Reverend Thomas Mathus in his book – ‘An Essay on Population” in 1798 postulated this theory of population following the deplorable condition of England at his time and his worriness as to what might be the adverse effect of socio-economic situation of the country if population growth is not checked. The theory states thus:

  1. That the population growth rate is greater than the growth rate of subsistence since population growth rate was increasing geometrically (1,2,4,6,8,10) while means of food production (subsistence) was increasing arithmetically (1, 2, 3, 4, 5).
  2. That man’s strong procreative tendencies often result to over population.
  3. That if population is not controlled or checked through birth control (moral restraints), then nature will enforce the check through positive measures like war, famine, pestilence etc.
  4. That at certain stage, food production will not match the high population, consequently there will be poverty and a fall in living standard.


  1. He did not consider, neither did he anticipate technological development especially in the area of agricultural mechanization, which is capable of increasing food production. 
  2. He is of the view that land is fixed in quantity, which is not quite true because land can be increased by reclamation. 
  3. He did not equally consider the possibility of international trade, which is capable of boosting supply of resources from area of surplus to deficit areas 
  4. Malthus failed to realize the possibility of using fertilizer to improve the quality of land thereby increasing food production.

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