Thomas Robert Malthus

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Surrey, England
Birth Sign
Surrey, England

Reverend Thomas Robert Malthus, a well-known British preacher and academic, was influential in the fields of political economy and demography. He was a Royal Society Fellow and is well-known for his population theories. An Essay on the Principles of Population, his most famous work, proposed a contradictory theory of evolution and population against what was popular at the time. It gave an opposing viewpoint, arguing that the rate at which the population was rising will soon outpace the rate at which food was produced, resulting in starvation. He was more concerned with long-term stability than with short-term expediency. He also opposed the Poor Laws and backed the Corn Laws, which imposed a tariff on wheat imports from the United Kingdom. He was, unfortunately, the most misunderstood and maligned economist in history. His Malthusian economy theory is supposed to convey a dismal view of the human population, which is doomed to hunger due to overpopulation. In the twentieth century, his thoughts and theories gained popularity only after the introduction of Keynesian economics. He is, nevertheless, nonetheless regarded as the most divisive writer and economist of all time.

Childhood and Adolescence

Thomas Robert Malthus was born in Surrey, England, to Daniel and Henrietta Malthus. He was the couple’s seventh child.

Malthus had his early education in Bramcote, Nottinghamshire, where he grew up. He did not begin formal study until 1782, when he enrolled at the Warrington Academy. Unfortunately for him, the Academy was closed down in 1783.

In 1784, he won admission at Jesus College, Cambridge. He learned not only English narrative but also Latin and Greek while at Cambridge College.

After graduating from the same, he went on to pursue a Master’s degree, which he received in 1791. He was elected a Fellow of Jesus College two years later.

He became a curate at the Oakwood Chapel in the parish of Wotton, Surrey, in 1789, following the Church of England’s directives.

Career of Thomas Robert Malthus

His most famous book, ‘Essay on the Principle of Population,’ was published in 1798. Although the work was not well welcomed at the time, it contended that the world’s ability to sustain itself will be harmed as the population grew.
He asserted that if the rate of population growth remained constant, it would definitely outpace the rate of land development for agriculture.

The work sparked a variety of debates because it ran counter to popular belief at the time. However, with the emergence of Keynesian economics in the twentieth century, his ideas and arguments became popular once more.
After being thrust into the limelight, he continued to pen his ideals and convictions, publishing six versions of ‘An Essay on the Principle of Population’ between 1798 and 1826.

Each edition of ‘An Essay on the Principle of Population’ was revised and updated from the previous one, presenting a new account with new points of view, critique of the previous one, and newly discovered shifts in perspective. It also gave suggestions on how society as a whole should better in the future.

In 1799, he and two close friends, Edward Daniel Clarke and John Marten, embarked on a journey of Europe. He gathered population data throughout the tour.

During the Amiens Peace of 1802, he relocated to France and Switzerland. He was made a rector of Walesby, Lincolnshire, the following year.

He became the first person to occupy the academic position of Professor of History and Political Economy at the East India Company College in Hertfordshire in 1805. Because of his works, he was given the nickname ‘Pop’ or ‘Population’ Malthus.

He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1818. He was a participant in the ‘Malthus-Ricardo debate’ at the start of the 1820s decade, where both of them expressed their ideas and proponents of political economics. They even talked about the nature of rent and its worth.

He was a founding member of the Political Economy Club in 1821. Three years later, he was elected as one of the Royal Society of Literature’s ten royal associates.

He was elected as one of the initial fellows of the Statistical Society in 1834, the same year it was created.

Personal History and Legacy

He married Harriet Eckersall, daughter of John Eckersall of Claverton House, St. Catherine’s, near Bath, Somerset, in 1804. Two children, a son and a daughter, were born to the couple.
Henry, his son, became a vicar at Effingham, Surrey, in 1835 and Donnington, West Sussex, in 1837.
On December 23, 1834, he died suddenly at his father-in-home. law’s Bath Abbey was where he was laid to rest.

Estimated Net Worth

The estimated Net Worth of Thomas Robert Malthus is unknown.


This English economist is best known for his population growth theories, which have had a huge impact.