EnvironmentSocial Issues

Human Overpopulation – Problems and Causes

Human Overpopulation:


Overpopulation refers to an increase in the number of people that exceeds the actual capacity of the planet. Many factors support the bloom of population, such as reduced mortality rate, advanced healthcare services, etc. On top of everything, the industrial revolution has been accepted as one of the major causes of overpopulation.

Asia is known as the world’s most populated continent of the earth. It carries almost 61% of the global population, and the two countries China & India, are the major contributors. Overpopulation leads to various challenges causing problems for the environment.

The studies have shown that due to overpopulation, the coastal areas are set to experience annual flooding by 2050. Asia continent is at greater risk of flooding due to climate change, low-lying land, and undoubtedly overpopulation. However, overpopulation has been a major issue for the whole world. Let us check out how it affects the environment and what are the main causes of overpopulation.

Causes of Human Overpopulation

Many factors contribute to overpopulation across the world. These are some of the major causes of overpopulation-

Lack of Education

Lack of education and poverty are major causes of human overpopulation. Therefore, the poverty-stricken areas are observed having a dense population. If a country has a limited population, it is quite easy to fulfill the demand. As a result, the country gets a good scope to develop, unlike overpopulated countries.

The UN has predicted that the 48 poorest countries worldwide are majorly contributing to human overpopulation. The UN has estimated that in future, these countries will contribute to almost 1.7 billion population growth by 2050.

Also Read: Why environmental education is important?

Growth in Food Production

The industrial revolution, agricultural revolution, and population growth emerged at the same time. These revolutions have been started with technology advancement to improve our lifestyle.

Advanced technologies and scientific research have modified agricultural activities which result in effective production. More resistant seeds, pesticides, fertilizers, advanced techniques all put together to yield excellent production of year-round crops. This improved productivity is contributing efficiently to feed the population of a country.

Lack of Family Planning

There are a huge number of illiterate people that belong to different developing countries and live below the poverty line. These people have a lack of knowledge about family planning. They prefer to marry their children at an early age. As a result, it increases the chances of conceiving more pregnancies.

These people do not understand the impacts of overpopulation and do not even think about family planning on serious notes.  Hence, this is one of the leading causes of human overpopulation.

Poor Contraceptive Usage

Although contraceptives are widely available in countries, especially in developed countries, still the poor planning of some couples leads to unexpected pregnancies. This is more likely to be observed in underdeveloped regions.

As per a study of WHO (World Health Organization), the figures for contraceptive use decline up to 43% in the countries facing problems like poverty, and poor literacy rates. These conditions lead to a higher birth rate in impoverished countries.

Child Labour

Even though child labour has been an illegal practice, but it is still in use in many countries, especially those countries having few laws for child labour. As per the estimates of UNICEF, almost 150 million children are working as child labour in some countries.

Child labour has been spotted in many countries where the children are used as a source of income by impoverished families. It is a big-time loss of educational opportunities for these children that eventually affect their future.

Advanced Medical Facilities

Technology advancement did not leave the healthcare sector behind. Medical science also made various discoveries with the help of technology development. Advanced healthcare technologies helped us to defeat several diseases with the invention of vaccines. This was the initial stage of overpopulation.

Over the past century, life expectancy has been increased due to advanced medical facilities. Year by year, we won many battles against different diseases. For example- in the early stage of the 20th century, we won against tuberculosis, pneumonia, typhoid, etc.

Poor Rate of Mortality

In recent decades, we have made many improvements in medical science that ultimately have caused a reduced mortality rate. The improved medical technology has almost removed several diseases such as polio, smallpox, measles, etc.

Even though it is a commendable achievement, it has disturbed the cycle of life and death. The mortality rate has been reduced, whereas the birth rate has been increased with this improvement.

From estimations, it is clear that every minute, the net population grows by approximately 150 people. If the birth rate each year equals the death rate of adults, then the population stability can be maintained.

The agricultural discovery in ancient age plays an important role in maintaining nutrition sustainability by our ancestors then and by us now. This is one of the main reasons for disrupting the balance between birth rate and death rate.


Immigration also causes overpopulation, particularly in those countries where the immigration counts exceed emigration counts. Many people wish to move to developed countries like Australia, the UK, the US, Canada, etc. to get the best facilities in terms of medical, education, and employment. Most of them prefer to settle over there, resulting in overpopulation in that particular country.

Unchecked immigration is causing problems to the countries where they move to. A huge number of immigrants lead to a shortage of resources needed for survival.

