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  • Never before in history, have there been so many people on Earth as right now.


  • Our numbers have skyrocketed, from 1 billion in 1800, to 2.3 billion in 1940, 3.7 billion in 1970, and 7.4 billion in 2016.

    全球人口數從 1800 年的 10 億人、1940 年的 23 億、1970 年的 37 億,一路飆升到現在的 74 億人。

  • The world population increased fourfold in the last century, so what can we expect for the next century?


  • And what does population growth mean for our future?


  • Will there be mass-migration?


  • Overcrowded slums and megacities covering continents?


  • Diseases and pollution?


  • Chaos and violence over energy, water, and food?


  • And the human species focused only on sustaining itself?


  • Will population growth destroy our way of life?


  • Or is this prophecy just ungrounded panic?


  • In the 1960's population growth reached an unprecedented rate, which leads to apocalyptic prophecies.

    在 1960 年人口的增長以前所未見的速度成長,甚至引起了世界末日的預言。

  • The poor would procreate endlessly and overrun the developed world.


  • The legend of overpopulation was born.


  • But it turns out high birth rates and the population explosion are not permanent features of some cultures or countries, but rather a part of a four step process the whole world is going through, the demographic transition.


  • Most developed countries have already made the transition, while other countries are doing it right now.


  • Let's go back to the 18th century, when the entire world, including Europe, was in the first stage of the demographic transition.

    讓我們回到 18 世紀看看,當時全世界,包括歐洲,都正面臨人口轉型的第一階段。

  • By today's standards, Europe was worse off than a developing region, suffering from poor sanitation, poor diets, and poor medicine.


  • A lot of people were born, but lots of them died just as fast, so the population hardly grew.


  • Women had between 4 and 6 children, but only 2 of them would reach adulthood.

    婦女平均生 4 到 6 個小孩,但是只有 2 個能夠長大成人。

  • Then the industrial revolution happened in the UK and bought the greatest change in human living conditions since the agricultural revolution.


  • People went from being peasants to workers.


  • Manufactured goods were mass produced and became widely available.


  • The sciences flourished and advanced transportation, communication, and medicine.


  • The role of women in society shifted and created the conditions for their emancipation.


  • Slowly this economic progress not only formed a middle class, but also raised standards of living and health care for the poor working population.


  • The second transition stage started.


  • Better food supplies, hygiene and medicine, meant people stopped dying all the time, especially so, at a very young age.


  • The result was a population explosion.


  • Doubling the UK's population between 1750 and 1850.

    英國在 1750 年到 1850 年間人口成長倍增。

  • The main reasons families used to have lots of children was that only a few of them were likely to survive.


  • Now that had changed, so the third stage of transition was set in motion.


  • Fewer babies were conceived, and population growth slowed down.


  • Eventually a balance emerged, fewer people were dying and fewer children were born, so the death rate and birth rate became stable.


  • Britain had reached the fourth stage of the demographic transition.


  • This didn't only happen in the UK, more and more countries went through the four stages.


  • First, many births and many deaths due to bad living conditions.


  • Second, better living conditions leading to fewer deaths and a population explosion.


  • Third, fewer deaths resulting in fewer births, and population growth came to an end.


  • But if birth rates have dropped so much, why is the population still growing so fast?


  • Well, the children born in the population explosion of the 70's and 80's are having kids themselves now, leading to a noticeable spike in overall population.

    那是因為在 1970 至 1980 年代人口爆炸時期出生的孩子,現在都也生了自己的孩子,導致總人口數明顯的增長。

  • But they are having far fewer children on average than their parents.


  • The average today is 2.5, it was 5, 40 years ago.

    相較於 40 年前平均值是 5,現在則只剩 2.5。

  • So as this generation gets older, and fertility declines further, the rate of population growth will keep on slowing.


  • This is true for every country.


  • In the west, we tend to overlook progress in other regions of the world.


  • But actually most of the world's countries have made it to the fourth stage.


  • Just look at Bangladesh. In 1971, the average woman had 7 kids, but 25% of them would die before the age of 5.

    以孟加拉為例,在 1971 年平均每個婦女都會有 7 個小孩,但是有四分之一的小孩活不過 5 歲。

  • In 2015, the mortality rate was down to 3.8% and women had only 2.2 kids on average.

    2015 年時,死亡率則降到只剩 3.8%,婦女平均孩童也只剩 2.2 位。

  • This is the rule, not an exception, we're not special, we just had a head start.


  • It took developed countries about 80 years to reduce fertility from more than 6 children, to less than 3.

    已開發國家花了大約 80 年的時間才將生育率從 6 位小孩降低到不到 3 位。

  • Others are catching up fast. Malaysia and South Africa did it in only 34 years; Bangladesh took just 20.

    而其他國家正迎頭趕上。馬來西亞和南非只花了 34 年,而孟加拉更是只花了 20 年。

  • Iran managed it in 10 years.

    伊朗則是在 10 年內就辦到了。

  • All these countries that are catching up didn't have to start from scratch and the more support they get, the faster they catch up.


  • This is why programs that help lower child mortality or help poor nations develop, are so important.


  • No matter what your motivation is, whether you dream of a world where all people live in freedom and wealth, or you just want fewer refugees coming into your country, the simple truth is, that it's beneficial to you personally if people on the other side of the globe can live a good life.


  • And we are getting there, the percentage of people living in extreme poverty has never been as low as today.


  • So the future of global population growth is actually not an apocalyptic prophecy at all, it's a promise!


  • Population growth will come to an end.


  • The UN forecasts that the 12th billionth human will never be born at all.

    根據聯合國預測,地球人口不會超過 120 億人。

  • And as the development level of the world rises, the number of people with a higher education will increase tenfold.

    隨著世界發展水平的提升,受過高等教育的人數將會是原本的 10 倍。

  • Countries who used to be in need, will help advance development instead.


  • More people is going to mean more people able to advance our species.


  • This video was a collaboration with Max Roser and ourworldindata, where he explores the progress of humanity through research and data visualisation.

    此影片是由 Max Roser 和 ourworldindata 共同製作,透過研究及數據分析人類的進步。

  • Make sure to check it out!


  • In 2016 we were able to make more and better content than ever before, because of your support on


  • Thank you so much and we will be back in the year 12,017.


Never before in history, have there been so many people on Earth as right now.



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