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Demographic history is the reconstructed record of human population in the past. Given the lack of population records prior to the 1950s, there are many gaps in our record of demographic history. Historical demographers must make do with estimates. models and extrapolations. For the methodology, see Historical demography
Graph showing population by continent as a percentage of world population (1750 - 2005)
Historical population of the world
Population of the world from 10,000 BC to 2000 AD (logarithmic scale)
Estimating the ancestral population of anatomically modern humans, Colin McEvedy and Richard Jones chose bounds based on gorilla and chimpanzee population densities of 1/km² and 3-4/km², respectively, then assumed that as Homo erectus moved up the food chain, they lost an order of magnitude in density. With a habitat of 68 million km² ("the Old World south of latitude 50° north, minus Australia"), Homo erectus could have numbered around 1.7 million individuals. After being replaced by Homo sapiens and moving into the New World and de-glaciated territory, by 10,000 BC world population was approaching four million people. McEvedy and Jones argue that, after populating the maximum available range, this was the limit of our food-gathering ancestors, with further population growth requiring food-producing activities.
The initial population "upswing" began around 5000 BC. Global population gained 50% in the 5th millennium BC, and 100% each millennium until 1000 BC, reaching 50 million people. After the beginning of the Iron Age, growth rate reached its peak with a doubling time of 500 years. However, growth slackened between 500 BC and 1 AD, before ceasing around 200 AD. This "primary cycle" was, at this time in history, confined to Europe, North Africa, and mainland Asia. McEvedy and Jones describe a secondary, "medieval cycle" being led by feudal Europe and Song China from around 900 AD.
During the period from 500 to 900 world population grew slowly but the growth rate accelerated between 900 and 1300 when the population doubled. During the 14th century, there was a fall in population associated with the Black Death that spread from Asia to Europe. This was followed by a period of restrained growth for 300 years.
In the 18th century world population entered a period of accelerated growth. European population reached a peak growth rate of 10 per thousand per year in the second half of the 19th century. During the 20th century, the growth rate among the European populations fell and was overtaken by a rapid acceleration in the growth rate in other continents, which reached 21 per thousand per year in the last 50 years of the millennium. Between 1900 and 2000, the population of the world increased by 277%, a fourfold increase from 1.5 billion to 6 billion. The European component increased by 124%, and the remainder by 349%.
Studies of India's population since 1881 have focused on such topics as total population, birth and death rates, growth rates, geographic distribution, literacy, the rural and urban divide, cities of a million, and the three cities with populations over eight million: Delhi, Greater Mumbai (Bombay), and Kolkata (Calcutta).
Mortality rates fell in 1920-45 era, primarily due to biological immunization. Other factors included rising incomes and better living conditions, improved better nutrition, a safer and cleaner environmental, and better official health policies and medical care.
Severe overcrowding in the cities caused major public health problems, as noted in an official report from 1938:
In the urban and industrial areas ... cramped sites, the high values of land and the necessity for the worker to live in the vicinity of his work ... all tend to intensify congestion and overcrowding. In the busiest centres houses are built close together, eave touching eave, and frequently back to back .... Indeed space is so valuable that, in place of streets and roads, winding lanes provide the only approach to the houses. Neglect of sanitation is often evidenced by heaps of rotting garbage and pools of sewage, whilst the absence of latrines enhance the general pollution of air and soil.
^Anatole Romaniuk, "Glimpses of Indian Historical Demography." Canadian Studies in Population 40.3-4 (2014): 248-251. Online
^Parameswara Krishnan, Glimpses of Indian Historical Demography (Delhi: B.R. Publishing Corporation 2010) ISBN978-8176466387
^Kingsley Davis, The Population of India and Pakistan (Princeton University Press, 1951).
^Kingsley Davis, "The population of India." Far Eastern Survey (1943): 76-79. in JSTOR
^J.H. Khan, "Population growth and demographic change in India," Asian Profile (2004) 32#5 pp 441-460
^Ira Klein, "Population growth and mortality in British India: Part II: The demographic revolution," Indian Economic Social History Review (1990) 27#1 pp 33-63 doi: 10.1177/001946469002700102 Online
^Klein, "Population growth and mortality in British India: Part II: The demographic revolution," p 42
^Julius Beloch, "Die Bevölkerung Europas zur Zeit der Renaissance" in Zeitschrift für Socialwissenschaft, 1900, pp. 765 to 786.
^Beloch gives it an area of 470,000 km2, too small for France in 1900.
^Beloch gives it an area of 75,000 km2, enough to include Belgium and possibly even Luxemburg.
^Beloch gives it an area of 720,000 km2, about twice the size of modern Germany.
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