Sample Research Paper on Potential Negative Impacts of Overpopulation

Potential Negative Impacts of Overpopulation


Overpopulation refers to the imbalance between people occupying a certain geographical area and the available resources. Generally, the population increases on a daily basis while the resources remain constant or dwindle away. According to the World Overpopulation Awareness (WOA), in 1994 there were 3.95 million births and 2.29 million deaths placing the population growth rate at 1.7 million people in the United States of America. Similarly, the US ranks the third most populous country in the world with an annual growth of 2.5 million people compared to global population growth, which is approximately 81 million people (WOA). In 1927, the UN estimated the world population growth was approximately 2 billion people; currently, the figure has propelled to 7 billion people. In fact, the number of resources has tremendously reduced amid the continuous increase in population. The competition for inadequate resources creates an imbalance in the consumption of ecological resources (Knight 925).

Overcrowding is one of the most current issues facing humanity juxtaposing the concerns of impacts it causes on human behavior. Loo asserts that overcrowding affects how humans think of one another deteriorating human relations (133). Traditionally, scientists tried to raise an alarm over the rising population but the world did not consider the claims. As the impacts of overpopulation continued to be manifested, many people joined hands in the fight against overpopulation. Therefore, overpopulation affects the wide scope of the global arena either directly or indirectly. In light of this, overpopulation has numerous adverse impacts that range from environmental, economic, political and social problems. Therefore, this paper delineates the negative impacts caused by overpopulation, categorizes them into a PESTEL analytical method, and provides some recommendations regarding the problem.

Causes of overpopulation

Overpopulation is an undesirable condition due to the negative effects associated with overcrowding. Nevertheless, it is currently the most severe scourge that humankind is experiencing due to various reasons. To start with, technological advancement has affected humanity in different ways. One of them is the ability to save lives due to advance medical treatment; hence, both the birth and mortality rates are almost equal (Einspruch 150). As compared to ancient times, the fertility rate is very high since there are medical treatments to help coupled to conception. Secondly, immigration has largely contributed to the plague of overcrowding because many people prefer settling in urban and developed areas. The high influx rate causes the population to increase in developed countries and large towns causing resource competition (Loo 133). Developing countries are also faced with the overpopulation menace especially due to the lack of family planning programs. Overpopulation has also been contributed by the discovery of stable and healthy diets that enable humans to live for a longer time. Lastly, the fight against poverty enables people to lead a comfortable life reducing the chances of mortality rate.


The potential negative impacts of overpopulation

            Based on the World Overpopulation Awareness statistics, overpopulation is a serious problem that poses different problems to the society. Therefore, the paper explores each category of the impacts caused by overpopulation.

  • Environmental impacts

Seven billion people is quite a large number occupying a surface area of 510,072, 000 km2; as a result, there is competition for natural resources. Almost all human activities influence negatively the environment in one way or another damaging the effects on the environment multiply. In that case, here are some of the imminent environmental problems created by overpopulation.

  • Water supply

Water is a basic element that is vital in supporting the lives of all living things and that is why two-thirds of the earth’s surface is a hydrosphere. Water is paramount in maintaining the ecosystem balance and population growth is directly proportionate to water consumption (Knight 927). As a result, some water reservoirs are drying up; for instance, in Beijing, the water table falls down by almost two meters annually. Developing countries are also meandering in this scourge of inadequate water supply. For the Saharan countries, for instance, fresh water is a major problem hence they are forced to import water. Traditionally, water springs were scattered all over and water supply equated to the population at that time (Loo 134). However, overcrowding has increased water consumption, decreasing the water supply to an alarming level. Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) reported that forty-eight counties are at a high risk of experiencing water shortage by mid-century because of global warming. The federal government has retaliated by forming the Drinking Water and Ground Water Protection Division (DWGWPD) to protect the water supply. The aim of the division is to protect the water source area and to draft rules that will govern water consumption in the country. This is because in the last 200 years the United States lost 50% of its wetlands, and 90% of its old-growth forests and grass (Einspruch 234).

  • Water pollution

According to the Natural Resources Defense Council, dirty water is the biggest health risk in the world and it continues to risk public health and general people’s quality of life (Einspruch 245). Around 95% of the urban sewage in developing countries is discharged into the waterways. Additionally, most human activities attribute to toxic chemical effluent that reaches the waterways either directly or indirectly. The presence of a high population increases the activities associated with human beings, hence, the rate of water pollution is very high. Companies discharge untreated waste into the ocean damaging the marine species and putting human life at stake. Water sources act as a source of food for marine life and human beings also consume the aquatic species; therefore, water pollution creates a cycle of negative impacts. In addition, the circulation of cold and warm water currents regulates the earth from experiencing extreme temperatures; hence, water pollution increases the chances of global warming.