Availability of Fertility Treatments

Although fertility treatments are not majorly affecting the population growth of the world, still it is related to overpopulation somehow. The availability of fertility treatments has made it possible for more couples to have children.

Well, it is good news for many women who have problems conceiving. Advanced fertility treatments have allowed these women to have babies like other normal women. However, it will be another contributor to overpopulation in the world.

Problems Associated With Human Overpopulation

Overpopulation has many impacts on the environment and natural resources. These are the major impacts of overpopulation-

Scarcity of Water

Although approximately 70% of the earth’s surface is covered with water, roughly only 1% of this water content is fresh and accessible. Overpopulation is continuously creating extreme pressure on the world’s freshwater supplies.

Some studies have estimated that by 2025, the world population will demand almost 70% of freshwater available on earth. It will majorly affect the people living in impoverished areas that already have limited access to freshwater resources.

Increasing Unemployment

Even though starvation is the primary effect of overpopulation, employment may also be affected by a higher rate of population. Overpopulation gives rise to unemployment as there will be fewer jobs available against the number of candidates, especially in overpopulated countries.

People will have the pressure to feed their families and to provide basic necessities. As a result, unemployment may give rise to many offences like theft.

Risk of Extinction of Various Species

Human overpopulation has become a risk for the survival of wildlife. With the increase of overpopulation, the demand for land for various requirements like shelter, agricultural activities, constructions, etc. also increases. Eventually, it affects the natural habitats of wildlife.

The studies have been shown that if it continues like this, then almost 50% of wildlife species will be at higher risk of extinction.

Increasing Living Cost

Increasing living cost is one of the critical problems associated with human overpopulation. The gap between demand and supply will keep on expanding due to the increasing rate of the population across the world. Simultaneously, it is affecting the living cost. The price of essential commodities like food, shelter, medical facilities, etc. is increasing every day. People have to pay more to feed and survive in such a challenging condition caused due to overpopulation.

Excessive Use of Natural Resources

We can link the use of natural resources with the world population. The capacity of the earth is limited to fulfill our needs, like food, water, etc. The supply of necessary aids is becoming very tough year by year with the increasing rate of the world population.

From the past few decades, researchers observed the increased misuse of the natural resources of the earth to fulfil our never-ending needs. The major cause of this exploitation is the overpopulation on the planet. We have ended up causing many environmental issues (like deforestation, pollution, global warming, ozone depletion, etc.) that are very tough to control, almost impossible.

Increase of Intensive Farming Practices

The advanced farming practices to yield more, help to fulfill the food requirement of the world population. However, these intensive farming techniques are not Eco-friendly and are affecting the ecosystem. We need to find Eco-friendly methods like organic farming to protect the environment from the bad effects of intensive farming practices.

A rapid change in the climate of the planet

Climate change is the biggest impact of overpopulation. Overpopulated countries like China and India are forced to develop their industrial capacities. Unfortunately, these countries are contributing big time to an increase in world temperature.

More industrial involvement means more carbon emission, which means more increase in temperature resulting in climate change. Therefore, rapid climate change involves the major problems of human overpopulation.

Environmental Degradation

Environmental degradation is one of the major impacts of overpopulation. Excessive use of fossil fuels like coal, oil, and natural gases has shown serious implications on the environment. There has been a massive change in the environmental conditions after the industrial revolution.

The exponential rise in the number of industries is affecting the environment badly by causing pollution. Further, the increased number of vehicles results in the emission of CO2 in the air, which leads to global warming and climate change.

Conflicts and Warfare

Overpopulation is also a reason for conflicts between countries on different matters.

The developing countries may have disputes on various topics, mainly due to the use of natural resources like water or land. It may create unwanted tension between countries leading to war conditions.

However, warfare may have more destructive impacts on the population of the country. It is always better to find out solutions in a peaceful way to avoid violence.

Various Health Issues

Any kind of changes, whether it is an environmental issue or overpopulation, eventually cause several health problems. Overpopulation, especially in impoverished areas, is more likely to get infections. It happens mainly due to unhygienic conditions, malnutrition, inadequate healthcare services, etc.

The chances of the emergence of new pandemics and epidemics are quite high in these kinds of densely populated areas. The scarcity of resources may also cause famine in these less-developed areas. All this may lead to poor health conditions of the people living in these areas.

Overpopulation is one of the most critical problems humanity is facing today. We call our planet “the Mother Earth” but overpopulation is ruining the treasure of Mother Earth. The earth has to suffer from the adverse effects of overpopulation. Even the future of the planet is at risk due to the tremendous effects of overpopulation.

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