Episode 6: Urbanization: Who's Afraid of the Big Bad City?

You claim that birthrates are lower in urban areas than they are in the country. Who says so?

Many studies show that birthrates are lower in urban areas than in rural areas.

This document from the UN shows the urban vs. rural birthrates for a lot of countries (See table 11).

Another study from the DHS (Demographic and Health Surveys) website. They did an extensive fertility study in Malawi in 2000.

This study shows a drastic difference between rural and urban dwelling women. The Total Fertility Rates for rural vs. urban being 6.7 and 4.3 respectively.

The promise of better jobs, prestigious schools, modern healthcare, and high culture calls people to leave the countryside and move to the city.

The urban population is on the rise. (see graph here)

Since 2008, more than half the world’s population has become urbanized. There is a clear rural to urban draw going on globally. Given the connection between population numbers and human improvement (see question 1 above), it makes sense that the urban population percentage is growing. There are more opportunities in the city than in the countryside.

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Crowded cities aren't the problem

Overpopulation has nothing to do with cities feeling 'too crowded'.

There are probably a lot of people out there who make that argument, but it is not one made by serious opposition of high population, but rather one made by the odd city commuter who is pissed off with being jammed in a train once too often.

Serious reasons to question a large human population involve the ways we are affecting the planet. Primarily this is use of resources. This results in a vast extinction of species, and we have already reduced the biodiversity of earth significantly. While it is obviously not fair to say that humans exclusively are causing global warming, it is very obvious that we are contributing to it.

Stop with the strawman arguments.

Where is my T-shirt?

Sorry, but this seems to be the only location I am able to post this on, as I haven't yet found any contact details for this website.
I ordered an Overpopulation is a Myth T-shirt about 3 weeks ago, and it still hasn't arrived. So, where's my merchandise?
I'd really appreciate a quick reply! My email address is: Mealane8@gmail.com.
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Where's the Science?

This link said "See the science behind the episode", yet I see little science applied, unless you count psychology as the science. You have tried reasoning with your argument, but you have failed in the truest science, mathematics. Mathematics can not be faulted in this respect. You provide zero reference to the finite resources the urban and rural people share. The continents are not growing to accommodate the expanding population, yes cities are building higher, but the resources are not sprouting or renewing. I request to make your argument a real one, you provide some mathematics and give a number on how many people you think this earth (which is not ever going to get any bigger in terms of size) can fit and healthily sustain.

The argument is weak

It depends what is considered as "overpopulation"!

However, as you have correctly stated what we CAN be sure of is that population is increasing AND the earth's surface area is more or less NOT increasing or decreasing.

To be sure, the population may very well not expand beyond a certain limit however, I would be sceptical if quality of lifestyle did not decrease significantly.

And finally I agree with you once more. The author of the videos does not acknowledge that while the model will lie the maths will always be accurate.

its not a question of

its not a question of carrying capacity its a question of overpopulation

Mathematics...

is merely the most abstract of sciences. If you believe that abstraction equals truth, i urge you to consider the effects that digital, binary structures of knowledge are having upon your thoughts and your world view. Then i suggest you search for what truth might exist in the grey areas between numbers, in life.

Hey, this video broke!

The audio is playing at about triple speed for some reason. Would you mind fixing it? Thanks.

What about the other species in this world? Humans are not alone

Even if it is better for people to be pushed together never seeing a forest or a beautiful, serene landscape of nature, which I do not for one minute believe, there are also pants and animals whose environment has to be sacrificed, and therefore that have to disappear from the Earth to make room for more of us. There is no evidence that the human population is decreasing. Even if human population GROWTH decreased, or stayed the same, we would still be increasing the population by a billion every twelve years. All that means is that we are increasing our population at a steady rate rather then more and more quickly. I for one do not want my children to grow up in a world of no privacy and concrete.

Why people and not everything else?

The issue we are talking about has to do specifically with people - no other factors are taken into consideration because of how out of wack they can throw the entire equation out of balance.

If we take war into consideration, then there is the possibility that large numbers of people can be killed (massacred really) but wars are hard to predict at times. Some are inevitable and there will always be war somewhere.

If we take resources into account (and how much of each resource we have to go around) then we have to look towards history for the answers. After all, if we ignore the past then we lose out in the future. The past has shown that as the resource demand has grown, the resource availability has grown as well so long as the ability to produce said resource is improved upon. This is not a problem of population but rather infrastructure and the evolution of societies as a whole. For every tree we cut down, we MUST replace that tree (often times with several more) or else we will lose access to paper and other wood based resources very quickly (and now we recycle our wood products... and some companies openly advertise how much of their stuff is second hand... CRAZY). Its the same with food. We need more so we grow more or breed more cattle. We have become so adept at it, that its become multinational, multi-billion dollar industries that require less and less energy to produce because our processes have become so much more efficient. Unfortunately with that efficiency, also comes an ugly side.

That brings us to the last factor that I would like to talk about, and that is the effects of humans as a whole. This really leads me to two things: Global climate change (our effects on the world as a whole) and over-exploitation of natural resources (which has a huge effect on a local level). These two things can throw the population equation so out of wack, its not even funny. As global climate change effects the seasons in which we grow and harvest our food (something we have managed to adapt to in the past), we end up with shortages. The easiest solutions often resolve the food problem but make global climate change worse. Its a problem we constantly shift away from because of myths like over-population. Its something that we can lock on to and ignore everything else - even if what we are focused on isn't really a problem. Then we have over-exploitation of natural resources. This becomes a problem locally because as you run out at home - you have to go abroad to trade for it. If you cant afford to trade for it then you better know how to make it work with what you have.

