Type: Vocabulary
Originally published on March 31, 2023 and last updated on May 14, 2023

The topic of overpopulation is a compelling conversation topic for ESL learners to improve their vocabulary and overall level of English. As one of the world’s most pressing issues, overpopulation affects many aspects of our lives, including the environment, economic structures and access to resources.

Discussing this topic requires learners to use a broad range of vocabulary, such as sustainable development and demographic transition, which can enhance their English proficiency.

Moreover, ESL learners can also practice expressing their opinions and ideas coherently, providing them with valuable language skills that can be applied to various situations in their personal and professional lives.

What is Overpopulation?

Overpopulation refers to the situation when the number of individuals living in a particular region or country exceeds the carrying capacity of that area. Carrying capacity is the maximum number of individuals that an environment can support without causing environmental degradation or depletion of resources.

Overpopulation is a growing concern worldwide, particularly in developing countries. It can cause various problems such as food and water shortages, inadequate housing, increased pollution, environmental degradation and a strain on the economy.

The population growth rate, fertility rate and migration patterns are some of the factors that contribute to overpopulation.

Go through the vocabulary below with your students and ask them to try and use this vocabaulry where possible when discussing the different conversation questions.

Useful Vocabulary

Try and use the following vocabulary when answering the question. Click to look up the definition in the dictionary

  • carrying capacity (noun)
  • limit (verb)
  • birth rate (noun)
  • dense (adjective)
  • migration (noun)
  • run out of (phrasal verb)
  • implement (verb)

Questions About Overpopulation

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  • How do you think overpopulation affects the environment and society?
  • What are some of the causes of overpopulation, and how can they be addressed?
  • How do population growth and demographic transition impact the economy and the environment?
  • Should governments implement policies to control population growth, such as limiting family size or promoting birth control?
  • What are the pros and cons of government policies aimed at managing population growth?
  • How can we ensure that resources are distributed fairly among the growing population?
  • Should developed countries take responsibility for addressing overpopulation in developing countries?
  • Is it ethical to restrict immigration to control population growth?
  • Should we prioritise the needs of the current population or the needs of future generations when addressing the issue of overpopulation?
  • What role can technology play in managing population growth and addressing the challenges of overpopulation?
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This conversation topic was prepared by Gregory

Gregory is a qualified TEFL teacher who has been teaching English as a Foreign Language (ESL) for over a decade. He has taught in-person classes in Spain and to English learners around the world online.