Variable: Population

Population includes both the number of individuals and the number of social groups and cohorts within a social system. Population as a socioeconomic resource includes the consumption impacts of people, as well as their creative actions (accreting knowledge, engaging in sexual behavior, providing labor, and so forth). Human population growth is a dominant factor influencing much of human ecology (Hawley 1986) and social systems (Durkheim 1933), both historically (Turner et al. 1990), and within contemporary nation-states, regions, and cities.

Growth can be measured by natural increases (births over deaths/year) as well as migration flows. While population can act as an ecosystem stressor, it also is a supply source for many critical components within human ecosystems such as labor, information (including genetic code), and social institutions (Geertz 1963).

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