The Sciences

Who cares about overpopulation? Smart people and atheists

Gene ExpressionBy Razib KhanOct 2, 2012 11:53 PM

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If you had the sense that Paul Ehrlich and Garrett Hardin are very much figures of the 1970s nexus of environmentalism and population control, it seems you are right. According to Google Ngrams mention of these topics has been declining since peaking during the oil crisis, in the afterglow of the influence of the late 1960s counter-culture. The general social survey has a variable, POPGRWTH, which asks:

And please circle one number for each of these statements to show how much you agree or disagree with it. The earth cannot continue to support population growth at its present rate.

The question was asked in the year 2000 and 2010. Demographic breakdowns below for the pooled responses....

Earth can not sustain population growth

Strongly agreeAgreeNeitherDisagreeStrongly disagree

Non-Hispanic white154122203

Non-Hispanic black63228295

Hispanic143922233

Male144218224

Female133826213

Highest educational attainment

< HS144618193

HS133824223

Junior College113728232

Bachelor144120214

Graduate164017235

Intelligence, measured by vocab score (WORDSUM 0-4 = stupid, 5-8 = average, 9-10 = smart)

Stupid143823214

Average124123223

Smart213715225

Liberal204319171

Moderate124127181

Conservative113619286

Protestant123922233

Catholic133924214

Jewish153322300

No Religion184720132

Bible is....

Word of God113523275

Inspired Word of God114125213

Book of Fables234314182

Opinion as to the existence of God

Don't believe353413153

No way to find out243922141

Some higher power215111171

Believe sometimes184323160

Believe but with doubts134422192

Know God exists113724244

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