How Population Works


Announcer

Welcome to Stuff You Should Know from HowStuffWorks.com.

Chuck Bryant

Punkin Chunkin, Punkin Chunkin, Punkin Chunkin.

Josh Clark

That's right Chuck. Hey, and welcome to the podcast. I'm Josh Clark. Clearly, Chuck Bryant's here. And let's talk about Punkin Chunkin, I guess. You just kind of force our hand, Chuck.

Chuck Bryant

Yes, the Road to Punkin Chunkin and Punkin Chunkin. So that's on Science Channel, 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time on Thanksgiving night!

Josh Clark

Yeah.

Chuck Bryant

You can see some pumpkins get chunked.

Josh Clark

Punkins get chunked.

Chuck Bryant

Punkins.

Josh Clark

Yeah.

Chuck Bryant

Okay.

Josh Clark

Again, Science Channel, the Road to Punkin Chunkin starts at 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time. Punkin Chunkin, itself, starts at 9:00.

Chuck Bryant

Great.

Josh Clark

Thanksgiving night.

Chuck Bryant

Yes.

Josh Clark

Science Channel.

Chuck Bryant

On with the show.

Josh Clark

Yeah, Chuck, have you ever belonged to a population?

Chuck Bryant

No, ma'am, I'm like I'm totally independent. Screw populations.

Josh Clark

You're like that guy who lives in the commune, right?

Chuck Bryant

Right.

Josh Clark

Well the joke's on him because a commune constitutes a population.

Chuck Bryant

That's right.

Josh Clark

This sounds kind of boring, and you would think it is.

Chuck Bryant

I thought it might be.

Josh Clark

We're about to do how population works. It actually started to pick up.

Chuck Bryant

I actually didn't know what it was even going to be when I saw How Population Works. I was like what?

Josh Clark

You know what's awesome? This was my idea, this article was. I pitched it.

Chuck Bryant

Oh really?

Josh Clark

Mm-hmm.

Chuck Bryant

Why didn't they let you write it?

Josh Clark

I don't know.

Chuck Bryant

Jerks.

Josh Clark

I know. But the Grabster did a good job with it.

Chuck Bryant

Oh yeah, the Grabster is always good.

Josh Clark

Yeah, class act.

Chuck Bryant

That's Ed Grabianowski, by the way.

Josh Clark

Right. So human beings marriage. Human beings tend to congregate.

Chuck Bryant

Yes.

Josh Clark

We -

Chuck Bryant

And segregate, interestingly.

Josh Clark

That is an excellent - you just blew my mind. Good lord, Chuck. Well, let's get back to what I was saying.

Chuck Bryant

Right.

Josh Clark

Unless you want to go on the segregation route.

Chuck Bryant

We'll get on that later.

Josh Clark

Humans congregate and segregate, but let's talk about congregation in that most of the time, I would say, our early, early ancestors and probably even other species congregate because there's safety in numbers.

Chuck Bryant

Sure, and it helps with farming, collecting water and food, group power numbers.

Josh Clark

But even before farming, hunter gatherers lived in bands of I think 30 was about tops. They figured out somewhere along the way that groups of 30 or groups of more than 30, there tended to be a lot more hostility and intergroup problems.

Chuck Bryant

Have you ever tried to kill a mastodon by yourself?

Josh Clark

That's another good point, too. There's cooperation. Mastodon. There's - let's say if you are farming and your crop fails, well, you're not standing there like well I'm in trouble.

Chuck Bryant

Yeah, I'm going to die now.

Josh Clark

You can say hey, neighbor, I'll totally give you favors of some variety if you will let me have some of your grain.

Chuck Bryant

Right. I'll give you a chicken, let's say.

Josh Clark

Sure. You could trade.

Chuck Bryant

Yeah, barter.

Josh Clark

There's a lot of reasons people live together. So it's my theory that people aggregate together naturally.

Chuck Bryant

Yes.

Josh Clark

And then there are people out there who get their jollies by studying these groups of people. They're called demographers.

Chuck Bryant

Yeah, demographers.

Josh Clark

So we have populations, natural or otherwise. And let's say a natural population, today, are people who live in a certain state.

Chuck Bryant

Yeah, Georgians, that's where we are.

Josh Clark

Right. So you have natural populations, and demographers study them, right?

Chuck Bryant

Sure.

Josh Clark

And they look at things like, say how many people in this natural population are Republicans.

