Demographers have classified the years into three distinct ages of human population growth. It helps explain the history of how the population has changed over time. The three distinct periods include the pre-agricultural period, the agricultural period, and the industrial period.
Pre-agricultural period: This period, which is before 10,000 years ago, is the first distinct period of human population growth. This period was characterized by very low growth of the human population. It is calculated that the human population took around tens of thousands of years to double it. As humans developed advanced tools, the population increased drastically. This was because of the use of advanced skills and traveling to new lands. The migration of people resulted in the spread of people and an increase in population. It is estimated that the population during this period was between five to ten million people.
Agricultural period: During this second period of human population growth, the agricultural techniques got advanced. This period, which existed 10,000 years ago, lead to a rapid rise in the human population. The domestication of animals and plants was started during this period. Moreover, advances in the plowing and irrigation practices increased crop yield. The availability of food made the human population expand faster. Unlike the slow growth during the pre-agricultural period, the population growth was very rapid during this period. At the end of this period, the population had risen to about 500 million people.
Industrial period: This period, from 1000 years ago to the current day, is the third period of the population growth. The major characteristic of this period is the advance in industrial technology. Although the early part of this period had tremendous advances in technology, its influences on humans started way before this period. The urbanization and advances in technology helped transform the unused materials from agriculture into a usable form. Increased food availability increased human population growth. Technology development aided the medical and health sector to grow and helped save millions of peoples from dangerous diseases. It eventually increased the life span of people and the quality of life. The human population growth of this period was very high. The population grew from 500 million to around 7 billion.
Causes of increased human population
The world’s human population has exploded, and this will increase more and more in the near future. The main causes of overpopulation are as follows:
Poverty: The lack of education in children from low-income families and limited knowledge about population growth results in the population bloom through increased birth rate. Studies conducted by the UN point out that poor countries constitute 48% of the global population. They also foresee that these countries will together contribute around 1.7 billion by 2050.
Lack of sexual education: The lack of sexual-education and poor access to contraceptive methods can lead to unexpected pregnancies. The people in underdeveloped countries have only limited exposure to these contraceptive methods, and hence chances of higher birth rates are the result.
Child labor: The poverty prevailing in many underdeveloped and developing countries will lead to child labor and, thereby, education denial at a very young age. The lack of knowledge about birth control at the right age is one of the major factors for the population hike.
Reduced mortality rate: The advanced techniques in the medicinal fields and eradication of various life-threatening diseases such as smallpox and measles improved the life expectancy of people and thereby decreased the mortality rate. To an extent, fertility treatments and illegal immigration of peoples to other countries have also increased the chances for childbirth.
Consequences of increased human population
The major consequences of the increasing human population include environmental problems such as pollution, climate change, and shortage of water and food resources. The quality and standard of living can also drastically decline due to overpopulation. Along with this, poverty, reduced life expectancy, demand for land (shelter), and competition for education and jobs are the other long term effects of human population growth.
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