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Old 08-03-2012, 10:58 AM
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I'm curious about the demographic impact of WW2

Does anyone know what the world's population would be today if not for WW2? I have never been able to find an actual statistic online so it may not exist. If it doesn't exist what is your best estimate and Why?

What would the population of Europe be do you think? What about Japan? Any countries that would have extremelly different demographics? I would think Russia, Germany, Poland, Korea and Japan.
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Old 08-03-2012, 02:56 PM
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Well, we could take an educated guess...

The UN estimates that the total global population was 2.3 billion in 1940.

There is no precise count of deaths for WW2, but most estimates range from 62-78 million people (these estimates include the Sino-Japanese Wars that began in the 1930's).

That would correspond to a percentage of 2.7% - 3.4% of the total global population who died.

The current global population is estimated as of 2011 to be 6.974 billion according to the World Bank.

Applying our percentages we can estimate that there would be an additional 188-237 million more people today if not for WW2.

That means the theoretical current population if WW2 did not occur as being between 7.162-7.211 billion people.

That's pretty "back of the napkin", but should suffice for a ballpark estimate. The correct way to do it would be to take the existing population of each individual country when they entered the war, then determine the percentage of people who died from that country. Take that percentage and increase the countries current population by that amount and then add everyone up.
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Old 08-03-2012, 05:00 PM
Location: Sinking in the Great Salt Lake
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It's not as simple as assuming all the dead people from WWII had babies who had babies according to what happened in reality after the war.

In fact, it is entirely possible the world would have been LESS populated. There probably wouldn't have been a baby boom in the US, for example, nor the strong growth that happened in Japan or Germany after the Marshall Plan. It's hard to imagine Imperial Japan being anywhere near as wealthy and populated as it is today, and if China hadn't united to fight back against Japan, the Communists wouldn't have been given the edge and their civil war could have killed uncounted millions more than it actually did. And If the wrongs perpetrated by communism didn't happen, the Chinese might not gone to a hybrid communist-capitalist system which gave them runaway success.

The great depression might have never ended without WWII and population could have have completely collapsed from famine and total worldwide economic destruction.

Beyond that, the technological advances pushed forward by the war might never happened, erasing a whole host of technological and medical advances that have saved (and made possible) uncounted hundreds of millions (if not billions) of lives since then!

A burned field returns twice as verdant the next year as it would have had it not been burned. Although much was sacrificed during WW2, those sacrifices set the stage for incredible growth and advances of the late 20th century. Those who sacrificed their lives for a better future back then would be pleased... they accomplished just that.

Last edited by Chango; 08-03-2012 at 05:46 PM..
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Old 08-03-2012, 11:44 PM
Location: Out there somewhere...
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I've often thought of the same question as the OP. My guess the population would be about double or even triple of what it is today baserd on how many million people that were killed in that time period. There would have been marriages, babies, grand kids and now great grand kids from probably the majority of those people if they had survived.
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Old 08-04-2012, 11:58 AM
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This assumes a constant fertility/family size, which is not the case at all. So I go with Chango's analysis - casualty rates itself had little impact on current population levels in the world.
There are just to many other factors and variables to consider - the great depression as well as WW2 had impact to the US baby boom - and average family size increased - mothers were having more babies. This is due to social and economic factors - more jobs (post war boom), more prosperity, perhaps less focus on material things, larger families. In underdeveloped countries - children were seen as an asset - more help on the farm or in the factories to help with family finances. So you can actually argue that the war increased the world population, at least during the post war period. For the past 30 years however family size has decreased in the US and many developed countries as the marriage age increases and families have more focus on materiality.
Similiar fluctuations can be seen in all countries. I would argue that economics and sociology, not war casualties, have more impact on world population figures.

Last edited by Dd714; 08-04-2012 at 12:08 PM..
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Old 08-04-2012, 12:10 PM
Location: The Triad (nc)
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It's all speculative...
My preferred speculation is that we would NOT have had the post war boom...
or the exponential growth that precipitated.

That would have been a good thing.
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Old 08-06-2012, 12:08 PM
Location: Fairfax County, VA
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I don't mean to sound like that I am bad-mouthing any immigrants who are currently in Europe but if WW2 didn't occur, then would there be a lesser population of immigrants there?
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Old 07-18-2013, 11:36 AM
Location: Fairfax County, VA
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And for the OP, if he ever reads this again, did you include the The Great Purge or no?
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Old 07-18-2013, 12:22 PM
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I think there's no way of knowing, but there are some likely effects of World War II not occurring.

1) Europe would have likely have a larger population today. Not only did Europe suffer disproportionate population losses, but I wonder if the societal aftereffects created a society less inclined to have large families.

2) Without World War II, the United States would have continued trying to claw its way out of the Great Depression, with the attendant effect on fertility rates. As it was, the war created a huge upswing in wealth due to both full employment and the general unavailability of consumer goods on which to spend money. This in turn fueled the Baby Boom when the soldiers and sailors came home.

3) Without World War II, would there have been a Communist revolution in China?
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Old 07-18-2013, 12:28 PM
Location: Finally escaped The People's Republic of California
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There would probably more Chinese and Russians
And less Americans
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