Chuck Bryant

Or Democrat or how many are Caucasian.

Josh Clark

Right.

Chuck Bryant

Or how many have - how many live below the poverty line, all kinds of things you can study.

Josh Clark

Right.

Chuck Bryant

By looking at a population.

Josh Clark

And are these groups segregated, like you brought up. If you study where different races are living, are they living, mingling? If so, then that's probably a fairly harmonious place, hopefully. If not, why are they living apart? How can we fix this because it's probably a problem?

Chuck Bryant

Sure.

Josh Clark

Who knows? But yeah, so demographers study populations, natural or otherwise, right?

Chuck Bryant

Yes.

Josh Clark

The problem is very few people have the ability to hover over the earth and use super binocular vision to study populations by sight.

Chuck Bryant

Yeah, very few people, like three or four, I think.

Josh Clark

Tops.

Chuck Bryant

So -

Josh Clark

Does that count as a statistic?

Chuck Bryant

I think so. Richard.

Josh Clark

Okay.

Chuck Bryant

So measuring populations, is that what you're going to talk about? How do we actually determine this kind of thing?

Josh Clark

Yeah, that was my segue.

Chuck Bryant

That was a good segue. There's a couple of ways, Josh.

Josh Clark

No, it wasn't.

Chuck Bryant

One is by counting them, literally counting them like a census.

Josh Clark

Counting every single person.

Chuck Bryant

Right, and that is called complete enumeration.

Josh Clark

Yeah. Remember we talked about that poor guy who was killed or possibly killed himself in Kentucky, the census taker?

Chuck Bryant

Right. Oh, I didn't know that suicide was a possibility there.

Josh Clark

I've got a cryptic e-mail from somebody and I never followed up on it that said that - he identified himself as a doctor. And I think said that he was part of the group that was - the medical examination team, and said that they suspected, strongly suspected suicide.

Chuck Bryant

Really?

Josh Clark

My problem with it is how do you bind yourself in duct tape?

Chuck Bryant

I don't know.

Josh Clark

How do you bind your own wrists in duct tape?

Chuck Bryant

I'll show you later.

Josh Clark

Okay. So my point is - wow, you threw me off with that one. My point is that he was called an enumerator.

Chuck Bryant

Yes.

Josh Clark

Literally, counter.

Chuck Bryant

And that's the people who work for the census, whenever they had their drive and they count.

Josh Clark

Right.

Chuck Bryant

And that's one way to determine it.

Josh Clark

Well, let's talk about the census. It's gone on every ten years since 1790, right?

Chuck Bryant

Yeah.

Josh Clark

And the reason they do it every ten years is because it's a real pain in the ass to count every person in America.

Chuck Bryant

Yeah, the real reason they do it is so they can - well there's a lot of reasons.

Josh Clark

No, reveal it.

Chuck Bryant

Taxes.

Josh Clark

Exactly.

Chuck Bryant

Taxes, taxes.

Josh Clark

Exactly. That is the reason why anyone's ever conducted a census.

Chuck Bryant

Plus they determine the number of House Representatives for your state, based on population, stuff like that.

Josh Clark

Oh yeah, there's that too.

Chuck Bryant

But you know, come on, taxes.

Josh Clark

Did you know that the census information is kept secret for 72 years?

Chuck Bryant

Yeah, aside from the numbers, I believe.

Josh Clark

Right.

Chuck Bryant

The public cannot see that information for 72 years.

Josh Clark

Right.

Chuck Bryant

I wonder why 72. That's odd.

Josh Clark

It is odd.

Chuck Bryant

I wonder if that was the average lifespan at the time or something.

Josh Clark

Dude.

Chuck Bryant

That's got to be it.

Josh Clark

I'll bet you're right.

Chuck Bryant

Okay. The other way, Josh is to do something called sampling. And that is when statisticians use a mathematical formula to determine the minimum number of people that must be counted and then they multiply that out and basically end up getting the full population. And sometimes - I didn't know this - that's even more accurate than an actual head count.

Josh Clark

Right. You see that margin of error and it's like plus or minus four percent.

Chuck Bryant

Yeah, you've got to have a margin or error there, whenever you're sampling.

Josh Clark

Right, because you're not actually going around, asking every single person in America are you left handed, to determine how many people are left handed.

Chuck Bryant

Yeah.

Josh Clark

But let's say you have a population of 1,000, and some statistician has been like you need 100 - do it.

Chuck Bryant

What?

