# Human Sacrifices and Population Growth

Does there exist a percentage of a population that can be safely sacrificed or otherwise "disappeared" and still maintain a steady population growth?

For example. Could a village of 1000 people (500 adult men and 500 adult women) steadily sacrifice a portion of its population and still maintain a growth?

Of course biological sex plays a heavy role here. If a villge loses half of its males, it can recover within a few generations. However if the village lost half of it`s women, it would take much longer.

• How many kid is it common to have and what is the infantile survival rate, also are they sacrificed as kids or adults, if sacrificed as kids, population growth will have an easier time May 2, 2018 at 3:37
• The sacrifices can be anyone of the villages choosing. They could choose to sacrifice all babies if they wanted to, but alternatively they could also choose old people and criminals. May 2, 2018 at 4:04
• yeah but I need numbers to answer the question, basically how many kids on average are had in a year, that survive, and how often is a sacrifice given? May 2, 2018 at 4:10
• These are humans for the sake of argument, every couple on average has 2 kids. Sacrifices are given every year. Also interesting to think if it was every day May 2, 2018 at 4:21
• Wait. 500 ADULT men and 500 ADULT women?! Where are the children and old people in this 1000-person village. May 2, 2018 at 10:39

You can look into Missing Persons statistics.

For example MissingPeople reported that ~250 000 people were reported missing in the UK in 2015/16. The UK Office of Statistics had a population of ~65 500 000 in 2016. This is means that the total reported missing people in the UK is ~0.38% of the total population.

The majority of people who go missing will return or be found within 24 hours (79%), only 2% will remain missing for longer than a week.

You can play around with other countries Missing People demographics to find the most extreme ratios. You will hardly consider these countries as having negative growth.

It will be alot harder in such a small community as in your question, but the statistics should still hold true. So if 1% of the population can go missing in typical population, then 1% should be able to go missing in a smaller community.

Remember, sacrifice involves Permanent Missing status not Runaway and Later Return status.

• You could also add in percentage of the population who have opted to become members of celibate religious orders (Buddhist monks, Catholic nuns, etc) because they have removed themselves from the breeding population. May 3, 2018 at 19:23

Sure it was only fairly recently that child mortality became rare with as many as half the infants not reaching adulthood back in the days when germs and antibiotics were unknown in many places.

In Polynesia diseases were almost non existent and families having 15 or more children was routine. For population growth to exist they could easily lose half their offspring and still be growing fast and in fact it's one of the basic reasons behind the endemic warfare.

So your village of 500 males and 500 females is totally capable of having 15 children per couple, leaving plenty of leeway for human sacrifice to go on and still grow. Even 10 children per couple could lose half their population and still grow.

• Endemic warfare as a method of honorable sacrifice / disposal of surplus males - yes. If you have a polygamous society with only the proven warriors allowed to start marrying, that is extra incentive for the dudes to go fight and also a way to remedy any resulting female / male imbalance. May 2, 2018 at 13:14

Okay so basically you can sustain a population and grow if you have 2 kids per couple and like maybe 2-3 sacrifices per year, maybe 4 or 5 because its common in tribal societies for women to die in labor and they are still here today, but don't go into the 30s or 40s cause that go to far over the natural death rates of people you could ride.

• Considering that there are 2 parents, with 2 kids per couple you can barely be on par, if you neglect deaths. You need at least 3 per couple to grow.
– L.Dutch
May 2, 2018 at 5:26

It depends on what the death rate for the group overall is compared to the birth rate. If the sacrifice is the only (or main) cause of death (that is, unless sacrficed its pretty much a given that someone lives long enough to breed) then yes,you should have a net gain in population over generations.

Like cattle, you can sacrifice most of the males and any over the breeding age with no real loss in population.

The issue will be the loss of genetics and the loss of labor. If you brought in males from elsewhere to avoid genetic stagnation, you could sacrifice all the males and have an Amazonian village of women.....

If you sacrifice the elderly; specifically any woman who has reached menopause, or any man who has become impotent; then you could sacrifice 100% of the people who reach that age and lose zero population growth. Depending on your industrialisation, health care quality, I would imagine that about 60% of people can expect to die by sacrifice, and an even greater fraction of women.