology can save us because however advanced it becomes, the natural world can't keep up with the decimation of habitats and the depletion of natural resources. We're driving over 200 species a day to extinction!

    3. profile image0
      Daniel Gottlobposted 5 years agoin reply to this

      A follow up question to this is if the population is too large, how would you lower it? Essentially, you need 2.1 kids or less per family to maintain & probably 1.5 kids to reduce an overshoot. Also, there is an unknown of future life span.

    4. Stella Kaye profile image84
      Stella Kayeposted 5 years agoin reply to this

      Daniel, lowering population is something every fertile person on the planet needs to address. Programs should be purely voluntary or some government incentive given. I've written an article on here called: 'Are there too many people in the world?'

    5. profile image0
      Daniel Gottlobposted 5 years agoin reply to this

      Stella. I checked out your hub. Thanks for writing! I offered some more questions on it. I think there's a consensus that pop. capacity is worrisome in this thread. What I'm interested is what do you see as the sol. to push for & the ethical boun

  3. Glenis Rix profile image96
    Glenis Rixposted 5 years ago

    I don't know the answer but I suspect that there are too many people on the planet for the limited natural resources to sustain population growth.

    1. SHTFer profile image61
      SHTFerposted 5 years agoin reply to this

      Basically, this will happen to us without a doubt at some point. It's just a matter of when. But does our intelligence help us escape this inevitable doom?

    2. Glenis Rix profile image96
      Glenis Rixposted 5 years agoin reply to this

      Kyle, as long as there are vested interests in carbon fuels, which will run out at some point, and which anyway contribute to planetary warming,profit and the immediate need for jobs trumps (excuse pun) intelligence, apparently.

    3. Stella Kaye profile image84
      Stella Kayeposted 5 years agoin reply to this

      Kyle, our intelligence won't help and it'll happen sooner than you think. See the works of Guy Mcpherson... he says we have less then 10 years before we go extinct. This may seem far fetched but all the facts are there to back up his claims.

  4. profile image0
    Daniel Gottlobposted 5 years ago

    I've seen it shown that we might be at that capacity currently (Yale e360) or at 10 Billion (Oxfam). It is hard to gauge when we'll hit the Malthusian trap & since the Industrial Revolution & probably before, there have been predictions that we are at capacity.

    I think we are probably close to carrying capacity for the current technology being used & there is cause to think about what we are setting the next generations up for.

    On one end, with the increasing volatility of weather it becomes exceeding more difficult to bring food staple crops to maturity & we are quickly expanding to the extents of available arable land. Also, water scarcity is huge issue issue now ranging from groundwater aquifers being depleted way ahead of their recharge rates to surface water being reduced to streams across the globe. Plus, how much of it is becoming unsuitable to drink due to pollution? Lastly, energy plays a key role as well and is tied to the two.

    I don't think you can look at things in a static manner. The items above are extremely troubling if we don't curb population growth or come up with answers to shift the carrying capacity.

    For food, there are various levers to pull from diet changes to things that are less water/land intensive (i.e less meat, less almonds, etc). Plus, what if we could convert non-arable land into arable land or the oceans? There are several efforts currently looking at both. While, industrial fertilizer warrants scrutiny and has unintended consequences, the production of ammonia fertilizers has also enabled some the yields we see now and shifted the carrying capacity. The lack of fertilizer is part of why the U.S. wanted the Virgin Islands from Spain. Read up on the Guano Islands Act in the 1850's as it is pretty interesting.

    For water, there is a lot of work right now in reverse osmosis to pull water from oceans. Saudi Arabia currently uses desalination but it is very energy intensive and there are still some gains to be made on irrigation (aquaponics, etc).

    For energy, I think it is pretty clear how much the market continues to evolve and shift as new and better technologies become available.

    Overall, there are a lot of constraints that get are butting up against and efforts that can help push those constraints. It is hard to gauge what that limit is, which should give us pause. Ultimately, if we can't stay ahead of the  growth; the overshoot is going to devastating in the outfall.

