In the original Homeworld, we rescue cryo-trays with approximately 600,000 able bodied Kushan stored on-board. The in-game mothership is nowhere near large enough to fit this amount of bodies, but let’s ignore that part.
The mothership crew fights its way across the galaxy to Hiigara and conquers it. When they reawaken the sleepers, it is said that many of them committed suicide and others were killed during the early years of rebuilding. War against the Taiidani also likely claimed thousands of lives. We leave the Hiigarans with a population of around 500,000 men and women at the end of HW1 and Cataclysm. Now, fast forward a century to Homeworld 2.
In the last mission, we have a counter at the bottom showing that there are 180 million Hiigarans on Hiigara when the final battle begins. It may seem like a miniscule number compared to Earth’s 7 billion, but let’s put it in context:
0- Kushan land on Hiigara with 500,000
115- The Kushan population has gone to at least 180 million
In fact, 180 million is likely an underestimate because by the time the Sajuuk returns, Hiigara has been under siege for days, maybe a week or two. We see all kinds of massive debris raining down on the cities and prior to that we saw Hiigaran tanks on the ground, implying the Vaygr were possibly planing a land invasion as well. Even with a conservative estimate of just 20 million killed during cataclysmic orbital combat, that brings the number up to 200 million.
200 million Kushan… that is 400 times the amount of Kushan allive at the conclusion of Homeworld 1. Let’s see if that is realistic.
For the sake of the argument lets also put the odds unrealistically in the Kushan’s favor: Every Kushan couple has a kid every year from the age of 15 until the age of 45. In other words, in the first year after landing, each couple has 1 kid. Also for the sake of giving the Kushan a better run, lets assume the average age of the Kushan at landing was 20. There would be 250,000 babies in the first year, and the same amount every year for the next 15 years. In 15 years after landfall, the next generation would be fertile enough. Now, that set of 250,000 babies will have 125,000 babies this year and their parents become infertile the same year. Next year comes and the next set of children become fertile. They decide to have children too, and the previous matured children have babies again, bringing the baby count for this year up to 250,000. Following year, it’s going to be 375,000 babies. Then 500,000 babies.
Under This Model they will completely overpopulate Hiigara and use up all its natural resources by a century later, but let’s also think about how realistic this system is. Under this model, we are assuming nearly a 50% annual population growth rate.
To put this into perspective, the highest annual population growth of any country in the last 5 years was 11.2%, in Qatar… very far away from those 50%. What’s even more important is that these figures include immigration into the country, not just newborns- which probably constitute only several percent of that.
Such population growth sprees like Qatar’s also happen to be unsustainable. After 2010, Qatar’s growth rate plunged dramatically, to just 5.6% in 2013 and is likely even lower today. This makes sense- there may be a year when many families decide they need to have a baby due to some sort of circumstances affecting most of society… but are they really going to have a child every year after that? The answer is no. There is no way that a 15 year old couple would begin to have a child every year of their life from 15-45. No couple wants or often can even have 30 children.
Qatar’s growth in 2010 is also something of an anomaly. The average growth rate across Earth appears to be within the range of 1-2%, with many shrinking and most other “fast growers” scoring only about 3% growth.
So with all those statistics in mind, what could the Kushan population realistically look like 115 years after landfall? Assuming a stable average growth of 5% annually, which would be an accomplishment, the Kushan could probably achieve 75 million at best- nothing close to the 180 million we see in Homeworld 2. Even this is a perfect situation.
If we factor in the way real society responds to hardships such as those the Kushan faced after landfall, we would likely see a shrinkage in population, or at most a 1-2.5% growth rate. Then, Hiigara would only have a tiny population of 1 to 6 million.
So, how did Hiigara get from 500,000 to 200,000,000? Cloning… Well, maybe not.
Discuss your thoughts on how realistic the population growth we see is.