Josh Clark

Do your egghead voice.

Chuck Bryant

No.

Josh Clark

You need 150 people.

Chuck Bryant

150 people that are left handed and you can just multiply that out to determine that there are, in fact, how many people?

Josh Clark

Let's say ten percent of the population.

Chuck Bryant

Ten percent of the population.

Josh Clark

Right. That was perfect, Chuck. Your sample has to be a random sample to be an effective sample.

Chuck Bryant

Yeah, and you know how they used to do that?

Josh Clark

Uh-huh.

Chuck Bryant

They used to just pick it out of the phonebook.

Josh Clark

Oh, I know.

Chuck Bryant

And call people.

Josh Clark

I know. That makes sense, to a certain extent, no, it doesn't.

Chuck Bryant

Well, back then it made a little more sense.

Josh Clark

I would think it made less sense, especially if you're talking like 1950 or something.

Chuck Bryant

Well, it depends on what year. I'd say in the 1980s, it was probably a good way. But now there's cell phones. People in college probably don't have a phone.

Josh Clark

Poor people who don't have phones at all.

Chuck Bryant

Poor people who don't have phones, sure. So that's not a very good way.

Josh Clark

What about freight train riders of America?

Chuck Bryant

What's that?

Josh Clark

They don't have phones.

Chuck Bryant

Good point. They're not allowed.

Josh Clark

I don't think they want them. So sampling is a little harder than it seems.

Chuck Bryant

Yeah.

Josh Clark

Especially coming up with a random population, random sample of the population. But okay, so far we've talked about people and where they live.

Chuck Bryant

Right.

Josh Clark

There's other ways to define a population. There's other attributes that people have that we use to lump into populations, right?

Chuck Bryant

Yeah, it's not just geography when people think populations. It's not just a city population.

Josh Clark

Or state.

Chuck Bryant

Yes, age.

Josh Clark

Or nation.

Chuck Bryant

Age, you can have a population of age.

Josh Clark

Or continent.

Chuck Bryant

A demographic.

Josh Clark

Right.

Chuck Bryant

What else? Location, of course! Socioeconomic populations.

Josh Clark

Let's talk about age. Why would you even want to know age? Who cares? People are old. People are young. Whatever!

Chuck Bryant

Right. Well there's a lot of factors, like take the baby boom, for instance. After World War II, all these babies were born. So there was a bulge in the population. I just like saying the word, bulge.

Josh Clark

You've got to do the air quotes.

Chuck Bryant

Air quotes.

Josh Clark

Yeah.

Chuck Bryant

So what that will show them, then, is wow, we've got a bulge here. So that means probably in 25 to 60 years, there's going to be some serious buying power.

Josh Clark

Right. Let's start bowering as much money as we can right now.

Chuck Bryant

Right. But it also means in 70 plus years, that they may be a medical burden and a burden on Social Security and that kind of thing.

Josh Clark

Right. So let's start borrowing as much money as we can right now.

Chuck Bryant

Right. Same result there. I like that.

Josh Clark

and we'll get to bulges again in a little bit.

Chuck Bryant

Yes.

Josh Clark

but let's move on. Like you said, socioeconomic data, right?

Chuck Bryant

Yeah, why would they want to do this, Josh?

Josh Clark

This one, I find this the most interesting of all data. You can look at a bunch of people who are maybe related, geographically, but other than that aren't related in any other way.

Chuck Bryant

Sure.

Josh Clark

And all of them, suddenly, have this horrible cancer and there just so happens to be some paint manufacturer nearby. What did you say?

Chuck Bryant

High tension wires.

Josh Clark

Sure, which has been proven, I think to not actually have any effect on people.

Chuck Bryant

Not in my book, buddy.

Josh Clark

So now, all of a sudden, you have this information, thanks to your demographer friend who went and collected it. And you can say okay, paint factory, you guys better start giving away some free paint.

Chuck Bryant

Yeah.

Josh Clark

Or we're going to sue you.

Chuck Bryant

Yeah, true. Race, that's a little more hinky because technically, there is no such thing as any difference in different races.

Josh Clark

I remember watching MTV years and years and years ago and the VeeJay was interviewing the Beastie Boys. And he was like Mike D., I hear you're dating a black girl. What's it like dating somebody from a different race, which is just an asinine question to begin with. But I remember Mike D. going there's only one race, the human race. And I was like Mike D. is right. Five words, Mike D.

