Posts Tagged ‘World population’

The changing balance of world population

November 27, 2019

Double click to enlarge.

Double click to enlarge

I came across these two maps on the Brilliant Maps web site,  They show the changing balance of world population over the past century.

In 1900, the population of North America exceeded the population of Latin America.  Now it is the reverse.

In 1900, the population of Europe vastly exceeded the population of Africa.  Now Africans are more numerous.

The population of present-day China is only slightly less than the population of the whole world in 1900.

To get a better idea of the absolute increase, you’d need to enlarge the maps, and enlarge the bottom map a little more so that the sizes of the little squares (each one equivalent to 500,000 people) are equal in size.

The population of China has more than tripled since 1900, but the population of the United States has quadrupled and there are five times as many Canadians and Australians.  There are more than 10 times as many Mexicans, Brazilians and Nigerians as in 1900 and more than 20 times as many Ethiopians.

A nation can be populous and weak, like India and China in 1900 and Nigeria and Ethiopia today.  Nevertheless, there is a relationship between population and power in the long run.

Bertrand Russell wrote somewhere that if there is to be world peace, nations must agree to limit their populations as well as their armaments.  He had a good point, but I’m not sure such agreements are feasible.

There seems to be a universal demographic transition.  When modern medicine and agriculture reduce death by disease and famine, the death rate falls and population increases rapidly.  When living standards rise, contraception is available and women are emancipated, the birth rate falls, eventually falling below replacement rate.  Governments don’t seem to be able to affect this very much.

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Most human beings live in Asia

September 19, 2018

Double click to enlarge or click on Our World in Data

Max Roser’s Our World in Data published a population cartogram map of the world that’s a good corrective to a Euro-centric or USA-centric view of the world.

Some highlights:

More people live in Asia than live in the rest of the world put together.

More people live in Africa than live in North and South America, with Australia, New Zealand and the islands of the Pacific thrown in.  But that’s fewer people than live in either India or China.

As many people live in the greater Tokyo metropolitan area (38.3m) as live in all of Canada (37m)

As many people live on the island of Java (145m) as live in all of Russia (144m).

More people live in Ethiopia (107.5m) or the Philippines (106.5m) than live in any European country except Russia.

More people by far live in Nigeria (195.9m) than in any European country including Russia.

More people live in the Indian state of Utter Pradesh (220m) than in any two European countries put together.

More people live in Thailand than live in France.

More people live in Uzbekistan (32.4m) as live in all the Scandinavian countries – Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Finland and Iceland – put together (27m)

More people live in the Palestinian territories (5.1m) than live in Ireland (4.6m)

The USA, with 326.8 million inhabitants, is the largest non-Asian nation.  But the nation that declared independence in 1776 numbered only 2.5 million—fewer than today’s Puerto Rico (3.7m), New Zealand (4.7m), Liberia (3.9m) or Israel (8.5m)

Counting squares on the cartogram, the population of England is more than triple the combined population of the rest of the British Isles put together, including Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland plus the Republic of Ireland.

Max Roser, using United Nations statistics, has data indicating that the world’s birth rates are falling and that at some point around the end of the century, world population will level off.

There’s a question as to whether that level of population will be sustainable, in the light of soil exhaustion, exhaustion of non-renewable resources and the disruptions caused by global climate change.

There’s an even bigger question as to whether that level of population can enjoy the same level of material comfort that I and other middle-class people in North America and Europe enjoy.

The great fear in 1968 when Paul Ehrlich wrote The Population Bomb was mass famine, which he at the time thought was imminent.  But even if that doesn’t happen, a world of greatly unequal populations combined with greatly unequal standards of living will not be a world at peace.

There was a time when we who live in rich countries had the choice of ignoring the more numerous people who lived in poor countries, because they were powerless.  This is no longer true, and will become even less true as time goes on.

LINKS

A Map of the World Where the Sizes of Countries are Determined by Population by Jason Kottke for kottke.org.

The map we need if we want to think about how global living standards are changing by Max Roser for Our World in Data.

World Population Growth by Max Roser and Esteban Ortiz-Espina for Our World in Data.

Future Population Growth by Max Roser for Our World in Data.

NYC has standing-room-only space for the world

April 19, 2016

NYC1

Tim Urban on his Wait But Why web log calculated that the area of New York City is enough to provide standing room for the world’s population.

Click on 7.3 Billion People, One Building for his post.

World on track for zero population growth

May 15, 2015

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asianbirthrate20140110_asc002_l

Much of the world is on track for zero population growth.  Birth rates in many countries are at the replacement rate of 2.1 children per average couple, or lower.

brazila01gra1The change, in my opinion, has come about because (1) knowledge and availability of birth control are widely available, (2) women are emancipated and have control over their bodies and (3) people are raised far enough out of absolute poverty that they think it is better to have a small number of prosperous, well-educated children than to have many children.

I think that, in the long run, Muslims and Hindus will be as willing to practice contraception as Catholics have proved to be.

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Most people live in or near India and China

April 21, 2014

These maps illustrate an important fact that I find hard to get my mind around – the immensity of the populations of China and India.   They aren’t just individual countries in the way the USA, the UK and Russia are countries.    They equal or exceed the populations of individual non-Asian countries.   There are provinces of China and India that are more populous than important European countries

Half the World

Double click to enlarge.

The top map shows that the combined populations of China, India, Japan and a couple of neighboring countries exceed the populations of the whole rest of the world.

The bottom map shows the world divided into equal segments of 1 billion persons each.  They show that the populations of (1) part of China plus Japan and Korea and (2) part of India plus Bangladesh and Burma are equal to the populations of  (3) all of North and South America plus Australia and New Zealand, (4) all of Europe plus western Asia, (5) all of Africa, (6) Southeast Asia including south China and (7) the rest of Asia including western China and northern India.

worldpopulationbillions

Double click to enlarge.

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The seventh billion

December 10, 2010

Rearranging the map

November 30, 2010

If the size of countries matched their populations, the Chinese, the world’s most numerous people, would occupy the territory of Russia, the world’s largest country in area.  The Indians would occupy Canada, the Canadians would occupy Pakistan, the Pakistanis would occupy Australia, and the Australians would live in Spain.  North and South Koreans would relocate to southern Africa, but would still be neighbors.

Here is what the world would look like.

Double click to enlarge

The United States is one of the few countries whose relative size matches its population.  Others are Brazil, Ireland and Yemen.  Click on Rearranged World for details and commentary.

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