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  An excess of population in an area in relation to resources or to other broader economic or social goals. Since Malthus first propounded his ideas on population, economists and demographers have tried to refine the concepts of overpopulation, under-population and optimum population, often with little success. Overpopulation may exist at rural, regional or national levels and today is most frequently seen in underdeveloped rural areas where the outstripping of resources by population growth may be evident in undernourishment or underemployment. Some Marxists deny the possibility of overpopulation in a socialist society, attaching more importance to the distribution of resources in a population than to the rate of population growth itself (Harvey, 1974). (See also carrying capacity; Malthusian model; sustainable development.) (PEO)

Reference Harvey, D. 1974: Population, resources and the ideology of science. Economic Geography 50: 256-77.

Suggested Reading Sauvy, A. 1969: General theory of population, trans. C. Campos. London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson). New York: Basic Books, ch. 23.



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