Chuck Bryant

That was clearly before he was down with Ione. Oh no, that was Ad-Rock, sorry.

Josh Clark

Yeah, Ad-Rock's down with the Ione.

Chuck Bryant

Yeah, they're divorced though, so he's not down with her any more.

Josh Clark

Poor Ione.

Chuck Bryant

So yeah, race is a little hinky, but you can actually determine some useful things when you study populations of race because it's important for people to be involved in their culture and to hang on to that, for sure.

Josh Clark

I guess racial profiling, again, I don't know if I should say again or not, but it's such a hot button issue.

Chuck Bryant

Right.

Josh Clark

That yeah, I don't know. We need to talk about it collectively. That's my answer for everything. Everybody needs to get together and decide what we want to do, okay.

Chuck Bryant

Well the other thing with race though is if there's a medical problem specific to that race, that can help out.

Josh Clark

Exactly.

Chuck Bryant

Sure.

Josh Clark

All right. So, Chuck, we've got all these different factors.

Chuck Bryant

Yes.

Josh Clark

Attributes, variables. We've used the word demographer several times. So we know that people study populations. One of the reasons why we study populations is to see how big it's getting.

Chuck Bryant

Yeah.

Josh Clark

And I've got to tell you, buddy, the human population is kind of exploded on this planet in the last several thousand years.

Chuck Bryant

But you know what? Reading these stats, there were a lot more people here way back when than I thought.

Josh Clark

Yeah, again, favorite book of all time, 1491, Charles C. Mann, he basically points out that there was probably 100 million people on the North - or in the Americas in 1491.

Chuck Bryant

That's awesome.

Josh Clark

Which is a fifth of the world population! It's way more than anyone thought.

Chuck Bryant

Yeah.

Josh Clark

And the reason why is because 1492, Columbus shows up. Smallpox just ravages both continents. And by the time the European settlers start coming, for real, the place is decimated. It seems like there's nobody there.

Chuck Bryant

Right. Well he had the whole genocide too thing. Did you ever know about that, Columbus?

Josh Clark

I hear his men used to sharpen their knives on the skulls of live natives.

Chuck Bryant

Well there's the - because genocide we talk about later on in the article. But there's speculation that Columbus may have been responsible for the worst mass genocide in human history.

Josh Clark

Wow.

Chuck Bryant

By completely wiping out the Taino, Taino Indian people.

Josh Clark

Really?

Chuck Bryant

And that was in Hispaniola, which is modern day, I think, Haiti and Dominican Republic. And some people say there were only like 500,000 of them, and some people say there was as many as 15 million at the time that were decimated to about 2,000.

Josh Clark

Decimated through violence or through disease?

Chuck Bryant

Well through violence because Columbus came over, set up a camp in Hispaniola with about 40 people and then left. Came back on trip number two and found that the Indian tribe there had killed all those people. So he went on a kill crazy rampage, basically, and completely wiped out the population. And they're saying it may have been like double the size of the holocaust.

Josh Clark

Wow. So Happy Columbus Day everybody!

Chuck Bryant

Seriously. But we do mention that because genocide is a way that population can change rapidly.

Josh Clark

Well let's talk about population growth.

Chuck Bryant

Yes.

Josh Clark

All right. So I guess about 10,000 B.C., they estimate that there's between one and 10 million humans. So we're starting to slowly grow, because by 1,000 B.C., there's 50 million. And then by 600 CE, we're at 200 million.

Chuck Bryant

See, that's a lot more than I thought there would be at the time.

Josh Clark

Yeah, I think there was about 500 million in the mid 15th Century.

Chuck Bryant

Crazy.

Josh Clark

So let's say there's 500 million in the mid 15th Century. The 20th Century, the Industrial Revolution has happened.

Chuck Bryant

Yeah.

Josh Clark

There have been great leaps in science and medicine.

Chuck Bryant

That's when populations really grow was during those big booms.

Josh Clark

Yeah, because it lends itself to fertility, higher in fertility and longer life spans.

Chuck Bryant

Good times breed kids.

Josh Clark

So the 20th Century hits. We're at 1.5 billion people.

Chuck Bryant

Indeed.

Josh Clark

And then this century, the population of the world has quadrupled.

Chuck Bryant

Yeah.

Josh Clark

I know that sounded like there should have been a drum roll there.

Chuck Bryant

Maybe there was.

Josh Clark

But I'm impressed by that.