    1. profile image0
      Daniel Gottlobposted 5 years agoin reply to this

      Also, another thing to note too is how arable land will be impacted with rising sea levels. Overall, a lot at play that could tip us in either direction. I also got a few hubs in climate change space.

  5. ptosis profile image71
    ptosisposted 5 years ago


    The petri dish analogy would indicate the Earth is a planned experiment within closed boundaries.  That earth is a petri dish for aliens and that humans are raised for spare parts or food. Perhaps the Rapture is the Round Up. 

    Git along lil' doggies ...

  6. dashingscorpio profile image83
    dashingscorpioposted 5 years ago


    Back in the 1970s people were worried about the "population boom". It's doubtful many people are losing sleep over this issue these days.
    Actually population growth has been slowing down for decades.
    Better birth control methods, women going to college and establishing careers, legalized abortion, and economics have caused couples to have fewer children on average.
    In the U.S. the birthrate has dropped so much that people are worried about maintaining our Social Security system to provide for the "Baby Boomers". Simply put there are not enough younger people to pay into the system to maintain it as it is.
    Granted there are some countries that ARE overpopulated such as China and India but by and large there are millions of acres of land around the world which could accommodate a larger population. However death is always a certainty that will offset some new births.
    Mankind has demonstrated over thousands of years that it is intelligent, creative, resilient and adaptable.
    We're the only species on earth with the capacity to change our environment. We can create light in darkness, communicate with one another around the globe, keep homes cool in blistering hot summers or warm during bitter winters.
    We can fly higher and further than any bird dare dream, we've even been to the moon and back! We're heading to Mars!
    We've created cures and medications for diseases along with organ transplants. We can turn salt water into drinking water.
    I have no doubt mankind will find a way to not only  survive but thrive in the future. Our only limitation is our imagination.

    1. Stella Kaye profile image84
      Stella Kayeposted 5 years agoin reply to this

      As you correctly say, mankind has achieved so much - but at the expense of all other life-forms.Habitats are being destroyed at an alarming rate, so as human-induced climate change takes hold, mankind will go extinct - a victim of its own success.

    2. dashingscorpio profile image83
      dashingscorpioposted 5 years agoin reply to this

      It's possible that new species evolve or mankind will find ways to keep certain animals from becoming extinct. Thankfully mankind wasn't around w/dinosaurs or we'd be blamed for their extinction. Efforts are being made to address climate change

    3. Stella Kaye profile image84
      Stella Kayeposted 5 years agoin reply to this

      Climate change is irrevocable. New species take time to evolve and can't do so if habitat disappears. Existing species can't adapt if the planet gets too hot too fast which it will. We can't stop animals from going extinct when we steal their habitat

  7. profile image0
    Hxprofposted 5 years ago

    We can't possibly know the answer to that question.

  8. gmwilliams profile image84
    gmwilliamsposted 5 years ago


    Yes, the earth has reached its maximum population capacity.  However, in industrialized & post-industrialized, computerized nations, the birth rate has dropped significantly.  In such nations, small families of 1-2 children are the norm.  It isn't unusual for affluent & educated people to have low birth rates because they know the  connection of family size to education & socioeconomic class.  Family size in affluent & educated households are getting even smaller w/the increase of 1-child families.

    However, among the lower classes, one will find the most prolific reproduction.  Poor people have THE MOST children because they either have very little/no access to contraceptive methods, they have been subjected to STRONG religious inculcations against birth control, or they really could care less about birth control-they DO WHAT FEELS GOOD & WHAT THEY WANT.  Poor people are also the LEAST EDUCATED people.  Least educated people have the most children or children they can ill afford.   In poor countries, population capacity is beyond the maximum level which explains the dire poverty of such countries. 

    The remedy is education.  As people become more educated, they become more affluent & thus these components are highly influential in family size reduction that these parents want to provide their children a life beyond the bare rudiments.  Affluent & educated people tend to have small families because they want to provide a high & cultivated standard of living.  Poor & less education tend to have large families &/or children they can't afford because they do not have the cognizance of or access to birth control.  There is the respective culture of the poor who view things as happenstance while the affluent strategize & achieve things.


This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://corp.maven.io/privacy-policy

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)