OER Librarian
Material Type:
Community College / Lower Division
Ohio Open Ed Collaborative
Anti-Malthusian Theorty, Malthusian Theory, Oss0212, Population, Sociology
Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial
Media Formats:

Understand Malthusian theory and anti-Malthusian theories of population.


OER Text material

Population Growth and Decline

Sociology: Understanding and Changing the Social World, 19.2.1. This section introduces Mathusian ideas on population growth and the means to sustain that population (i.e. food production).  It also provides evidence that the growth Malthus anticipated has not been realized and critiques those who have adopted Malthusian theories as veiled forms of racism in the 1970s. The only alternative theory to Malthusian theory provided is demographic transition theory, which links population growth to technological development. Additionally, this section discusses the declines in birthrates, and policies that encourage women to have more children.

Supplementary Material (Videos and Reading)

Population, Sustainability, and Malthus: Crash Course (Video)

Video summary: “So, how many people can reasonably live on the Earth? Thomas Malthus got it totally wrong in the 19th century, but for some reason, he keeps coming up when we talk about population. In 1800, the human population of the Earth passed 1 billion, and Thomas Malthus posited that growth had hit its ceiling, and the population would level off and stop growing. He was totally right. Just kidding, he was totally wrong! There are like 7 billion people on the planet now! John will teach a little about how Malthus made his calculations, and explain how Malthus came up with the wrong answer. As is often the case, it has to do with making projections based on faulty assumptions.”

“Malthus vs Boserup” by Holly Story

This article is intended for educators for use in the classroom.  The article summarizes Malthus and Boserup, providing discussion questions for further thought after the article.

Demography and Population

Introduction to Sociology 2e, by OpenStax 20.1. This source provides an additional theory, cornucopian theory, to help understand population growth.



This fun and quick activity allows the user to enter their birthdate to find out the population on the day they were born and the population growth since.