Overpopulation: does it lower birth rates?

An author claimed “Birth rates are falling everywhere.” I find that this seems true in wealthier, more educated environments. For a brilliant satirical representation, see the movie “Ideocracy.”

I often wonder if this isn’t just an emergent property of overpopulation, some form of instinctive behaviour, an off-switch built into us. With some 7 billion people on the planet or so, is it possible that it is the simply a reaction to the measure of people in proximity plus the effort required for a life-style that isn’t instinctual that flips the switch? Just as the quest for safe, warm and full is an instinctive drive, is it possible that genetically we don’t have the circuitry to deal with having it en masse? Is this one possible reason for why when one reaches a certain level of wealth, as perceived by our instinctive filters that we stop reproducing? I’ve often wondered if the gay population, world-wide has always been roughly 15% of the population, or if there’s something at the species level that triggers our genes to say “OK, there’s enough of us now…”

Just some thoughts. I’d be curious to know yours.


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3 thoughts on “Overpopulation: does it lower birth rates?

  1. Francis Roy says:

    Well isn’t that a terse response :)

  2. I think that as animals we are hardwired to try for population growth, not necessarily high birth rates. While it was very important for a woman to have 10 or 12 children in the year 850 just to maintain a moderate rate of population growth, the same or higher population growth can be achieved today with the average woman only having 2 or 3 children. While this is 1/4 of the birth rate with MUCH higher infant survival rates and better longevity, it results in similar rate of population growth.

    With nearly 100% infant survival rates if the average woman had 10-12 children the population growth wouldn’t be 0+, it would be more like a 10% growth rate.

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