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This article may contain outdated information that is inaccurate for the current version of the game. It was last updated for 1.0.

A planet's population is the center of productivity and political action. Planets are made up of Population Units (POPs), each of which exists on a specific tile on a specific planet. Tiles that have buildings must also be occupied by a POP in order for the building's effects to be active.


Any planet with a surplus of Food.png food and at least one unoccupied tile will grow its population naturally unless blocked by policy. The growing pop is represented by translucent form of the corresponding species on an unoccupied tile, with a blue bar underneath representing the growth progress. Growing POPs will prioritize appearing on tiles that produce resources. If no such tile is available, it will grow on any empty tile that is not blocked. The growing pop can be relocated on another tile in advance.

Population grows at a rate based on Food.png food surplus/shortfall. The exact mechanics are as follows.

Population points required for a new POP:

(25 + \text{size penalty}) * (2 - \text{habitability} + \text{growth rate})

So a planet with 15 POPs and 80% habitability and rapid breeders (-10% growth time) takes (25 + 45.4) * (2 - 0.8 + -0.1) = 77.44 population points for the next POP.

Population points per month

Food Surplus/Shortfall Population Points
Less than 0 X (lose points equal to food shortfall)
Between 0 and 1 Stagnation
More than 1 1 + (X - 1) / 10

The size penalty is based on the current population p and is equal to

1.65p + p^{1.12}

Current Size Point Penalty
15 45.4
14 42.3
13 39.1
12 35.9
11 32.7
10 29.6
9 26.5
8 23.4
7 20.3
6 17.3
5 14.3
4 11.3
3 8.3
2 5.4
1 2.6


Each POP has an individual happiness rating. An unhappy POP is less effective than a content one, and is also more likely to rebel.

A POP's happiness is affected by a number of factors. First, government type can have a global bonus to population happiness if it emphasizes individuality in specific ways. Second, POPs that have developed ethics that are different from those their species started with will tend towards unhappiness because their preferred way of life is not in line with how they are governed. Third, recently conquered populations or POPs that are relegated to a life of slavery will tend to be unhappy unless they have very high tolerance of slavery. When an empire runs a major deficit from month to month, the population will also tend towards unhappiness.

There are, fortunately, many ways to improve happiness in an empire. Certain policies or edicts issued at the governmental or planet level can raise the happiness of citizens throughout the empire or on the affected planet. Some government types can build structures that improve happiness at a planetary level.

Events may also have an impact on planetary happiness for a limited time.

Base Happiness is 50%. Happiness cannot exceed the Habitability rating of a planet.


Modifiers are per each percent above or below 50% happiness.

Name Mod pop happiness.png Happiness Food.png Food Energy Credits.png Energy Minerals.png Minerals Physics Research.pngSociety Research.pngEngineering Research.png Research Mod pop ethic shift.png Ethics Divergence
Happy 51 or greater +0.4% +0.4% +0.4% -0.4%
Content 50
Unhappy 49 or lower 0% -1.0% -0.5% 0%

A 60% happy pop would gain 4.0% = (10% * 0.4).

A 34% unhappy pop would lose 16% = (16% * 1.0).

Happiness Bonus and Penalties have no effect when the pop is enslaved.

Happiness modifiers[edit]


Name Value Cause
Social Welfare Programs +15% Empire has enacted the "Social Welfare Programs" edict
Improved Working Environment +5% Empire has enacted the "Improved Working Environment edict (available through event)
Improved Energy Initiative +5% Empire has enacted the "Improved Energy Initiative" edict (available through event)
Champion of the People +10% Ruler has Trait ruler champion of the people.png Champion of the People trait
[Policy Group] ([Policy])[1] Varies Every empire policy not matching POP ethos; exact amount can vary depending on the policy/ethos combination
Grand Design +5% Possible outcome from researching Void Clouds as a Fanatic Spiritualist.png Fanatic Spiritualist or Spiritualist.png Spiritualist (10 years)
The Tree +5% Possible outcome from special Project "The Tree", the other choice is leader lifespan +20 years
Salty +10% Temporary bonus from researching an anomaly
Purple Rains +10% Temporary bonus from researching an anomaly


