Examination of a Global Population Issue
The world is inhabited by 7.2 billion people. The population is expected to reach 8.1 billion in 2025. Most growth is expected in the developing world especially Africa. Indian’s population will surpass China in 2018 and become the largest country by population. There will be 8.2 billion people in developing countries, but currently it stands at 5.9 billion. It is believed that by 2050, Africa’s population will double and reach 2.4 billion people. The population of other parts of the world is projected to grow by only 10 % with Europe’s population declining by 14 percent in 2100. Recently countries average family size had reduced. Countries can be classified in terms of their fertility rates. In Low-fertility nations, Women have less than 2.1 average numbers of children. They include all European except Iceland, 18 Asian countries, 17 American countries and 2 African countries. The highest low fertility nations are the United States, Brazil, Japan, Vietnam, India and the Russian Federation. In intermediate fertility, women have an average of 2.1 to 5 children. They are mainly in India, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Mexico, the Philippines and Pakistan. The other 9 % of world population comprises high fertility countries where the average woman has 5 or more children. 29 countries are in Africa, Afghanistan and Timor-Leste. Despite anticipated reduction in Africa’s fertility rates, its population will be increasing (Population Reference Bureau, 2013). The factors which determine population trends will be discussed. Both positive and negative impacts of population growth will be evaluated. Agreement, treaties and agreement concerning Family planning will also be discussed.
Determinant factors influencing Population
Fertility is a main demographic determinant. Fertility is the expected number of births a woman gives in a particular society during her childbearing period. It depends on woman’s fecundity. Fecundity refers to the physiological capacity to conceive and support children. Health, cultural, economic and social factors determine reproductive adoption in a given country. The most influencing element is relationship status of women. Married women or those in relationship have a higher chance of getting pregnant. Use of contraceptives and occurrence of induced abortion also affect fertility rates. Fertility rates in developing countries are higher than in developed countries. More women from developed countries work and are inclined to marry late, (Carr, Pan & Bilsborrow, 2006). They also use abortion and contraceptives to delay childbearing. However, fertility levels have fallen since 1950s in nearly all nations except in Western and Central Africa. Ethnic and racial minorities usually have higher rates as compared to the majority. Low income families with low education normally have more children as compared with well-educated or affluent families. Rural families always have many children as compared to urban dwellers. In 2006, 21 was the average birthrate per 1000 people worldwide. Western and Northern Europe had 9 or less while 50 or more in West African countries, increasing (Population Reference Bureau, 2013).
In some countries, for example Vietnam and China, the government intensified family control. In some countries, socio-economic situation contributed to lower birthrates. Income level, delaying marriages, rising health care’s cost and education are contributing in the socio-economic scenario, (Westoff, 2006). Female education is strongly reducing fertility rates because most of the educated women tend to marry late. Education reduces fertility rates. The rising middle class in developing countries in Asia like Vietnam, China and Vietnam have seen birth rates drastically reducing (Trang & Hieu, 2011).
Mortality affects population trends. Age structure of the population influences death rates. Elderly, Infants and young children have higher death rates. Societies with this group have a higher probability of higher deaths per 1000 people. Developed countries usually have older people because of good medical services. Demographers determine life expectancy to assess life span in a given society. Life span is increasing around the world. Nonetheless, there is existence of a significant margin between developing and developed nations. In 2006, some African countries had 30 s while 80 in Australia, United States, Some European Nations and Japan, (Seitz & Hite, 2012).
New health’s threats are emerging globally. HIV/AIDS pandemic, tuberculosis and malaria which are drug resistant and avian flu have an impact in many areas. Exposure to industrial pollutants in developing countries is contributing to lower life span. A good sewage system can enhance public health significantly. A health system that can identify famines and disease outbreaks is crucial. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) launched an immediate response to acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) which could have been an international pandemic (Anup, 2002).
