# Math 132. Population Growth: the World

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1 Math 132 Population Growth: the World S. R. Lubkin Application If you think growth in Raleigh is a problem, think a little bigger. The population of the world has been growing spectacularly fast in the last few decades. What will the world population be in 10 years? In 50 years? Will the world s population ever level off? If so, at how many billions? What will life be like for your grandchildren? We will look at world population data and do least-squares fitting to some population models. We will try to find the best model, and use it to make predictions. Mathematical Models We have already seen some basic population models. written as a word equation ( rate of change of population) = (growth rate)*(population) In this lesson, we will explore different models for the growth rate. The simplest is the exponential model, with a constant growth rate: dy = ry dt where y(t) is the population as a function of time, and r is the growth rate. (1) (2) The second simplest model we have seen is the logistic model, whose word equation for the growth rate is ( growth rate) = ( maximum growth rate) ( 1 fraction of carrying capacity) (3) so that we can think of the growth rate in the logistic model as declining as the population gets larger, until when the population reaches its carrying capacity K, the growth rate goes to zero. We can think of the logistic model as having a growth rate which is a decreasing function of the

2 population: r growth rate K y This means that as the population gets larger, the growth rate declines. Contrast this with the exponential model, where no matter what the population is, the growth rate remains the same. The logistic model is written as a differential equation as dy y = ry (4) dt K We already found the solutions for the exponential and logistic models: exponential: logistic: yt () yt () = y 0 exp( rt) K = K exp( rt) y 0 (5) (6)

3 These two solutions have these general shapes: population K exponential logistic carrying capacity y 0 time Here is the available UN data for world population 1. year population (billions) If we graph this data we see something pretty interesting. Do this: Enter the data above into two tables in your spreadsheet. Make a scatter chart of each. Add an exponential trendline to each. Notice that the trendline, the best-fitting exponential model, doesn t fit the data very well. In fact, the growth rate is increasing over time, as the population gets larger. In the logistic model, the growth rate was decreasing as the population got larger, not increasing! This means that we can t even try to fit the logistic model to world population data! We need a growth rate which is an increasing function of time or population. One possibility would be the so-called superexponential model, where we make the growth rate an exponential in time: 1. and

4 r = e r 1t (7) growth rate This corresponds to thinking of the growth rate as proportional to the development of social, scientific, and technological structures, and the discovery of new resources to exploit. The superexponential differential equation then becomes dy r dt 0 e r 1t = ( )y To solve this, we have Maple do the integration: > super:=diff(y(t),t)=r0*exp(r1*t)*y(t); > dsolve({super,y(0)=y0},y(t)); and we get the solution which can also be written yt () = y 0 e r e r 1 ( t 1) yt () = y exp ( exp( r (10) r 1 t) 1) 1 Our task now will be to do least-squares data fitting for the world population data to the exponential model and the superexpontial model: time (8) (9) exponential: superexponential: yt () = y 0 exp( rt) yt () = y exp ( exp( r 1 t) 1) r 1 (11) (12) The models (11) and (12) contain parameters, r,,r 1, and y 0. A parameter is a number which is constant as the independent variable (time) changes, but may vary from experiment to experiment. We will do least squares data fitting to find the parameter values r,, r 1, and y 0 which make (11) or (12) fit as closely as possible to the data series in the table. We will then use our bestfit model to make predictions of the world population at later times.

5 The task of data fitting is to determine the parameter values which will make all the measured data points y i ( t i ) lie as close as possible to the curve y(t). Close means that the sum of the squares of the distances between each point y i ( t i ) and the curve y(t) are as small as possible, within the constraint of the form of the function y(t). We form the sum of squares S as S = i = 1 or, in the case of the exponential model (11), and in the case of the superexponential model (12), S e = n i = 1 n ( y i ( t i ) yt ( i )) 2 ( y i ( t i ) y 0 exp( rt i )) 2 (13) (14) S s = n i = 1 y i ( t i ) y e r 1t exp ( i 1) 2 r 1 (15) We can then think of S as a function of the parameters r,, r 1, and y 0. If we can minimize S by changing r,, r 1, and y 0, we will have the version of each model which fits the data best. Methods of Solution We ll use the spreadsheet to organize our data and to form the sum of squares. Excel s Solver function will minimize S for us. The Data Table will have the following columns: times of data points, t i Population at those times, y i (t i ) value of model function at those times, y(t i ) square of difference, S i (t i ) We will also construct a Parameter Table keeping track of our parameter values and the sum of squares. We can easily plot both the data and the fitted curve using the ChartWizard, and visually assess how good the fit is for different parameter values. We will allow Solver to change the parameter values we are using until the least squares solution is found (the parameters which minimize S). Implementation (step-by-step instructions) 1. Open the spreadsheet. 2. Copy the table headings and data in the first two columns below. (Wait till steps (5) and (7) to

7 objective function S (the thing we want to optimize), tell it we want to minimize it, and enter the locations of the parameters r and y 0 that Solver is allowed to vary (in the Parameter Table). 10. Click Solve. Watch as the parameter values in the Parameter Table change. Watch as the graph changes. Watch as the value of S decreases. Assuming there was no error message, the best-fitting parameter values for the initial population (in year 1700) and growth rate have just appeared in the parameter table. 11. Repeat the process in a separate pair of tables for the superexponential model (12). You will t i = years since 1700 y i = world pop. (billions) y(t i ) of model (y i -y(t i ))^ = \$c\$?*exp(\$a\$?/\$b\$?*(exp(\$b\$?*a2)-1)) = (c2-b2)^ need a very good guess for the starting values for the parameters, or Solver will be starting too far from the correct answer. You might try using, for and y 0, the values you found from the fitting of the exponential, since the superexponential is very close to the exponential if r 1 is very small. Be sure to tell Solver that it can change,r 1, and y 0. Which model gives a lower least sum of squares S? r 1 y 0 S = sum(d2:d7) 2. If Solver isn t there under Tools, you need to go to Tools -> Add-Ins, scroll down, and click that Solver should be added. Then you can use Tools -> Solver. If Solver isn t in the Add-Ins, your installation of Excel will not work for this project, and you will either need to install Solver or find another computer.

8 Assessment

9 The superexponential model fits world population data better than the exponential model on three counts: (1) The sum of squares is 30 times larger with the exponential model, meaning the bestfitting exponential model is much farther away from the data points; (2) visually, the points are right on top of each other with the superexponential model, but not for the exponential model; (3) there is an obvious trend in the exponential fit that suggests that the errors in fitting are systematic rather than random. We currently have 6 billion people in the world. If we project a little bit into the future, with the exponential model, we get a world population in the years 2050 and 2100 of 10 billion and 19 billion, respectively. If we project using the superexponential model, we get a world population in 2050 and 2100 of 26 and 309 billion, respectively. Table 1: World population and model predictions model exponential 6 billion 10 billion 19 billion superexponential 6 billion 26 billion 309 billion Draw your own conclusion.

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