Population Growth: shit is a little wack

stellaris 4 - Population Growth: shit is a little wack

Sorry for the dumb title.

So for anyone who has taken highschool bio you're probably familiar with exponential growth, basically one bunny couple has kids, and each of those kids have kids and each of those kids have kids and so on. In numbers: 2 -> 4 -> 8 -> 16 -> 32 etc. (Hopefully the kids aren't just having kids with each other but I've always enjoyed Game of Thrones)

Basically every generation is bigger than the last one so population size kind of takes off slow and then skyrockets as long as there is food/space and you're not dying of disease or eaten by lions etc.

Annual World Population since 10 thousand BCE for OWID 800x498 - Population Growth: shit is a little wack

Earth Population Over Time (Turns out technology is kind of a big deal!)

That is not how it works in game at all.

For organic pops, its basically the same as robots and hiveminds, there's one factory/queen that poops out babies at a constant rate, regardless of how many babies are already living adult lives.

This gets kind of silly when you look at extreme examples.

A world with 10,000 pops ( and somehow still room for more, don't worry about it) will have fewer babies than two worlds with 1 pop each.

Because each of these 99% unoccupied worlds has its own baby factory, while the world that is a giant pile of writhing bodies has only one baby factory.

It's like there are extremely oppressive government laws mandating that you can only have two kids and them only once your grandparents die so that you're just treading water population wise, and there are a tiny amount of extra kid licenses granted each year but the amount is the same for every single planet and habitat…

I understand this is a game, not a simulator and we have to abstract things to make them work in a way that is balanced and fun, but this feature seems kind of poorly implemented to me.

It does not make sense that pops are the biggest limiting factor until the end game where the single baby factories have had enough time to fill your worlds.

You could have a Eucumopolis world filled with food and housing and luxuries, and instead of the population explosion you would expect… nope just your same growth as a backwater dirt moon.

The current system is largely fine for gameplay, realism aside, but it does penalize growing tall since… like we said a bunch of shitty moons with 1 pop are having waaaaaayy more babies than your super advanced Coruscant world with a trillion people.


It also makes things like incorporating primitives or buying slaves enormously important since the extra pops will put you decades or centuries ahead in terms of your available workforce to exploit the planets that desperately need workers but are only producing a new pop ever 20 years despite having shit tons of extra food housing and amenities etc. (Like a Gaia world with maxed districts sitting 95% empty for a decade, cmon people, fuck god dammit!)

It's like we're all playing races with some sort of debilitating genetic defects like the Krogan in Mass Effect that can barely do more than tread water.

I personally would like a system where pops can grow faster if there are more pops on a world, where pop growth increases if there are open housing and excess food/goods/amenities and one where things like overcrowding and resource crises are bigger issues if you just let people pop out kids until they exceed your carrying capacity.

I've never felt the need to build habitats or conquer worlds (and purge the inhabitants) because my existing pops need places to live, and I think that's wrong.

Overpopulation should be a much bigger risk than it is currently, you should be able to have a dynamic of explosive growth and ensuing crashes where you have giant unemployment and crime ridden favelas for your superfast unrestricted breeding space rabbits contrasting with the very slow but methodical and well managed space elephant societies that let in small amounts of space rabbits to help with the jobs they don't want to do.

Not accepting refugees should be more often about not having a way to support them or fear of demographics/ethics changes and less often about just hating filthy xenos.


  1. Currently biological pops reproduce like ants and roombas, not like normal animals and that's a little silly.

  2. I personally think they should change that and while they're at it make overpopulation a bigger risk and have more mechanics associated with it

The current system works okay, wonkiness aside I just feel like it could be expanded upon in a way that would add a lot to the battle of species, ethics and civilizations.

What do you guys think?

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