The main implication of the inverse relationship between population density and per capita consumption is that, as the world’s population continues to rise, so too will unemployment. I’ve now begun tracking a rough measure of global unemployment, using the data posted on the CIA’s World Factbook web site for each nation, beginning with 2012. Knowing the unemployment rate and the population, I can calculate how many people are unemployed in each nation, and then tally the sum for the entire world. The CIA provides the data for most nations, but not all. Also, the data has to be somewhat suspect, given that there is much disagreement over the official unemployment rate even in the United States. You can imagine that the data for third world countries is probably not all that reliable.
Nevertheless, it’s all we have to go by. Also, I’m making an assumption that the labor force in each country is made up of exactly 50% of the population (relatively close to the figure for the U.S.), since the CIA provides no data on the size of the labor force. Using the CIA’s data and this assumption, in 2012 the global unemployment rate was 7.9%, and 26 million people were unemployed. In 2013, the unemployment rate rose to 8.6% and 28.8 million people were unemployed.
In 2014, the situation improved slightly, with unemployment falling to 8.3% and 28.1 million unemployed. It should be remembered that the period of 2012 through 2014 supposedly represents a time of global “economic recovery.” While three years isn’t really enough data to begin drawing conclusions, so far the data seems to bear out the theory that unemployment will worsen as the world grows more crowded – even during a period of “recovery.”
This is data that I’ll continue to track and will report on again when 2015 data is available – probably early next year.