The 2/1 mean motion resonance with Jupiter, intersecting the main asteroid belt at ~3.27 au, contains a small population of objects. Numerical investigations have classified three groups within this population: asteroids residing on stable orbits (i.e. Zhongguos), those on marginally stable orbits with dynamical lifetimes of the order of 100 Myr (i.e. Griquas), and those on unstable orbits. In this paper, we reexamine the origin, evolution and survivability of objects in the 2/1 population. Using recent asteroid survey data, we have identified 100 new members since the last search, which increases the resonant population to 153. The most interesting new asteroids are those located in the theoretically predicted stable island A, which until now had been thought to be empty. We also investigate whether the population of objects residing on the unstable orbits could be resupplied by material from the edges of the 2/1 resonance by the thermal drag force known as the Yarkovsky effect (and by the YORP effect, which is related to the rotational dynamics). Using N-body simulations, we show that test particles pushed into the 2/1 resonance by the Yarkovsky effect visit the regions occupied by the unstable asteroids. We also find that our test bodies have dynamical lifetimes consistent with the integrated orbits of the unstable population. Using a semi-analytical Monte Carlo model, we compute the steady-state size distribution of magnitude H < 14 asteroids on unstable orbits within the resonance. Our results provide a good match with the available observational data. Finally, we discuss whether some 2/1 objects may be temporarily captured Jupiter-family comets or near-Earth asteroids.