Stunning World Population Growth, Critical Systems, And Human Risks

graph source: Dr. William Stanton

During the last 100 years, the world’s population has grown exponentially to staggering heights from what was once a population a mere tiny fraction of today – which held for thousands and thousands of years along with a mild amount of population growth.

Since the years following the industrial revolution, and especially since the 1920’s, the world population has skyrocketed to more than 7.2 billion people.

At what point will any of the associated risks repercussion into catastrophe?


This graph of the human population growth timeline should send chills up and down your spine, especially if you’re of a preparedness mindset.

While the world’s industries have risen to the task of supporting the lives of so many billions of people, the thing is, there are many enormous risks that go along with the systems and resources that are sustaining this “bubble” of humans.

When as a critical thinker, you look at the bigger picture, it becomes alarming.


Population Explosion

The world’s population has exploded since the Industrial Revolution which began in the 1800’s and really picked up speed beyond the 1920’s. The underlying reasons for this expansion in population are many.

My instinct tells me that some of the major reasons include:

The ‘discovery’ of oil which has fueled the entire growth curve of every aspect of industry, development, and expansion.

The ‘discovery’ of electricity and it’s integration into every aspect of our lives, enabling countless other systems.

The medical industry and it’s incredible and many advancements in all things health related (especially antibiotics).

The advent and enormity of big agriculture and the ability to efficiently grow and distribute such large amounts of food.

The advancement of transportation systems which move goods and supplies from production to where the people are.

The remarkable infrastructure of sewage waste and fresh drinking water to most every home in the modern world.

Obviously there are many, many more reasons, while most of them are taken for granted and not apparent at all (as potential risks) to most people.


World Dependence Upon Critical Systems

The majority of the world’s 7.2 billion human population are literally 100% dependent upon other ‘systems’ to stay alive – and they don’t even realize it.

Although in recent years there has been a slowing of human population growth, you might say “the damage is already done” while analyzing the numerous and critical dependencies which sustain those who are already alive.

One wonders at what point will the straw break. There’s little doubt among many people – that we’ve already begun the decline in our living standards (despite the rosy picture that our government’s media outlets have been propagandizing).

It only stands to reason that as population increases and more people live closer together,

-energy resources are in higher demand

-distribution systems are increasingly strained

-dependent attitudes and philosophies further strain the producers

-overall tensions increase as personal space and freedoms shrink

-the odds increase that more ‘things’ could go wrong

-can you say, “pandemic”?

-infrastructures decay

-nations war for resources and power


Population densities are massive in many areas throughout the world. The inter-dependencies in these areas are astounding when you think about it. There are staggering numbers of lives at risk should major systems (or even one critical system) fail.

Civilized civilization is only 3 meals away from social chaos.

How about this one…
‘The plague’, the most devastating pandemic in human history, killed an estimated 75 million people in the years 1348–50 when the entire world’s population was ‘only’ approximately 500 million. In today’s world, if such a pandemic were to occur unabated – it would be mind numbing to realize the deaths which would result.

Billions of people suffer from normalcy bias. The results of which could become deadly. They do not see the risks (and therefore do nothing to mitigate them or prepare for them) because their world has always been okay – so therefore it always will be (okay).

We might live out the rest of our lives not ever experiencing a major societal collapse. But on the other hand, many feel that it is inevitable – that we are on the cusp of such an event – as the snowflakes have been piling up and are waiting for a trigger to set off the avalanche.

Are you prepared?

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  1. I’ve read some estimates that put the possible “die off” as high as 90%, depending on the type of catastrophe.

  2. Civilized civilization is only 3 meals away from social chaos, I say one meal,about 8 out of 10 people I know don’t know what a brown bag lunch is, always going to get fast food or deciding where/what to get for dinner, and then wonder why they never have any extra cash.

    With that I would also think most wouldn’t know how to cook…anything without that microwave!

  3. I agree Magnus. I know people that shop for their nightly dinner every day. A sudden disaster and they would go hungry starting that first day. I just don’t understand why with the high price of gas people would go to the store every single day. A little fore thought and you can plan your meals for the week if not longer.

    1. My sisters daughter in law is a single mother in her 40’s. She has two kids. The mother has never cooked. The kids are around 5 – 7 years old. The only home cooked meals they ever have is when they go visiting relatives or friends.

      Sad isn’t it.

      The same person insists on driving a large fuel guzzling S.U.V. instead of a practical fuel efficient small sedan.

      1. Ha, Sounds like MY sister in law..LOL The running joke is everyday that she’s not working we bet on whose house she shows up at for a free meal for her two kids—AGES 5 and 7…. strange.

