Linear Global Population Growth

The article I looked at claims that despite popular opinion, the global population is not growing exponentially, but rather is growing in a straight line. Exponential growth is described as the growth rate of the population, as a fraction of the population’s size, and is constant. Therefore, if a population has a growth rate of 2%, and it remains 2% as the population gets bigger, it’s growing exponentially. Despite the starting points of two quantities, the one quantity that grows exponentially will become larger than one growing linearly. For the United States, the population growth over the past half century has been very close to a straight line, the R2 is 0.9956.

Essentially, it seems as if people confuse the words exponentially and increasingly when talking about population growth. The graph shown demonstrates linear growth, and how exponential growth occurs only when the percentage growth rate remains constant as the population gets bigger.

3 thoughts on “Linear Global Population Growth

  1. You raise a really interesting point surrounding the language we use in order to illustrate a point. The issue you raise surrounding the general confusion between the words “increasingly” and “exponentially” and their, supposedly, inter-changeability is more of a lesson on the fact that, as consumers, we need to be more cautious of the information we take in.

  2. I thought this was a great way to approach our assignment. I always assumed the growth population was growing exponentially, but after reading your blog and article I now have a better understanding of how the population is actually growing.

  3. This was very interesting to read about, as you managed to include the topics of population and that of linear vs. exponential in one post. I have always thought the population was growing exponentially, but it is increasing to find that it is indeed growing at a linear rate.

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