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Multilingual Demographic Dictionary, second unified edition, English volume

Population equilibrium

Multilingual Demographic Dictionary, second unified edition, English vol.
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Population equilibrium  (POPULATION equilibrium)

The term population pressure 1 is linked to concepts relating the size of the population and the resources (901-1) available. To say that this pressure is strong or weak in a certain area is to suggest that the population of the area is near or far from the maximum consistent with the resources which are available. According to Malthusian population theory 2, so called after its originator, Thomas Malthus, there will inevitably be pressure of population on the means of subsistence 3. Any change in the volume of available means of subsistence would generate population growth (701-1) until population equilibrium 4 would again be attained when the level of living had reached a subsistence level 5, i.e., a level just sufficient to maintain life. The equilibrium would be maintained by the elimination of any surplus population 10★ either through positive checks 6, sometimes known as Malthusian checks 6 (famine, pestilence and war), or through the preventive check 7 of moral restraint 8 consisting of postponement of marriage 9, coupled with abstinence from sexual relations before marriage.

  • 6. and 7. The terms positive check and preventive check in English are generally used only with reference to the doctrines of Malthus.