Chuck Bryant

Jeri might have put one in there, our producer Jeri.

Josh Clark

We'll find out later.

Chuck Bryant

And Josh, they're projecting, the U.S. Census Bureau projects by the end of year 2050, there will be 10 billion people.

Josh Clark

Right, so the reason for this is what we call the Malthusian growth model.

Chuck Bryant

Yes.

Josh Clark

Malthus was a 18th Century clergyman.

Chuck Bryant

Yeah, Thomas.

Josh Clark

Uh-huh. He, actually, I guess inadvertently became one of the great economic theorists. And he figured out that population growths exponentially. So if you have one million people and they have enough kids to double the population, but the next generation, you have four million people. So in one full generation, you've gone from one million to four million people.

Chuck Bryant

Right.

Josh Clark

Right?

Chuck Bryant

Yeah.

Josh Clark

That's big.

Chuck Bryant

It is.

Josh Clark

Especially when the planet is finite in size.

Chuck Bryant

Right.

Josh Clark

And we don't have the ability to go colonize other planets yet.

Chuck Bryant

Right. But it's not necessarily that incremental and steady because of what we talked about, which are bulges or spikes and bottlenecks, like genocide.

Josh Clark

Right, yeah, so it doesn't always grow steadily. And actually, Chuck, have you heard of the replacement rate?

Chuck Bryant

No.

Josh Clark

The replacement rate is how many kids a woman has to have to have a high statistical probability of having a daughter so that she, in essence, replaces herself. And right now it's 2.33 is the replacement rate, worldwide. And the point of it is to trend toward zero population growth.

Chuck Bryant

Right.

Josh Clark

So for every woman who dies, she has a daughter that can reproduce and continue on and continue on and continue on. So you have, overall, as many people dying as are being born. So there's no strain and there's also no dearth of people.

Chuck Bryant

Well it's equilibrium. Reading this reminded me of when we did our big econ audio book. It's kind of population kind of wants to seek equilibrium, I think, just like economics does.

Josh Clark

And it doesn't always happen organically. I should say it probably rarely happens organically. Let's think about like you said the baby boom. Post war success in Europe and the U.S. and Canada, I guess, led to a huge boom in the population. Nobody went to war to grow the population. It was just an indirect effect. So all of a sudden, we had a population spike that created a bulge.

Chuck Bryant

A bulge, if you will.

Josh Clark

Things can go the other way too, which is a bottleneck, right?

Chuck Bryant

Yeah, and that's - god if I say genocide one more time. We should do a podcast on genocide.

Josh Clark

I wonder if there's a drinking game where every time you say genocide.

Chuck Bryant

Seriously. Genocide, drink! Famine, disease, something called the plague, I think, wiped out half the world population at one point or half the population of Europe.

Josh Clark

Yeah, the suspect that in the 5th Century, that would be CE, the Plague of Justinian may have killed as many as half the world's population, 100 million people.

Chuck Bryant

Unbelievable.

Josh Clark

Can you imagine walking around at that time, like holy crap, the entire - half the world is dead.

Chuck Bryant

Yeah.

Josh Clark

Just died in the last couple of years. It's crazy.

Chuck Bryant

And the Black Death killed 20 to 30 million Europeans.

Josh Clark

Yeah. So plagues can happen. There's also - I was talking to an evolutionary geneticist, as is my way.

Chuck Bryant

Sure, at lunch today.

Josh Clark

Recently. And he was talking about a study he authored where they found two evolutionary bottlenecks, one coming out of Africa. They suggested 50,000 years ago and another one that happened along the Bering land bridge.

Chuck Bryant

Right.

Josh Clark

And he wasn't saying like all of a sudden a bunch of people died. But these bottlenecks turned up because big groups of people separated into smaller groups of people, which accounts for a loss of genetic diversity.

Chuck Bryant

Gotcha.

Josh Clark

So you have the founder's effect because as he put it, if you take - if you go into a town and grab the first 15 people you meet, and say let's go found a new town, that new town isn't going to have a representative sample of all the surnames in that town. If you do that enough times, some surnames are going to be lost because people didn't reproduce or whatever. The same thing happens with genes and genetic diversity.

Chuck Bryant

Wow, look at you. Good stuff.

Josh Clark

Thanks.

Chuck Bryant

Can I mention this place in Hong Kong?

Josh Clark

Yeah.