Name Value Cause
Capital World[1] +10% Is located on the empire's capital
Propaganda Broadcasts +10% Planet has enacted the "Propaganda Broadcasts" edict (available unless Fanatic Collectivist.png Fanatic Collectivist)
Peace Festivals +10% Planet has enacted the "Peace Festivals" edict (available if Fanatic Pacifist.png Fanatic Pacifist)
Governor[1] +2%/level Scaling modifier from Governor level
Champion of the People +10% Governor has Trait ruler champion of the people.png Champion of the People trait
Hostile Fauna -5% Planet has Hostile Fauna modifier
Hazardous Weather -5% Planet has Hazardous Weather modifier
Unstable Tectonics -5% Planet has Unstable Tectonics modifier
Wild Storm -5% Planet has Wild Storm modifier
Natural Beauty +15% Planet has Natural Beauty modifier
Irradiated -20% Planet has Irradiated modifier
Comet Sighted +15% Comet Sighted Event (temporary)
Recent Tectonic Event -5% Earthquake! Event (temporary)


Name Value Cause
Immigration Treaties +1%/-1% If Xenophile.png Xenophile / Xenophobe.png Xenophobe per migration treaty.
Communal +5% Has the Communal.png Communal trait
Solitary -5% Has the Solitary.png Solitary trait
Xenophilia +10% or +20% per unique alien species Is Xenophile.png Xenophile or Fanatic Xenophile.png Fanatic Xenophile and has alien POP on planet
Xenophobia -10% or -20% per unique alien species Is Xenophobe.png Xenophobe or Fanatic Xenophobe.png Fanatic Xenophobe and has alien POP on planet
Alien Overlords -20% Is Xenophobe.png Xenophobe and is ruled by alien leader
Charismatic +1%/POP (max +15%) Scaling modifier from POPs with Charismatic.png Charismatic trait. Does not affect own species.
Repugnant[1] -1%/POP (max -15%) Scaling modifier from POPs with Repugnant.png Repugnant trait. Does not affect own species.
Neighbors with Wrong Ethos[1] -10% Neighboring POP has opposite ethos
Recently Conquered[1] -25% POP was recently conquered by its current empire (lasts 10 years)
Uplifted +20% If the pop is an Uplifted Pre-FTL species and is living on a planet ruled by their patron species
Enslaved -15% If the pop is Enslaved
Opposing Regime -10% or -20% If the Empire has a differing ethos to the population- e.g. Fanatic Individualists under Fanatic Collectivists suffer a -20% Collectivist Regime penalty.


Name Value Cause
Building xeno zoo.png Xeno Zoo +10% The planet has a Xeno Zoo building worked by a pop
Building royal gardens.png Royal Gardens +10% The planet has a Royal Gardens building worked by a pop (available only to Enlightened Monarchy.png enlightened monarchy or Irenic Monarchy.png irenic monarchy)
Building paradise dome.png Paradise Dome +10% The planet has a Paradise Dome building worked by a pop (available only to Pacifist.png Pacifist or Fanatic Pacifist.png Fanatic Pacifist)
Building hyper entertainment forum.png Hyper-Entertainment Forum +15% The planet has a Hyper-Entertainment Forum building worked by a pop (available only to Individualist.png Individualist or Fanatic Individualist.png Fanatic Individualist)
Building monument purity.png Monument to Purity +10% The planet has a Monument to Purity building worked by a pop (available only to Xenophobe.png Xenophobe or Fanatic Xenophobe.png Fanatic Xenophobe)
Building virtual combat arena.png Virtual Combat Arena +5% The planet has a Virtual Combat Arena building worked by a pop (available only to Militarist.png Militarist or Fanatic Militarist.png Fanatic Militarist)
Building religious monument.png Plague Memorial +10% The planet has a Plague Memorial building worked by a pop (available through event)
(unrecognized string “loop institute” for Template:Icon) Loop Institute +10% The planet has a Loop Institute worked by a pop (available through event)
(unrecognized string “spiral-feed power hub” for Template:Icon) Spiral-Feed Power Hub −5% The planet has a Spiral-Feed Power Hub worked by a pop (available through event)
Building modern 1.png Ministry of Culture +10%

The planet has a Ministry of Culture worked by a pop (available through event)

Building zanaam obelisk.png Art Monument +10%

The planet has a Art Monument worked by a pop (available through event)

Building zanaam obelisk.png Stellar Devourer Trophy +5%

The planet has a Stellar Devourer Trophy worked by a pop (available through event)

(unrecognized string “dragonslayer monument” for Template:Icon) Dragonslayer Monument +10%

The planet has a Dragonslayer Monument worked by a pop (available through event)

(unrecognized string “ether drake shrine” for Template:Icon) Ether Drake Shrine +10%

The planet has a Ether Drake Shrine worked by a pop (available through event)



A POP that is on a tile that produces no resources is considered "unemployed" and should be moved to a tile where it can be useful. Unemployed POP have a distinct icon on the bottom left corner of the tile. This may be a signal to remove blocked tiles or construct new buildings. Unemployed POPs are more likely to migrate if permitted.

Ethics divergence[edit]

POP management is an important mid- and late-game mechanic that adds internal pressure and presents new challenges for expanding empires.

