Modeling birth rate

Here’s an interesting question: how fast will Frasgird grow due to both birth rate and immigration? It strikes me that — absent both enabling technology and some sort of incentives — birth rate per se is going to be pretty low, perhaps at the rate of 5 live births per thousand women per year (which is between 1/2 and 1/3rd of the current US birth rate). Human history to date has shown an inverse relationship between wealth/tech level and birth rate; in addition to that, it would make sense that the same quantum recombination forces that appear to be making humans disappear would also depress the birth rate.

I have the colony starting out with a single housing complex, holding 1000 people (and capable of holding 5000). A birth rate of 5 live births/1000 women (LB/KW) would mean only about 3 births for the first year of the colony, so immigration is going to be the driving factor through the early stages of the game. Even with 10,000 colonists, you’re only looking at about 25 births/year — again, absent incentives to raise the birthrate.  However, to achieve the necessary genetic diversity, you will need not only to encourage live births, but to encourage intermarrying between groups that are genetically drifting from one another.

Now, as for immigration — the colony Frasgird will not necessarily look more attractive than where the various human groups currently live. So part of what you as the player will have to do is somehow advertise the colony to various human populations and provide incentives to move to Frasgird. I’m not sure yet how that will look.

Then there’s the issue of modeling populations in general, not just in the colony but on different planets (and in regions and cities on those planets). Said populations include not just genetically distinct human groups but the resident alien populations as well. I’m not concerned (for now, at least) with genetic diversity among the alien populations, but as I’ve mentioned before, I don’t want to fall into the cliche of representing a given alien species as having cultural, political, or even physical uniformity.

More later.

Filed Under: EconomicsGeneticsMainModelingThe Colony

About the Author

Webster has been doing game design since 1980, but only has one actual published game to his credit -- Sundog: Frozen Legacy (Apple II, 1984; Atari ST, 1985). This is his second.

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