Would the world be better off with 90% of humans gone?

The question of whether the world would be “better off” with a significant reduction in the human population is deeply complex and touches on a variety of ethical, ecological, and social considerations. It’s essential to approach such a topic with sensitivity and awareness of the implications.

Ecological Perspective

From an ecological standpoint, the sudden decrease in the human population could lead to short-term environmental recovery. Reduced industrial activity, lower pollution levels, and decreased resource consumption could allow for the regeneration of natural habitats, biodiversity, and the stabilization of ecosystems that are currently under severe stress.

Social and Ethical Considerations

However, the social and ethical implications of such a scenario are profound:

  • Humanitarian Impact: The loss of 90% of the human population would be a catastrophic event of unprecedented scale, leading to immense suffering, loss of life, and the collapse of communities worldwide.
  • Cultural Loss: Such a reduction would likely result in the loss of a vast amount of cultural diversity, knowledge, languages, and traditions, impoverishing the human experience.
  • Economic and Infrastructural Collapse: The world’s economies and infrastructures (including healthcare, food production, and utilities) are deeply interconnected. A sudden drastic reduction in population could lead to widespread chaos, the collapse of economies, and the breakdown of societal order.
  • Survival and Recovery: The survivors of such an event would face enormous challenges in rebuilding society, including dealing with the psychological trauma of loss, the breakdown of social order, and the potential for conflict over remaining resources.

Philosophical and Moral Questions

The idea also raises fundamental philosophical and moral questions about the value of human life, the responsibilities we have towards each other, and the ways societies prioritize and manage resources and environmental stewardship.

Constructive Approaches

Instead of hypothesizing about drastic population reductions, a more constructive approach focuses on sustainable living, equitable resource distribution, technological innovation for environmental conservation, and global cooperation to address ecological challenges. Solutions like reducing carbon footprints, investing in renewable energy, sustainable agriculture, and conservation efforts are critical in mitigating environmental impact while respecting the dignity and value of all human lives.

Ultimately, the well-being of our planet and its inhabitants relies not on reducing the number of people but on changing how we live, consume, and interact with our environment. Encouraging responsible stewardship of the earth, promoting sustainability, and fostering global cooperation are essential steps towards a healthier planet inhabited by a thriving, conscientious human population.


Movies that explore scenarios where a significant portion of the human population is wiped out, often due to apocalyptic events, pandemics, or other catastrophic occurrences, delve into the aftermath and the challenges faced by the survivors. These films typically explore themes of survival, the nature of humanity, societal collapse, and the rebuilding of civilization. Here’s a list of movies that, while not always precisely hitting the 90% mark, involve scenarios where a substantial fraction of humanity is gone:

  1. “The Road” (2009): Based on Cormac McCarthy’s novel, this film depicts a father and son’s journey through a post-apocalyptic world, focusing on their survival in a landscape where most of humanity has perished due to an unspecified cataclysm.
  2. “I Am Legend” (2007): Starring Will Smith as a virologist in New York City, this movie explores the aftermath of a virus that transforms humans into vampire-like creatures, leaving Smith’s character as one of the last uninfected humans.
  3. “12 Monkeys” (1995): A convict is sent back in time to gather information about a man-made virus that wiped out the vast majority of the Earth’s population.
  4. “Children of Men” (2006): Set in a future where humans have become infertile and society is on the brink of collapse, this film follows the efforts to protect the first pregnant woman in 18 years.
  5. “Contagion” (2011): While not wiping out 90% of the population, this film realistically portrays the spread of a deadly virus and its devastating effects on society worldwide.
  6. “Wall-E” (2008): In this animated film, Earth is abandoned and covered in garbage, with most of humanity living in space, leaving robots to clean up.
  7. “Mad Max: Fury Road” (2015): Set in a post-apocalyptic desert wasteland where water and gasoline are scarce commodities, it depicts a society crumbled after a series of catastrophic events.
  8. “A Quiet Place” (2018): Following a family surviving in silence to avoid being hunted by creatures that have caused significant human extinction, it explores life in a world where making sound means death.
  9. “The Book of Eli” (2010): In a post-apocalyptic world, a lone man fights his way across America to protect a sacred book that holds the secrets to saving humanity.
  10. “The Last Man on Earth” (1964)/”Omega Man” (1971)/”I Am Legend” (2007): These films, all adaptations of Richard Matheson’s novel “I Am Legend,” variously depict a world devastated by plague that transforms humans into vampire-like beings.

These movies offer a variety of takes on the theme of significant human population reduction, ranging from action-packed adventures to more introspective examinations of human nature and society in the face of catastrophic losses. They often highlight the resilience of survivors and the enduring hope for humanity’s future, even in drastically changed worlds

Scroll to Top