Chuck Bryant

We were talking about, or we should mention population density is the number of humans per unit area, whatever unit you choose to call it. And the highest ever is believed to have been a place called Kowloon Walled city in Hong Kong. And at one point, evidently, there were 50,000 people in a mega-block, which is 500 by 650 feet.

Josh Clark

Yeah.

Chuck Bryant

50,000 people stuffed in there.

Josh Clark

And it, apparently, was a lawless district, the Grabster says.

Chuck Bryant

Of course. Are you kidding me?

Josh Clark

Well 50,000 people could conceivably get along.

Chuck Bryant

Yeah, Hand Across America style.

Josh Clark

Did you know that in Athens, when Widespread Panic played that free show, there was an estimated 100,000 people there. Not one fight.

Chuck Bryant

Really?

Josh Clark

Yeah.

Chuck Bryant

That's because they were all on dope.

Josh Clark

The dope.

Chuck Bryant

I wasn't there. Were you there?

Josh Clark

No.

Chuck Bryant

Yeah, I never got into them. Although I did hang out with that guy, the bass player!

Josh Clark

Dave Schools.

Chuck Bryant

Yeah, I hung out with him a couple of times, just through friends.

Josh Clark

Sure.

Chuck Bryant

Anyway, that park is no - I'm sorry. It is now a park where the walled city used to be.

Josh Clark

Yeah, which is the opposite of the highest -

Chuck Bryant

Population density.

Josh Clark

Exactly.

Chuck Bryant

Ironically.

Josh Clark

It's just a park. Maybe the highest population of grass, but that's it.

Chuck Bryant

So what have we got here, Josh? We've got population control is something that we've referenced before with our China one child policy.

Josh Clark

Yeah, and we talked about why you would want to control a population. A huge group of people put a strain on resources.

Chuck Bryant

Sure.

Josh Clark

When resources go away, you have resource conflict, like in Darfur, again -

Chuck Bryant

Genocide, sadly.

Josh Clark

There's all sort of problems that come from too many people coming or living in one place because of the strain it puts on resources and resource allocation.

Chuck Bryant

Right.

Josh Clark

And yeah, you can control the population, state mandated reproduction.

Chuck Bryant

Right, i.e. China.

Josh Clark

Right. And that actually works, as China shows, although much to the detriment of some people. Thank you, Chuck, for that look.

Chuck Bryant

Not everyone thinks - some people think we should add more people, though, like Japan.

Josh Clark

Yeah. In other countries, there's a problem of population decline. So we talked about the strain people put on an area. That's carrying capacity, which we've talked about before. And that's also from Malthus.

Chuck Bryant

Right.

Josh Clark

That eventually, human population is going to outstrip advances in technology or our resources and we're screwed.

Chuck Bryant

Right.

Josh Clark

On the other side is population shrinking. What's the problem with that?

Chuck Bryant

Well you don't want the population to shrink too much because you need those hands to go to work and to contribute to the economy and to grow the grain and sow the flower and all that good stuff. Apparently, in Russia, Japan and Australia, they all have incentive programs to make little babies.

Josh Clark

Sure.

Chuck Bryant

How about that?

Josh Clark

Which is the way to go! Remember John Foler's famous quote when he was pitching an article about that program in Russia and he was talking about Putin giving away a TV.

Chuck Bryant

Oh yeah, that's right. That was really funny. Have a baby, get a TV.

Josh Clark

I think you had to be there. And Chuck, the reason why some of these places are seeing a population shrink and are having to give incentives to reproduce, it started in about 1960.

Chuck Bryant

Birth control.

Josh Clark

That's so crazy that it had that much of an effect that pronounced of an effect.

Chuck Bryant

Well, it would seem like it would, though.

Josh Clark

I guess so.

Chuck Bryant

Because it's called birth control.

Josh Clark

Sure. Before that, it was called have as many babies as you possibly can.

Chuck Bryant

Right, it was called no control.

Josh Clark

Right. All right, so clearly, there's a lot of reasons to study people.

Chuck Bryant

Yeah, this was way more interesting than I thought it would be.

Josh Clark

There's a lot of stuff to study, too.

Chuck Bryant

Indeed.

Josh Clark

You can find out whether or not we're going to kill the planet or whether people need to stop using contraceptives or what your chances are of Putin giving you a free TV.

Chuck Bryant

Right.

Josh Clark

It's all in there. Demographers know everything.

Chuck Bryant

All there for the taking.