  • Food deficiency

Currently, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations estimates that every one person out of seven sleeps hungry globally. On the contrary, only one person in every fifty people slept hungry in the 18th century when the population was one-seventh of the current population. The current population growth does not match the level of food production and distribution hence, 25,000 people die of malnutrition and huger-related diseases every day (FAO). In the 21st century, almost all countries have turned into manufacturing-related industries despising food production. A country like china, for example, is the most populous in the world, and three-quarters of the population works in the manufacturing industry (Einspruch 175). The remaining one-quarter cannot manage to feed the overpopulated country leading to food inadequacy.

Obviously, overpopulated areas experience land scarcity, and demand for food is quite high. As a result, the population will scramble to farm in dry areas, mountainous, riverbanks, nutrient-poor areas, and places that are not suitable for farming. Similarly, overpopulation limits the land used for activities like grazing leading to overgrazing that makes the soil susceptible to degradation (Einspruch 213). Such land exploitation activities expose the soil to erosion and loss of nutrients. For example, peasant farmers in Indonesia have resulted in planting their crops on steep slopes because there is not enough land to cultivate. As a result, half of Java’s land is in danger of erosion and lack of nutrients. Additionally, the search for settling places, development projects, and farming land is attributed to deforestation. Mining activities lead to environmental clearance to create space. Developing countries are also in a dire move of deforestation in such of wood for cooking; that is why Ghana lost a third of its tropical dense forest from 1938-1980 (WOA).

  • health and population density

Viruses especially those that belong to communicable diseases, spread faster in densely populated regions. TB is one of the most common communicable diseases that is spread by simply coughing. Other chronic diseases such as HIV and AIDS are on the verge of spreading fast in populated areas. In addition, a high population hinders effective medical care programs due to the large number of people requiring assistance.

  • Air quality, and oil and gas menace

The numerous human activities contribute to the air contamination and that is why there is an increase in asthma rates globally. Elsewhere, overpopulation contributes to the air population because it is not easy to provide services to a huge amount of people without using fossil fuels. It is the only energy source guaranteed to serve the whole globe efficiently due to the humongous number of people occupying the earth (Cassils 194). As a result, the ozone layer has been tampered with exposing the earth to radiation and increasing the global warming effect.

To start with, beef is one of the most common meals consumed by human beings, and with the increase in the human population; many animals are slaughtered to serve as a meal. Secondly, their skins are being used for clothing and making shoes for human beings and the higher the population, the higher the demand (Knight 975). Eventually, both livestock and wildlife species are slaughtered to meet human needs.

  • biodiversity

As the population increases the demand for plants to extract food, fibers for clothing, and medicine increases. As a result, there is an environmental imbalance that leads to gradual humanity problems. People reacted by planting genetic make-up trees to cover the deficit but they are prone to diseases and pests (Cassils 194). Therefore, the greater the population, the greater the demand for specific plants; hence, the loss of biodiversity

  • landfills and open pits

Continuous soil extraction in search of minerals leaves the environment with open pits and landfills. Similarly, landfills are caused by excessive waste dumping on the earth’s surface. Some of the waste is quite toxic polluting the air or leaching into the soil and groundwater supply. Open pits on the other hand collect water when there is rainfall or runoff. The water poses great risks to human life due to drowning or attracting insects that spread diseases or water bilharzia ((Knight 971).


  • economic impacts
  • the cost of living

The denser the city, the higher the cost of living; especially the cost of housing is very high. Affluent residents characterize densely populated areas; hence, the cost of housing is drastically high. Since food production is very little is such places, the cost of foodstuff is also quite high (Einspruch 123). Therefore, overpopulation leads to extravagance due to the high cost of living. The imbalance created by the difference between demand and supply increases due to overpopulation; consequently, the prices of various commodities end up skyrocketing.

  • time and resources wastage

With overpopulation and overcrowding, major cities are congested limiting the ease of human physical mobility. An average American spends over 100 hours per day commuting to and from work; usually, the distance covered is little but due to the congestion and traffic jams, all these person-hours are lost (Cassils 171). Not only does this congestion waste time, but also it wastes numerous resources such as gas and electricity.

  • energy consumption

According to Martin, energy consumption is reflected by the population growth rates (n.p). The total energy consumption in 1974 in US grew by 31% to 2007 while the population grew by 41.7% in the same duration ((Hurlber 68). The increase in energy consumption triggers the economy as the country channels its finances to energy sources. The high-energy requirement leads to increased pollution; hence, more money is required to treat pollution.

  • unemployment

The population growth is very high as compared to the insignificant job opportunities that are in disposal. The situation observed with the perspective of the number of students graduating the absorption rate by the industries, it is quite clear that the rate of unemployment is proportionate to the population growth. The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics 2014 report indicates that the global unemployment rate for 16 years and over individuals is 6.7 million (Hurlbert 64) . These figures include total form of unemployment where the individual does not have any type of a job.

