Fears of Global Population Boom Overblown

Thursday, September 12, 2013

People, mostly youngsters, walk through Takeshita Dori near Harajuku train station in Japan on Sunday April 1 2012. (Shutterstock)

According to a United Nations estimate, the global population is expected to balloon to 10 billion by the year 2100, which has naturally caused people to worry. The U.S. has long feared overpopulation, particularly as Baby Boomers began to come of age in the 1960s.

President Lyndon B. Johnson weighed in on the issue at the time, promising to find a solution.

“I will seek new ways to use our knowledge to help deal with the explosion in world population,” President Johnson said.

And President Richard Nixon campaigned on the issue in 1968, saying, “Our cities are going to be choked with people, they're going to be choked with traffic, they're gonna be choked with crime.”

We heard from Stephen Emmott just this week about his fears of overpopulation and the impact on the future. But not everyone is buying it.

Danny Dorling is the Halford Mackinder Professor of Geography at the University of Oxford and the author of “Population 10 Billion.”

He says these fears are overblown and that we shouldn't be panicking. We should be more worried about the population decline that will set in after we reach 10 billion.


Danny Dorling

Produced by:

Megan Quellhorst


T.J. Raphael

Comments [4]


It's important to remember that if the economy isn't expanding then it's failing. And an expanding economy requires an expanding population. Too bad about the associated problems.

Sep. 14 2013 11:04 PM
Dana Franchitto from S.WEllfleet, MA.

Given our record on this planet of pollution and endangering other species and obscene resource consumption, I would say that a future of ten Billion people is hardly overblown. In fact i wish tehre would be a ten year moratorium on human birth except for certain indigenous cultures who are in dnager of encroachment by "civilization"

Sep. 14 2013 10:34 PM
Robert Torbert from Jacksonville, Florida

Please correct your on-line comment that the global population will be "10 Billion by the end of the century".

If you understand exponential growth calculations, at the current 1.1% global population growth, the doubling time will be only 63.63 years. This means that if things remain 'constant' (no increase, no collapse), the global population of approximately 7 Billion will double to 14 Billion well before the end of this century.

This is, no doubt, the greatest issue for the future, yet no leader (political or religious) is even willing to broach the subject.

Alan Weisman's new book, "COUNTDOWN, OUR LAST, BEST HOPE FOR A FUTURE ON EARTH? (soon to be released), is a thorough study on this ongoing crisis.

Also, Prof. Albert A. Bartlett, from the Univ of Colorado, has been lecturing on the non-sustainable growth of population.

Sep. 12 2013 02:34 PM
Brendan Treacy from Portland, OR

Shout out to Eugene :) I'm an only child from the Emerald City and you can put me down in the 2 child cap category. My optimistic side hopes that as the world becomes more connected and more educated there will be more people who feel this way too and the population will stabilize. Then we can start cleaning up the mess we made in the explosive growth phase.

Sep. 12 2013 12:51 PM

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