Josh Clark

So when your friendly enumerator comes knocking on your door, don't chase him off your land with your dog or a gun. Let him in. Give him some lemonade, maybe some cookies.

Chuck Bryant

Yeah, check their laminate first before you let them in.

Josh Clark

Yeah. COA, Chuck, good going. And if you want to know more about population, you can read Grabianowski's great article on the site. Just type in population in the handy search bar at HowStuffWorks.com, which of course leads us to listener mail!

Chuck Bryant

Josh, I'm just going to call this your turn at listener mail because I think you have to - you want to talk about somebody.

Josh Clark

Yeah. I don't, necessarily, have too much listener mail, per se. But I just wanted to give a shout out to a couple of fellow Toledoans, one who's a long time resident and one who's a recent transplant. Christopher is holding the fort down in Toledo for me.

Chuck Bryant

Keeping it real.

Josh Clark

He has officially lobbied the congresswoman from Toledo to get me the key to the city.

Chuck Bryant

Dude.

Josh Clark

How awesome would that be? Yeah, so Marcy Kepter, if you're listening, I would like that.

Chuck Bryant

If you get a key to the city, we've got to go for a ceremony and I, at least, want to get like a keychain to the city.

Josh Clark

Okay.

Chuck Bryant

You can have the key, but I get the keychain.

Josh Clark

We'll see what we can do. So yeah, Christopher has officially petitioned her. He suggested that I'm the third most famous Toledoan of all time.

Chuck Bryant

After Jamie Farr.

Josh Clark

Jamie Farr, Danny Thomas.

Chuck Bryant

Oh yeah, yeah.

Josh Clark

The great entertainer.

Chuck Bryant

Sure.

Josh Clark

And then me. And I was like I think you're forgetting Katie Holmes. She's from Toledo.

Chuck Bryant

Is she?

Josh Clark

And he's like no, you got her beat.

Chuck Bryant

No, Kate Cruse, you mean?

Josh Clark

Oh, is it Kate Cruse, now?

Chuck Bryant

Yeah. Give me a break.

Josh Clark

So anyway, thanks a lot for the effort, Christopher, even if it doesn't come to fruition. If it does, you will get a firm handshake and a free Friendly's sundae of your choosing from me.

Chuck Bryant

Oh, I love Friendly's.

Josh Clark

Yeah, we'll be going to Friendly's if we go to Toledo.

Chuck Bryant

Sure.

Josh Clark

And then I also want to say hi to Colin, who is a recent transplant, as I said, from Colorado, I believe.

Chuck Bryant

Who moves from Colorado to Toledo?

Josh Clark

He moved to Toledo to attend Bowling Green State University. Go Falcons. My brother went there. And Colin did so in an 88 Dodge Colt that's having a couple of problems. One, the rear struts are completely detached and the axle is holding on by atread, he says. And the mechanics didn't want him to leave when he took it in for a service. They're like you're going to die in this thing. And the other problem is that it has ants, he says.

Chuck Bryant

I never heard of a car having ants.

Josh Clark

I had ants in a car once.

Chuck Bryant

Really?

Josh Clark

You can't get rid of them when they come in.

Chuck Bryant

That's probably when you were living in the car, which was probably always parked on the ant hill.

Josh Clark

This was actually prior to that when I lived in the car. But yeah, no, it's a real problem. And Colin has basically just bit the bullet and said well, I have ants in my car now. He loves his 88 Dodge Colt. He said he loves Toledo. He's enjoying it. He went to Tony Packos, as I suggested.

Chuck Bryant

I've got to try that one day.

Josh Clark

I also told him to go to Rusty's Jazz Café.

Chuck Bryant

Nice.

Josh Clark

It's as authentic as it comes, awesome. So hey, Christopher! Hey, Colin. You guys enjoy yourselves. Be safe in Toledo.

Chuck Bryant

Heck yeah. Go Mud Hens.

Josh Clark

Go Mud Hens. And thanks for writing in. And if you want to say hi to me or Chuck or both of us!

Chuck Bryant

Chuckers or Jeri.

Josh Clark

Right, Chuckers, Jeri, Chuck or I, I mean Chuck or me, Chuck and me.

Chuck Bryant

Right.

Josh Clark

You can put that in an e-mail to StuffPodcast@HowStuffWorks.com.Announcer: For more on this and thousands of other topics, visit HowStuffWorks.com. Want more How Stuff Works? Check out our blogs on the HowStuffWorks.com home page.