What has Influenced Human Population Growth?

Environmental Science students have been looking at the idea of population growth. They were exposed to r and K-selected species, as well as exponential and logistic growth curves, and discussed why the human population has been showing exponential growth (now 7.9 billion persons worldwide) compared to other species. The idea that we have overcome many of the factors that limit growth (disease, food, space) was not lost to students. In fact, students were able to compare our growth to the growth of invasive species.

The demographic transition model (DTM) was introduced, and discussions ensued relating to different countries and the reasons for their pattern of population growth (positive vs zero vs negative growth). Students were surprised that countries within the continent of Africa are actually showing the highest growth rates (some with a mean age of just 25 years old).

Finally, students researched factors that have influenced population size and distribution and shared their findings with the class. Factors researched were: Access to quality healthcare; Urbanization and development of infrastructure; Education status and rights of women; Access to potable water and development of arable lands; Migration; Culture and religion; War and Government policies. 


Danette Paynter
Grade Level: 10/11/12
Class: Environmental Science
Current Unit: Unit 3 Population Ecology