Over the course of human history, we have run into this kind of problem: making it work with what we have. If we didn't have the ability to pool our resources and our minds to come up with some ingenious solutions to rather dire problems, then we wouldn't have made it - at all. Granted that same ingenuity is also what leads to some of the greatest atrocities known to man.

Should we start killing off the undesirables or controlling how they breed? That's really hard to say. There is some evidence that population control can be beneficial (that is when that population control is subject to choice - not force) but the benefits can also lead to problems down the road. Some economists contribute Roe v. Wade as a solid reason we didn't have the crime explosion that was predicted barely a few decades ago. However, we are running into problems where there are not enough people supporting the steadily increasing retirees in this country. By contrast, China has used government enforced population control which has had incredibly negative consequences - but their economy is improving quickly. In fact, if it were not for several (bad) decisions by their leader Mao when the new PRC was still in its infancy (which killed millions and set them back industrially and culturally at least decades if not more), then its possible that they would have been the economic power house in the world - like they were for centuries before then!

Lets face it, these videos are awesome because they break down a myth and give relevant data to counteract that myth's claims. However, we still are not 100% sure as a whole what our future will be like. Will it be dominated by a space age or will be we consumed by deserts created by global warming? Will we be struck by an asteroid that wipes out all (or at least most) life on earth or will we live in a world with (almost) free energy? The possibilities are endless (and extreme - on both ends) and to say for sure what the future will hold in a few centuries is really just fantasy at the moment and speculation based on what few facts we have today.

I would like to think that these videos help people to get out of their own personal bubble. Many of the comments here also provide links to organizations that are not always trying to deceive or trick people into following an agenda. They help educate us and they help us grow.

Thomas

ru da ellumineti?????!!!111!!!

Is this a straw man?

I would like to begin by saying that I am a huge fan of the Pop 101 series and that I agree with its message about the myth of overpopulation. That being said, this video starts out by claiming that people say, that overpopulation exists because cities are over crowded. To me this feels like a straw man fallacy. Perhaps I have not discussed the topic with enough people (which is entirely possible as I am not the most talkative person, I study engineering) but I have never heard of anyone arguing from this angle before. If there is anything out there that shows contrary I would love to see it, or even if someone has had person experience with this type of argument I would be happy. I am mostly just concerned that the message of the series will not affect as many people because of this.

Thank you for all your work.

A concerned member.

Population Forecasts

On the basis of modelling past population growth I reject utterly the forecasts given in your video where you say that population will turn around and start declining mid 21st Century. Your fallacy is to assume that fertility will stay where it is or will continue to remain low for developed countries. It only requires government policy to assist parents to raise children by paying them to have children, such as in Australia over the last decade, or for religions to become more powerful in secular countries for this to change dramatically.

I predict no such turn around and I predict world population to reach 13.2 billion by the end of the 21st Century. If nothing is done globally to stop population growth and the Earth can sustain such growth I predict world population to grow to between 25 and 33 billion by 2200 AD. It gets worse, much worse, by 2300 world population will be between 49 and 93 billion and by 2400 will reach between 99 and 289 billion. In the worst scenario of 289 billion the population will increase by 7 billion per year over the 25th Century.

Yes humans breed like their evolutionary cousins, rats, and so long as the food is there population will continue to grow. We may not be overpopulated right now at 7 billion but unless steps are taken to limit population the world will be destroyed by overpopulation. My problem is to get some meaningful data on what the Earth can realistically sustain. I certainly don't subscribe to a method that says Australia is already overpopulated, as I am sure with a little ingenuity Australia could sustain a billion people, and this fact would not be lost on some large and powerful overcrowded countries.

I like this bit on confusing

I like this bit on confusing overcrowding with overpopulation. Although I backed my arguments in the past with people when discussing overpopulation, some people have tried to use overcrowding as proof of overpopulation, which blew my mind lol.

over population is a myth

I would like to submit that over the centuries man and nature together have kept population under control even if God is not brought into the equation - science usually doesn't like having God involved. Man and his fallible nature will continue warring, add to many chemicals to our food (that will ultimately do us in), being elitist (someone else is to blame), and/or flat out misinformed/uninformed. While nature will continue to provide weather and natural disasters (hurricans, volcanic eruptions). Note: global warming is part of the cycle - get over it.

With all of this it is a miracle any of us have survived. I submit that the human spirit and ingenuity have always risen to the challenge. We all have free choice - either whine or use the gift of intelligence to sort it out without harming one another. Birth control can be done naturally (safe), chemically (unsafe), or abortion (someone dies).

So what to do - get out of our ivory towers and give a hand up to help all people rise to their full potential in a free and sustainable society. We can't do it for them but we can help in a positive fruitful way. People are a gift not a threat - remember that.

I am not a scientist or liberal elitist so probably many won't agree. Thats fine but I have a level of trust in God and in the goodness of man. I live in the real world and I'm not afraid to sign my name. Have a great day!
JoAnn Windholz
Commerce City, Colorado, USA