  • Residential patterns

The increase in human population reflects in the escalating cost of land to construct and develop. Likewise, the rural urban migration is quite significant in comparison to the last two centuries (Hurlbert 68). As a result, the urban areas have been congested changing the residential structures patterns. People are congested and this led to emergence of slums and places with poor living conditions. Developing countries are largely affected by the menace of slums, which are characterized with all sort of immorality. Similarly, people currently opt to extend their buildings upwards rather than horizontally due to the finance constraints.

  • political and legal impacts

Politics involves struggle for power and control of resources and due to overpopulation, people love to rise to the top and get the powers to control the limited resources. Politics creates hatred among people an affects their personal relations; similarly, overpopulation results to legal implications to regulate the accessibility of resources to the public.


Overpopulation is a global contagious issue that has dire consequences to the entire race of humankind. In order to prevent these negative impacts, it is important to extract the solutions to overpopulation. The following are some of the measures that can be taken to curb overpopulation.

  • family planning awareness

Developing countries are leading in population growth due to lack of birth control awareness. As the population growth is rising at a rapid pace, it is important to create family planning awareness to the entire world.

  • immigration regulations

Legal immigrants contribute to the high rate of population increase globally; hence, the exodus should be tamed. The federal government should take appropriate control measures to reduce the number of aliens in the country. However, immigrants contribute positively to the economy, but they increase the rate of resource competition due to overcrowding (Knight 927).

  • education

Educating the masses creates an impact because they understand the reason to plan their families. Family planning and efficient birth control should be encouraged so that the rate of population growth can reduce.

  • tax concessions

Various countries can draft relevant policies related to tax exemptions to families that helps in reducing overpopulation. In this way, many people will feel encouraged to practice methods that curb overpopulation and its effects.

  • Rural-urban migration

Currently, most people are attracted by the urban settings and regard congesting in urban areas scrambling for the limited resources (Hurlbert 68). Resources such as water and oxygen are gradually becoming scarce due to the high number of people in towns. However, if these people can be encouraged to live in the rural areas, there can be a fair balance between people and resources.

  • Renewable energy sources

Global warming is a serious impact caused by the extensive human activities. Non-renewable energy sources are great contributors towards the global warming scourge; therefore, adopting renewable sources of energy and making them available in rural areas will reduce air pollution.


Overpopulation is viewed as one of the leading cause of most of humanity’s scourges; as discussed earlier, it is the root cause of poverty, starvation, wildlife depletion among other things. Incessant human population growth is under the onslaught of destroying the world’s environments and ecosystem. The continuous human occupation in the earth’s surface is the overriding to the nature exploitation. The society is exposed to the environmental pollution that is posing a threat to the future generation. The excessive exposure to radiation heat and lowering of the waterbed has immense adverse consequences to the humanity. Actually, water is the paramount component that supports life in all living things. Absence or lack of enough water will cause an imbalance in the ecosystem and people will be forced to look for alternatives. As a result, numerous conflicts and wars will arise as people scramble for the scarce resource.

However, the world is already populated and people are desperate to share the available resources; hence, nature destruction is ongoing. People are in desperate need and they have no choice other than to exploit nature to the fullest with the help of the advanced technology. They need places to settle, clear spaces to construct roads and bridges; hence, regulating nature exploitation is impractical. However, the dire effects of overpopulation can be countered by nature conservation methods and controlling overpopulation (Cassils 172).

The entire universe require to enter in a mutual agreement and tackle the plight of overpopulation; governments and non-governmental organizations are expected to fraught with this challenge and help the race of humanity. Education, family planning and public awareness are the key factors that the government should take into consideration to minimize the overcrowding. Incorporation of science and technology can be the best source of objective information to protect the earth from over exploitation by the overcrowded humanity. In conclusion, overpopulation brings forth all sorts of human tragedy and it is the high time every person engaged in fight against overpopulation.

Works Cited

Cassils, J. A. “Overpopulation, Sustainable Development, and Security: Developing an Integrated Strategy.” Population and Environment 25.3 (2004): 171-94. ProQuest. Web. 15 Apr. 2014.

Current World Population. Geohive 2014. Web. 15 Apr. 2014.

Einspruch, Andrew. Overpopulation. New York: PowerKids Press, 2013. Internet resource.

Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). FAOSTAT. Jan 2014. Web. 15 April. 2014

Hurlbert, Stuart H. “Is the AAAS Oblivious to US Overpopulation and Its Consequences: Or Is It Just another Censor.” The Social Contract 22.1 (2011): 64-68.

Knight, Kathleen S., et al. “Ecology and ecosystem impacts of common buckthorn (Rhamnus cathartica): a review.” Biological Invasions 9.8 (2007): 925-937.

Loo, Chalsa. “Important issues in researching the effects of crowding on humans.” Crowding and Behavior 4 (1974): 133.

World Overpopulation Awareness (WOA). Factoids. April 2014. Web. 15 April 201