      2. At least she stopped at two–usually that is the plan until they get a divorce, marry again, and start over.
        I commented on a site about a lady bragging she needed the freezer meals since she was due soon with number 9–oh, yes she did!!!- and the comment was NOT posted.

        Rabbits?? And idiots that don’t get it–your 9 will have 4 or 5 that will use my resources since I have no children.
        That’s 45 added to the population by ONE woman!!!
        45 homes that each consume 1 acre of arable land.

        Yes, I get nasty when you use my resources!!!

  4. We are living in times that could very well be called significant. However should an event occur there are those individuals, lets say ‘the few’ that will through their preparedness continue humankind.

  5. I recall reading some time ago about what happens in feed lots when the cows are too close together and one of them gets sick. With human population, it will take only one highly mobile virus to wipe out 75% of us. If it is a virus that takes a few days to incubate before showing symptoms, we are even more screwed because the world is so completely interconnected.

    I just hope that when it happens, all of the people who operate the nuke plants around the globe are well protected. If they are not, and the plants cannot be shut down, the virus becomes an irrelevant side-show.

    1. If every nuke plant melted down tomorrow it would not kill 75% of the population. Maybe 5 – 10 % would be affected, but not necessarily die. Sorry, your estimates are waaaaay off.

      1. I’m going to go ahead and very respectfully, but completely disagree here.

        Based upon what we have seen with past melt-downs in Chernobyl and Fukushima, the evidence is pretty clear that in a grid-down scenario with no hope for recovering “normal” electric service, these plants will explode and “burn” uncontrollably like Chernobyl did, spewing radioactive poison for weeks and months on end.

        5 to 10 percent? that’s waaaay too optimistic my friend. If every single reactor melted down then we would experience a life ending, planet-wide extinction event. It might take a couple of years, but eventually all mammals will die and probably every other animal as well.

        1. Chernobyl was an unprecendented disaster, just about the worst thing that could ever happen to a nuclear reactor. And yet very few died. In fact almost all of those few who died committed suicide or were murdered depending on your prespective of the events. They were volunteered to either fight the fire or enter the deadly rector and try to mitigate the damage so the reactor could be sealed off. Most of these people died. Almost no one else died. Some people lived in the area around the reactor for years with no effects. More people in America have been killed in car collisions with drunken nuns then from nuclear reactors. More people have been killed by those “green” windmills then by nuclear power. Even PV (photo voltiac) power has killed more people then nuclear power. Elevators have killed a hundred times more people then nuclear power. In the awesome enormous list of deadly man made devices that have killed people nuclear power deaths have been so insignificant as to not even make the list coming in far below flat feet and girdles. You have a better chance of being killed by a frozen Thanksgiving turkey dropped from a helicopter then being killed by a nuclear power plant. But I do admit it is so much more fun to scare people over nuclear power then it is to scare them over frozn turkeys.

          1. GoneWithTheWind, Provide the factual evidence to back up your claim of near zero deaths at Chernobyl. To lay such an idiotic claim as you have PROVES that you do not understand immediate or long-term effects of radiation. What about the cancer rate and fatal cancers that are attributed to radiation exposure, mutation, and cancer-causing disease? Organizations have challenged the IAEA reports saying that there have been over 1 million cancer incidents and almost 100,000 fatal cancers.

            So please — provide some facts to back up your claim of zero deaths related to Chernobyl.

            Russian propaganda is not data. And even the WHO report on Chernobyl deaths has been a gross underestimate. Here are some excerpts from one report to mull over:

            “The U.N.’s World Health Organization (WHO) estimates, for example, that so far only about 50 people have died as a direct result of Chernobyl, and a few hundred cases of cancer–mostly thyroid–likely will lead to additional deaths.

            But the WHO’s estimates are so much lower than every other estimate that it is difficult to take them seriously. It appears that the WHO has only accepted deaths which can provably be laid to Chernobyl radiation.”

            “On the high end, a Ukrainian victims group claims 150,000 already dead, the Ukrainian Ministry of Public Health in April 1995 said 125,000 already dead…”

            “Other estimates range from several thousand, mostly “liquidators” who have died, to an estimate by Greenpeace Ukraine of 32,000 now dead. Greenpeace derived their figure by examining death rates from illnesses before and after the accident. Their research was solid enough that Yuri Shcherbak, the Ukraine Ambassador to the United States, accepts that estimate in the April 1996 issue of Scientific American.”

            “The economic cost to Belarus, Ukraine and Russia has been even greater–more on that in a moment. But often overlooked as a Chernobyl consequence is the effect diversion of huge portions of these countries’ budgets has had on public health and mortality. Ukraine, for example, has been spending 5-7% of its annual budget on Chernobyl-related activities; Belarus has been spending 20% and more. Had that funding been available instead for public health and welfare improvements, it is unquestionable that both countries would be much better off, and very likely that the mortality rates would be far lower.

