Population growth can lead to increased violence

Population growth can lead to increased violence
Population growth can lead to increased violence

Using the example of archaeological data, Japanese scientists have shown that the growth of violence in society can provoke a demographic overload.


There is a hypothesis that population growth may lead to a shortage of resources. This, in turn, will entail competition and conflict. Despite the fact that many are convinced of this state of affairs, there is very little research on this topic.

To fill the gap, scientists from Okayama University (Japan) examined skeletal remains and burial vessels from the Middle Yayoi period (350 BC to 25 AD). It is this period in Japanese history that is considered a time of significant growth in violence in society compared to the previous Jomon.

The inhabitants of the Yayoi period were engaged in agriculture, they had developed weapons, as a result of which closed settlements arose. There were wars between them, accompanied by intergroup violence. But those who lived during the Jomon period were mainly engaged in pottery, hunting and gathering, so they had fewer conflicts.

Japanese scholars have been able to carry out a comparative analysis of the demographics of both periods, using well-dated burial jars as a proxy for population and arable land. In addition, the researchers calculated the frequency of violence and found out the percentage of people injured through skeletal remains.

They published their findings in the Journal of Archaeological Science. It turned out that the highest rate of injured people was in the regions with the highest demographic burden. However, the peak population did not correlate with the incidence of violence. Scientists believe that there may be other factors that indirectly influence the growth of violence in society, in addition to the demographic overload of the Yayoi period. For example, the development of social hierarchy.

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