Human Population-Historical Overview
Throughout history, the human population has been quite small. It has grown relatively slowly and even experienced occasional declines. Figure shows the general trend of population growth in the last half million years. As said earlier, the dawn of agriculture, triggered a series of major global environmental changes.
Figure: Human Population
As agriculture became more efficient, women began to bear more children and the human population increased. It was possible to grow more food in a given area of land. Hunter-gatherers were mostly nomadic and in their way of life, infants were a liability as children could not become very good hunters. Whereas, in a stationary agricultural society, babies are not much trouble and children can help in the farm. Therefore, the population increase between 10,000 BC and about 1800 AD was largely the result of increasing birth rates that coincided with the growth of agriculture.