            Economically, the consequences have been staggering. Even conservative estimates, counting direct costs, interdicted land, health costs, and related losses, are at $300 Billion and more.”

            Makes your “frozen turkey” analogy look utterly ridiculous, doesn’t it?

          2. There are people and groups who benefit from the cancer scare and the nuclear scare. They will use phony statistics to prop up their propaganda. The first make an assumption; lets say that for each discreet measure of radiation released there will be .01% increase in cancer. Then multiply that by the total release of radiation to come up with a figure like 1 million cancer incidents or 100,000 deaths. ZERO proof simply phony statistics. They do this all the time. Assumption: Eating meat causes a .1% increase in colon cancer. The U.S. has 320 million people and 95% eat meat so we have 320,000 colon cancers a year. See how that works?! Never mind that for genetic reasons cancers occur all over the world. Some races have higher genetic propensities for cancer then others just as some races have higher genetic propensities for diabetes. But if you have a bias and want to use the ignorance of most people and the subterfuge of statistics you can make people believe almost anything. Some people still believe that sugar causes diabetes or that eating meat causes cancer or being a vegetarian will make you live 20 years longer, etc. The simple fact is that “IF” you get a massive dose of radiation in a short period of time you will die, usually within a matter of days. AND a large but not massive dose of radiation can cause specific types of cancer (and other health problems) over time. No argument! But 20 years after Chernobyl blew it’s top there were Russian peasants living downwind in the shadow of the glowing hulk who were healthy and had no cancer. Most of the deaths were to the firemen who entered the burning plant and were exposed to massive radiation and shortly after that to a thousand or so military people who entered the plant to put sand, boric acid and lead on top of the glowing mass of radioactive core to slow and counteract the fission. Some of these people were ignorant of the risk they took and therefore they were murdered. Others understood the risk at some level and therefore they choose to commit suicide. But none of them died from cancer!!! Were there some people other then the emergency crew who did in fact acquire enough of a radiation dose to later develop cancer. Yes, but very few and certainly not a million or 100,000.

            One of the things we learned from the two nuclear explosions in Japan in WW II was that most deaths from the bomb happened immediately either from physical trauma, intense heat or massive radiation. Most of the long term injury to survivors was from the intense heat of the bomb and not the radiation. Scientists predicted massive cancer rates from these two bombs and were surprised and perplexed by the lack of cancers. In fact most of the survivors lived long and prosperous lives in spite of the nuclear bomb. Yet for years and still today, the fear mongers would have you believe that all the survivors of those two nuclear bombs died horrible deaths from cancer. They twist the stats, make up lies and put out propaganda for the weak minded who have already been brainwashed to believe anything. And sure enough the weak minded buy into it. All I can say is watch out for falling frozen turkeys.

  6. My guess is this- If 90% of the population were to die off then 75% of that 90% would be the social parasites, slugs and slobs that have been too lazy,stupid or mesmerized with the “Bachelorette” to realize something is up. I am OK with those people experiencing a massive die off. Unfortunatley some good people will be caught up in that 90% – either because of health issues they can no longer get help with or meds for, or because they are battling the social parasites for a last batch of resources- Those are the ones I mourn and fight for…..

    1. ^^^ This. I acknowledge all the likely possibilities, but all you can do is prepare for the worst and hope for the best. It’s in God’s hands.

  7. About 400 years ago near the beginning of the industrial age, the population was 3/4 of a billion. That is all the earth could support before we figured out how to exploit stored energy deposits (coal, oil, natural gas, and uranium).

    Being the practical creatures we are, we went for the cheapest, easiest to acquire deposits first, and left the rest for later, only later is now; this is the low hanging fruit principle. And any rate of growth produces a doubling of what is growing; this is what compounding does. If the growth rate is 3% whatever is growing doubles every 23.3 year.

    We must spend some energy to acquire more energy, and this cost is growing at a compound rate. For example, in 1930 it took the energy in 1 barrel of oil to get back 100. Today it takes the energy in 11 barrels to get back 100. This is a 3% compound rate of growth, with the cost doubling every 23.3 years. It should be obvious that we can’t use up the energy in 100 barrels of oil to bet back 100, but the growth in cost is taking us precisely to that frightful end, and we will arrive there sometime after mid century. Of course long before we arrive the economy will be in a shambles because we don’t have any substitute source of energy with a return like oil. All sources of energy have their own compound cost curve, all taking us to the same frightful end. You can’t support 7 billion people without the fuel to keep the economy running. We won’t run out of energy; it will simply soon enough use up too much energy to make it practical to get.