As population expands and eventually is divided into various sectors, certain segments may decide to adopt values that are different from the core values of the species. A materialist POP may decide to follow a spiritual path, a pacifist culture might decide that peace is the path of the weak. This is called Ethical Divergence. Positive Ethics Divergence (shown in Red) pushes POPs away from the Loyalist Faction, while negative Ethics Divergence pushes them towards it. The displayed Ethics Divergence is ten times the chance that a POP will shift its ethics towards (negative) or away from (positive) the empire's ethics each year (so a Pop with 20% ethics divergence will have a 2% chance each year to move away from the empire's ethics).

This Ethical Divergence effectively creates an internal Faction. Those that have not diverged are referred to as Loyalists, and others are referred to in the terms of where on the ethical calculus the divergence happened.

POPs that have diverged are usually unhappier than Loyalist POPs. Their happiness can be managed to some extent by giving in to divergent demands or through certain policies or edicts, like Propaganda Broadcasts. Divergent POPs are more likely to demand the control over their sector, or even independence, especially if they ever gain a majority on a planet.

Base Ethics Divergence is +15% and increases by +0.001 per distance unit from capital (Distance 650 is about edge-to-edge in a 600 system map).

Ethics divergence modifiers[edit]


Name Value Cause
Divine Mandate -10% Empire is a Divine Mandate.png Divine Mandate.
Transcendent Empire -20% Empire is a Transcendent Empire.png Transcendent Empire.
Encourage Free Thought +15% Empire has enacted the "Encourage Free Thought" edict.
Information Quarantine -10% Empire has enacted the "Information Quarantine" edict.


Name Value Cause
Atmospheric Aphrodisiac -10% Planet has Atmospheric Aphrodisiac modifier.
Atmospheric Hallucinogen +10% Planet has Atmospheric Hallucinogen modifier.
Reeducation Campaigns -10% Planet has enacted the "Reeducation Campaigns" edict (not available to Fanatic Collectivist.png Fanatic Collectivist).
Social Engineering -15% Planet has enacted the "Social Engineering" edict (only available to Fanatic Collectivist.png Fanatic Collectivist).
Sector +10% Planet is managed by a Sector
Capital World -10% Planet has Capital World modifier.


Name Value Cause
Spiritualist -10% / -30% Is Spiritualist.png Spiritualist or Fanatic Spiritualist.png Fanatic Spiritualist.
Conformists -20% Has the Conformists.png Conformists trait.
Deviants +15% Has the Deviants.png Deviants trait.
Happiness -0.4% per happiness above 50%


Effects are Planet wide, unless otherwise mentioned.

Name Value Cause
Lythuric Atmospheric Manipulator -10% and -10% Empire wide Planet has a Lythuric Atmospheric Manipulator being worked by a pop.
Grand Mausoleum -10% Planet has a Grand Mausoleum being worked by a pop (available only to Divine Mandate.png Divine Mandate or Transcendent Empire.png Transcendent Empire).
Virtual Combat Arena -5% Has a Virtual Combat Arena being worked by a pop (available only to Militarist.png Militarist or Fanatic Militarist.png Fanatic Militarist).
Ministry of Benevolence -15% Empire wide Has a Ministry of Benevolence being worked by a pop (available only to Collectivist.png Collectivist or Fanatic Collectivist.png Fanatic Collectivist).
Symbol of Unity -10% Has a Symbol of Unity being worked by a pop (available only to Spiritualist.png Spiritualist or Fanatic Spiritualist.png Fanatic Spiritualist).
Reassembled Ship Shelter -5% Has a Reassembled Ship Shelter being worked by a pop.
Planetary Administration -15% Has a Planetary Administration being worked by a pop. Replaces Reassembled Ship Shelter.
Planetary Capital -15% Has a Planetary Capital being worked by a pop. Replaces Planetary Administration.
Empire Capital-Complex -15% Has an Empire Capital-Complex being worked by a pop. Replaces Planetary Capital.


Name Value Cause
Orbital Mind Control Laser -30% Planet has a Spaceport with a Orbital Mind Control Laser module.
Frontier Commissars -20% Has researched technology "Frontier Commissars" (only available to Collectivist.png Collectivist or Fanatic Collectivist.png Fanatic Collectivist).
Puppet Government -10% Empire has a Puppet Government. This happens when an empire is created through the Liberate Planet war goal, and is as such not available to human players.


Main article: Slavery

Perhaps unsurprisingly, it is possible to enslave POPs, depending upon ethos, policies, government, and the assorted species involved. Enslaving a POP causes it to produce more Food and Minerals, but means it generates extremely reduced (or no) Science and Energy, making it a significant tradeoff in terms of outputs.