Migration drives population trends. Migration’s prediction is difficult as compared to mortality or fertility. For example refugees who are fleeing a sudden war. Immigration often strains host country’s social amenities and change region’s ethnicity. On the good side, it provides both skilled and unskilled labor. It is important to note that it is from immigration that brain occurs. Motivated and educated sections of the population migrate in search of new opportunities. The growing of metropolitan areas and large cities has encouraged rural-urban migration. Cities with 10 million or more inhabitants are called mega-cities. In 2006, more than 426 million people lived in the first 30 megacities as compared to 1950, where only 117 million people. In 1950, 19 of the first 30 cities were located in the developed countries. However, that number had reduced to 8 in 2011. In 1950, Delhi was not in the list of top 30s, but it currently occupies second position after Tokyo. This phenomenal growth is caused by influx of migrants to cities seeking for better life (United Nations, 2008).
The Right to Family Planning
In 1994, the international Community at the International Conference for Population (ICPD) resolved that family planning is to be avail to anyone who needs it. Governments were also required to provide conditions that support family planning. ICPD Program of Action has encouraged people to exercise their reproductive rights. Several conventions, agreements and treaties regarding reproductive rights have being signed. In 1948, Universal Declaration of Human Rights inspired customary law internationally. In 1968, Tehran Conference on Human Rights declared couples’ or individuals right to family planning. In 1995, Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action reiterated ICPD program. In 2001, the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) created a target to achieve reproductive health’s access by 2015. World Health’s organization reproductive health strategy was signed in 2004 during 57TH Health Assembly. In 2011, The Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women required all countries to enable women access maternal services. ICPD have transformed the perception of reproductive and sexual health. While progresses have been achieved, there is pending work to be done to achieve ICPD’s vision. International organizations, donor and developing countries’ governments will have to increase funding to realize the universal family planning access, (Westoff, 2006).
Effects of Population Growth
Population growth can help a country’s economy move from being ineffective into an economy of scale. Economies of scale are the advantages that a country gets as a result of a large workforce. Output increase per labor’s unit increases the productivity of a nation. Rapid population increases population growth of a nation which constitutes both labor and market. There will be a readily available skilled and unskilled labor. A large workforce will be cheaper thus contributing to cheaper production costs of various services and goods, (Bremner, Davis, & Carr, 2012).
A rapid population growth affects transportation and communication positively. A well connected transport system will reduce both travel time and transportation cost. As the population growth, its density also increases. This will likely pressurize the government to invest more in the transport infrastructure sector such as roads, highways and railway system. In 1985, China’s population density was 110 people per km2 and railway system was 5200 km. In 2010, it was 9100 km. This indicated a 75 percent increase and its population density was 141 people per km2. This is a 28 percent increment. Good transport system stimulates economic growth (Trang & Hieu, 2011).
Technological growth is motivated by population growth. This argument is based on Simon and Boserup theories. Boserup claimed that when the population is faced with a critical event as food’s shortage, people will find a solution by enlarging workforce by use of new methods or machines. Simon showed in Simon-Steinmann model that high populations have a high technological growth level that leads to increased capita income, (Anup, 2002). A country with high population growth will automatically have high school going population. The government will be pressurized to inject more funding in the public school system. This pressure reflects the nation’s education level. Eventually this investment will have positive impacts in the future. Educational results in human capital training. This capital comprises of a superior stock of knowledge, competence, personalities and ability to generate economic value. Human capital as a producing factor in the manufacturing processes same as other inputs like machinery. Skilled human labor can contribute to innovative technology. Technology will translate to a growth in nation’s productivity. Hence population is directly proportional to technology growth rate (Trang & Hieu, 2011).
Increase in population is directly proportional to the labor force. With a high population, wage rates will be pushed down. The resulting cheap labor is essential in economic growth and modernization process which are assets to a nation. The savings from labor can be invested in research and development which can lead to realization of new technology leading to higher performance. The industries and business will therefore have an advantage in the global market (Bremner et al, 2010).