    It is the compound growth in the cost of acquiring energy that is the root cause of the current economic stagnation. We simply can’t find enough additional energy fast enough to make up for the energy lost in the increasing cost to acquire it. The entire financial structure is based on economic growth; debt is a pledge to pay with interest that growth to those who hold the debt, but we won’t have economic growth; we will have the opposite, economic contraction as far as the eye can see.

    So we might blame the faulty, fraudulent debt based monetary system, and that will be the proximate cause of collapse, but the underlying cause is growing cost to acquire energy. The financial collapse will intensify the economic collapse. No government will withstand the social collapse, and most will be swept away; centralized government is too complex and costly to sustain in an energy constrained future. This energy problem is the root of what we are witnessing in the Middle East in the “Arab Spring”. It will come to us soon enough too, as we first (like right now) can no longer as a society afford luxuries, higher education, and advanced medical care, and later won’t be able to afford food and shelter. The population must match the ability of the earth to provide for us, and we are far beyond that point.

    All compound growth curves are unsustainable and end in collapse; no exceptions. The population graph shown in this thread is a compound growth curve; the cost to acquire energy is a compound growth curve; the growth of debt is a compound growth curve; and industrial output is a compound growth curve. Math explains the future to those of us who have the courage to look and to prepare to survive.

  8. Bacteria in a petri dish, deer in a forest or humans on Earth, populations can’t continue to rise without an inevitable crash from depleted resources. We ignore the basic laws of nature.
    In about 50 years approximately 80% of global population will reside in cities and be dependent upon goods being delivered. Probably that lab created synthetic beef, yum.

  9. Historically, half of the world’s population is killed every 500 years. Plagues, wars, famines, etc. have always taken care of the overpopulation worry. In year 2000, some scientists thought Aids might be the killer and the timing was right. That doesn’t seem to be the case. Maybe Fukushima? Maybe a major volcanic eruption? Civil wars are coming due in China and the US? Maybe some sort of combination like the “Dark Ages”?

  10. Exponential population growth is a myth. See the book Fewer, the Demographics of Depopulation by Ben Wattenberg.

    Demographers agree that most of the 1st world is below replacement rate, including the United States. Europe, Russia, and Southeast Asia are among the lowest, and recognize the problem and are attempting to deal with it, but once a country is below replacement rate, it is very difficult for it to recover.

    China and India with their huge populations have an even more insidious problem due to cultural infanticide of females. This leaves a huge population of men with no potential mate, which further exacerbates the replacement rate problems in those countries (a man with no mate = a -1 person each generation).

    In fact, this blog should one day focus on the effects of depopulation on an economy, and more particularly a nation’s ability to defend itself. The consequences just as scary as any other sort of disaster, they just happen much more slowly until critical mass and then everything collapses or a country is invaded and unable to defend itself.

  11. I’ve looked it up. There’s no arguing with the facts. The chart is accurate, and scary. We have filled this world with humans in a very short time.

  12. Every person in the world can stand inside the city limits of St. Petersburg Florida, the rest of the world would be empty except for the animals.

  13. Yes the world’s population is much larger than it has ever been in recorded history but…did you know if stood everyone in the world shoulder to shoulder they would only occupy half the size of the county I live in…or, if you gave each of them 1,500 square feet they would take up only half of Texas. My take on it (for what it’s worth) is that God has provided all we need for the people we have. The real problem is that too many people live in large cities and too many people are controlled by evil leaders. I have travelled all over the world in the military and everytime I look out the window I see open space and no people until coming in for a landing.

    1. I don’t agree. Folks recite the meme we have room.
      Well, yeah, if we don’t want to grow food for those 6 billion–there’s lots of room.

  14. Malaria
    The strain that is resistant to all treatment is currently spreading out of Cambodia.
    No cure. No hope. The warm country pandemic is beginning.

  15. There is only one possibility and that is a regression to the mean or in English a return to a much smaller world population. It will probably be a very quick and painfull regression and it would be an apocalypse beyond all historic apocalypses. A disease? Possible, even probable. War? Possible, even probable. When? Suddenly with little warning…

    1. Read the Bible itsa commin. Specifically, read Matthew 24 and Revelation chapter 4 to the end. World population will decrease dramatically. My original point is that man at his current level does have plenty of food for the people we have but we waste over half of it (not us preppers but others in general). Where I live the gubment pays the farmers not to grow wheat. Problem is governments are evil throughout the world and keep food from their own people (like in Somalia) or they buy up the land so it can’t be used for food production (hello BLM)

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