How many vampires can exist without killing everyone?

<  How many vampires can exist without killing everyone?

The key is finding balance:

It’s worth checking out the full paper, if only to see a bigger version of the their spreadsheet (excerpted above) showing how the vampire-vs-human population evolves, month-by-month.

This would seem to strike a horrible blow to the whole concept of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, eh? And indeed, when this study came out last year, Buffy fans worldwide wept hot, bitter tears.

But wait! The whole point behind the Buffy universe is that there’s a slayer out there killing vampires and keeping their population down. This is something the authors didn’t consider in their paper. So couldn’t a vampire killer simply slaughter vampires as fast as they’re created?

Sure — except then the math gets even more interesting.

Because the thing about the Buffy universe is that the population of vampires is reasonably stable. There are a fair number of vampires around, but not enough to overwhelm the earth. But as it turns out, if you look at that chart above, there’s a very narrow vampire-population window at which equilibrium can be kept.

That’s because powers of two increase slowly at first, then at a hellacious rate. Think of it this way: According to the numbers calculated by the academics, at month five in the year 1600, there are only 16 vampires. That’s such a paltry number than any self-respecting slayer could quickly dispatch them in a few evenings, and the vampire menace would permanently be extinguished. But at month 12 — only a few months later — the number of vampires, unchecked, rises to 2,048. That’s probably too many vampires for a slayer to squelch in a single month.

Interesting discussion in the comments too.

Hat tip to Daily Grail.

Posted in Buffy, Joss Whedon, Vampires ~ You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.
One Response to “How many vampires can exist without killing everyone?”


You also have to consider that in the Buffy ‘verse, vampires generally have poor impulse control and a high tendency towards violence, which means that they often kill one another – and that those vampires didn’t often turn others, since it took directed action and meant a permanent bond with those they sired.

Now, in a ‘verse where vampirism is spread through simply having contact with the saliva of a vampire (such as the Dracula ‘verse), then humanity could indeed become quickly overrun (though at some point you’re going to reach a threshold where vampires would start dying due to lack of foodstuffs. There’s an interesting take on that in the book “Vampire Winter”, about a vampire who becomes the protector and – esstentially – herdsman for a group of humans after a nuclear strike.)

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