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The optimum population is a concept where the human population is able to balance maintaining a maximum population size with optimal standards of living for all people.


Overview

Regarding the
human population Humans (''Homo sapiens'') are the most abundant and widespread species In biology, a species is the basic unit of biological classification, classification and a taxonomic rank of an organism, as well as a unit of biodiversity. A speci ...
, end-targets for an optimum population include ecological
sustainability Sustainability is the capacity to endure in a relatively ongoing way across various domains of life. In the 21st century, it refers generally to the capacity for Earth's biosphere and human civilization to co-exist. For many, sustainability is ...

sustainability
,
economic output Output in economics Economics () is the social science that studies how people interact with value; in particular, the Production (economics), production, distribution (economics), distribution, and Consumption (economics), consumption of g ...
, and philosophical or ethical ends-in-themselves. Some commentators disagree with the concept of "optimum population", believing that the human population will always, in the long-term, be able to adapt to the requirements of a larger population. Any conception of an optimum population level must lie between a
minimum viable population Minimum viable population (MVP) is a lower bound Lower may refer to: * Lower (surname) * Lower Township, New Jersey *Lower Receiver (firearms) * Lower Wick Gloucestershire, England See also * Nizhny {{Disambiguation ... on the population of a ...
of the human species and the maximum level of population that can be sustained by the
carrying capacity The carrying capacity of an Natural environment, environment is the maximum population size of a biological species that can be sustained by that specific environment, given the food, habitat, Drinking water, water, and other resources available. T ...
of the planet
Earth Earth is the third planet from the Sun and the only astronomical object known to harbour and support life. 29.2% of Earth's surface is land consisting of continents and islands. The remaining 70.8% is Water distribution on Earth, covered wi ...

Earth
.


Estimations

Various end-targets are often balanced together in estimating the optimum human population, and different emphasis on different end-targets cause variability among estimates. The optimal
world population In demography, demographics, the world population is the total number of humans currently living, and was estimated to have exceeded 7.9 billion people . It took over 2 million years of prehistory, human prehistory and human history, history fo ...

world population
has been estimated by a team co-authored by Paul R. Ehrlich. End-targets in this estimation included: *Decent wealth and resources to everyone *Basic
human rights Human rights are moral A moral (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. ...
to everyone *Preservation of
cultural diversity Cultural diversity is the quality of diverse or different cultures, as opposed to monoculture In agriculture Agriculture is the science, art and practice of cultivating plants and livestock. Agriculture was the key development in the ris ...
*Allowance of intellectual, artistic, and technological creativity *Preservation of
biodiversity Biodiversity is the biological variety and Genetic variability, variability of life, life on Earth. Biodiversity is a measure of variation at the Genetics, genetic, species, and ecosystem level. Terrestrial biodiversity is usually greater near ...

biodiversity
Based on this, the estimation of optimum population in the 1994 study was to around 1.5 billion to 2 billion people. Ehrlich reiterated this estimation in an interview for ''
The Guardian ''The Guardian'' is a British daily newspaper. It was founded in 1821 as ''The Manchester Guardian'', and changed its name in 1959. Along with its sister papers ''The Observer ''The Observer'' is a British newspaper published on Sun ...

The Guardian
'' in 2018. A 2014 study published in the ''
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America ''Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America'' (often abbreviated ''PNAS'' or ''PNAS USA'') is a peer-review Peer review is the evaluation of work by one or more people with similar competencies as the ...
'' concluded that, with a fertility-reduction model of one-child per female by 2100, it would take at least 140 years to reduce the population to 2 billion people by 2153.


See also

*
Environmental impact of agriculture The environmental impact of agriculture Agriculture is the science, art and practice of cultivating plants and livestock. Agriculture was the key development in the rise of sedentary Image:Family watching television 1958.jpg, Exercise tr ...
*
Environmental impact of shipping The environmental impact of shipping includes air pollution Air pollution is the presence of substances in the atmosphere that are harmful to the health of human Humans (''Homo sapiens'') are the most populous and widespread species of ...
*
Habitat destruction Habitat destruction (also termed habitat loss and habitat reduction) is the process by which a natural habitat In ecology Ecology (from el, οἶκος, "house" and el, -λογία, label=none, "study of") is the study of the rela ...
*
Human impact on the environment Human impact on the environment or anthropogenic impact on the environment includes changes to biophysical environments A biophysical environment is a biotic and abiotic surrounding of an organism In biology, an organism (from An ...
*
Human overpopulation Human overpopulation (or human population overshoot) is the concept of a human population becoming too large to be sustainability, sustained by its environment or resources in the long term. The idea is usually discussed in the context of world ...
*
List of largest consumer markets Below is a list of the largest consumer markets of the world, according to data from the World Bank The World Bank is an international financial institution An international financial institution (IFI) is a financial institution that has bee ...
*
List of population concern organizations This is a list of organisations who promote a moderation of the size of the human population. Intergovernmental organizations Worldwide Regional Asia-Oceania * All countries – Asian Forum of Parliamentarians on Population and Development Th ...
*
List of sovereign states and dependent territories by population density This is a list of countries and dependent territories ranked by population density, measured by the number of human Humans (''Homo sapiens'') are the most abundant and widespread species In biology, a species is the basic unit of bio ...
*
Optimum sustainable yield File:Nelder-Mead Simionescu.gif, Nelder-Mead minimum search of Test functions for optimization, Simionescu's function. Simplex vertices are ordered by their values, with 1 having the lowest ( best) value., alt= Mathematical optimization (alter ...
*
Population density Population density (in agriculture Agriculture is the science, art and practice of cultivating plants and livestock. Agriculture was the key development in the rise of sedentary Image:Family watching television 1958.jpg, Exercise tr ...

Population density
*
Population growth Population growth is the increase in the number of people in a population Population typically refers the number of people in a single area whether it be a city or town, region, country, or the world. Governments typically quantify the size ...
*
Quality of life Quality of life (QOL) is defined by the World Health Organization The World Health Organization (WHO) is a specialized agency of the United Nations United Nations Specialized Agencies are autonomous organizations working with the United N ...

Quality of life
*
Sustainability Sustainability is the capacity to endure in a relatively ongoing way across various domains of life. In the 21st century, it refers generally to the capacity for Earth's biosphere and human civilization to co-exist. For many, sustainability is ...

Sustainability
*
Welfare economics Welfare economics is a branch of economics that uses microeconomic Microeconomics is a branch of mainstream economics Mainstream economics is the body of knowledge, theories, and models of economics, as taught by universities worldwide, tha ...


References


External links


About optimum populations

Overshoot index
Population Matters Population Matters, formerly known as the Optimum Population Trust, is a UK-based charity that addresses population size and its effects on environmental sustainability Sustainability is the capacity to endure in a relatively ongoing wa ...
(formally the Optimum Population Trust)
Optimum population, welfare economics, and inequality
Tony Atkinson Sir Anthony Barnes Atkinson (4 September 1944 – 1 January 2017) was a British economist, Centennial Professor at the London School of Economics, and senior research fellow of Nuffield College, Oxford. A student of James Meade, Atkinson vir ...
,
Nuffield College, Oxford Nuffield College () is one of the Colleges of the University of Oxford, constituent colleges of the University of Oxford in England. It is a graduate college and specialises in the social sciences, particularly economics, politics and sociology ...

Nuffield College, Oxford

Optimum population?
(BBC) {{Population country lists Population