MathBench > Population Dynamics

Exponential Growth and Decay

Is human population growth exponential?

We have seen many examples in this module that fit the exponential growth model. According to the model, when things are growing exponentially, the bigger they get the faster they grow (or in the case of decay - the smaller they get, the slower they shrink).

How about human population? Take a look at the graph below showing human population over time.


It has a few jigs and jags, but overall it has that upward curving shape familiar to exponential growth curves. We can also see that the population plodded along at relatively low levels for thousands of years before it really began to climb. You can mouse over the points to see what was occurring at each point in time.

Use the applet below to explore human population growth more in depth.




If you want a printer-friendly version of this module, you can find it here in a Microsoft Word document. This printer-friendly version should be used only to review, as it does not contain any of the interactive material, and only a skeletal version of problems solved in the module.