More importantly, however, slavery can cause both internal and external strife; if the empire's citizens or neighboring empires are opposed to slavery (for instance because they are Individualists or Fanatic Individualists) then this can cause serious civil and diplomatic issues.

Any POP can be enslaved, but it is best done on POPs that are different from the Loyalist starting position. Doing so also moves the POP into a 'Slave' faction, removing any past allegiances they might have had; useful in the face of potential rebel uprisings.

Pre 1.2, it is not possible for slaves to revolt by themselves. As of 1.2 they can, however more data is needed to support on how they revolt.


As science progresses, creation of robot workers eventually becomes possible. They are exceptionally productive, easy to keep happy, and able to live and work on any planet surface - unlike species limited to hospitable environments.

All robots cost 150 Energy Credits.png energy and 50 Minerals.png minerals to build. They do not consume Food.png food; instead, they cost 1 Energy Credits.png energy each month, starting at being queued. They have Trait mechanical.png mechanical and Trait robotic 1.png robot traits. Their 200% bonus to habitability allows them to operate on any planet type equally well, even Tomb Worlds.

There are three tiers of robotic worker - Robots, Droids, and Synths;

  • Robots are the first and basic level of robotic worker. They have an advantage at producing Minerals.png minerals but are disadvantaged at producing Energy Credits.png energy and produce nearly zero Physics Research.pngSociety Research.pngEngineering Research.png research.
  • Droids are the second tier of robotic worker. They have a slight bonus to everything compared to robots excluding Food.png food.
  • Synths are the third and final tier of robotic worker. They are good at everything including Energy Credits.png energy and all Physics Research.pngSociety Research.pngEngineering Research.png science apart from being average at Food.png food. Unlike Robots and Droids, Synths are sentient and can be granted (or, if oppressed, may demand) rights; doing so makes them equivalent to normal citizens in most respects.

If you unlocked Droids, all Robots pops you own are automatically upgraded to Droids and you can't build the basic Robots anymore. The same is true for Synths. However, if you take over a planet with Robots on it while you have unlocked Droids, usually because planet ceding or vessel integrating, the Robots may NOT be upgraded sometime for a potential bug.

Robots and Droids do not have ethos. However, they may gain ethos for a potential bug.

Tier Tech prerequisite Can colonize planets Ethos and happiness Robotic trait Tile output
Minerals.png Minerals Energy Credits.png Energy Physics Research.pngSociety Research.pngEngineering Research.png Research
Alien AI.png Robot Tech robotic workers.png Robotic Workers No.png No.png
Trait robotic 1.png
+10% -40% -80%
Robot green.png Droid Tech droid workers.png Droids Yes.png No.png
Trait robotic 2.png
+15% -20% -40%
Robot blue.png Synthetic Tech synthetic workers.png Synthetics Yes.png Yes.png
Trait robotic 3.png
+20% +20% +20%

AI Rebellion[edit]

However, as research in Artificial Intelligence moves forward, there is a risk of robots gaining sentience and rebelling. This rebellion has a chance of infecting every robot POP in the universe, prompting a galaxy wide war between flesh-and-blood empires and rogue computer intelligence. This is one of the possible major endgame crisis events. Granting robotic workers equal rights reduces their chances of rebellion -— or at least delays it -- but is not a guarantee that they will remain loyal.

The only way to keep synthetics loyal to you is by agreeing to the AI accord, which triggers anywhere from 70-100 years after you research Sentient AI.



Migration is voluntary movement of POPs to a more attractive planet, for example a minority POP of aliens might try to move to its species homeworld. Once migration is activated for a POP, a modifier icon appears on it's portrait in the planet surface view and after a certain amount of time it relocates to the destination. Fanatic Individualist empires have to allow free migration for their primary species. A migration access trade deal with another empire allows migration to foreign territory, in which case the empire of origin loses control over the moving POPs.


Resettlement is forced movement of POPs by the government. In order to resettle a POP an empire needs to activate the 'Allowed' Resettlement policy. After that, the resettlement menu can be opened through any POP. In this menu the planets and POPs involved in the resettlement can be chosen and the resettlement may be implemented at a cost of 50 Influence.png influence per POP. Resettlement is not available to Individualist empires. Since 1.3, resettlement does not require Planetary Administration, may be used with sector planets, and requires at least 40% Habitability.


With the right policies, undesirable POPs can be killed through purging. However, this angers most empires as well as other POPs. Depending on POP ethos, this reaction can be reduced or removed. Purging aliens will severely anger their original empire unless it has been conquered.


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 All hail Blorg, Space Friends #05
Game concepts
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