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optimum population

  The number of people that produces the maximum return, in relation to given economic, military or social goals. The idea of population optima has long been discussed, especially in relation to overpopulation and the general notions of the Malthusian model. Very difficult to define with any precision, it has most often been seen in economic terms of total production or real income per head, its definition and usefulness being hotly disputed by each generation of economists. (See also optimum city size.) (PEO)

Suggested Reading Sauvy, A. 1969: General theory of population, trans. C. Campos. London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson; New York: Basic Books, ch. 4.



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