High population growth leads to weakening of capital. India had a population of 495 thousand in 1965 which grew to approximately 1.214 million in 2010. Taking capital to be constant, a population growth leads to a decline in capital per employee. High population leads to high consumption demand for services and goods. Goods will be scarce if supply is less than demand. Extreme demands and resources’ shortage cause the prices of goods and services to increase. High prices will cause a decline in the demand. The demand’s decrease is a result of insufficient per capital income. This indicates that people will not afford necessities for survival. Typically this leads to poverty, starvation, diseases and decline in economic growth (Trang & Hieu, 2011).
Population growth leads to resource shallow. Malthusian model states that a decline in nation resources is caused by a higher population increase. There is a link between gender-gap wage quota and capital-labor quota. Labor comprises of mental and physical dimensions. A man is assigned a unit of both mental and physical labor whereas a woman is assigned a unit of only mental labor. This results in a high gender- gap ratio in terms of average wage. Women will most likely remain at home to take care of the children. This will eventually lead to more population growth which will further constrain the existing resources (Bremner et al, 2010).
Age structure affects the income of a country. Population demography is divided into three categories. Young age population which comprises of 0-14 years, working population which comprises 15-64 years and the elderly who are over 65 years of age. Young and the elderly negatively affect income per capita of a nation. The young are not working whereas the elderly stopped working. The working population will therefore be reduced. This leads to a decline in income per capita. Because of China’s policy which only allowed one child per household, birthrates drastically reduced. Therefore population is aging, (Seitz & Hite, 2012).
The working population to non-working population ratio increased irregularly in late 1970s and started to stagnant in 2010. Now it’s having a probability to decrease because of the rise of elder population. From the period 1995 to 2000, its elder population increased from 6.01 to 6.79 percent. The gross domestic product (GDP) decreased from 9.7 to 7.6 percent. The working population has ability to save for retirement. The younger and the older generation will have little or no income. Solow model stated that fewer saving for investment can result in a decline in stable state productivity per worker and can bring harm to the economy (United Nations, 2008).
Population growth causes strain in freshwater resources and non-renewable resources such as fossils. In the 20th Century, water utilized worldwide grew six fold. This is two times the population increase during the same period. Construction of reservoirs and dams significantly contribute to this trend. It affects approximately 60 percent of the main river basins. Water is used for household uses, direct consumption, crop irrigation, in sewage systems, hydroelectric energy generation, aquatic farming and industrial manufacturing. Clean water is an important aspect for the developing world in achieving Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The access is critical in the prevention of water borne diseases such as cholera. However, water is unevenly distributed precious resource. The world’s arid areas only receive 2 percent of the rainfall yet they cover 40 percent of the earth’s surface. Developing countries with largest projected population growth have poor access to water. Diversion of water system for human use affects natural ecosystems negatively. Natural ecosystems no longer receive enough rain. This can lead to collapse of the nature. Niger which has high fertility rate has been faced with long drought periods. Major crops and livestock have been lost leading to acute malnutrition. Studies have suggested relationship between water accessibility, women labor and fertility. In arid regions where women are required to fetch water, it negatively affects girl’s education and their labor. These are correlated with early childbearing, long fertility periods and poor maternal care. (Bremner, Davis & Carr, 2012).
If renewable such as forests and fish, are used faster than it can be replenished then there will be a breakdown in the natural ecosystem. Population growth creates a pressure on these resources. Human beings also emit wastes which causes pollution. There is also a worry trend of developing countries depleting their food supplies (Anup, 2002).
Population is growing with the highest growth expected in developing countries. African countries are projected to have the highest growth rates. Population structure of a country can be classified according to its fertility rates. These are high-fertility, intermediate fertility and low-fertility. As fertility levels declines, life expectancy raises leading to an increase in the ageing population. Population ageing is more prevalent in the developed countries than in the developing. Population in China is ageing faster than other developing countries. The determinant factors of a population are mortality, fertility rates and migration. Population increase has negative and positive effects. There has been recent development in family planning. Various agreements have to be signed to encourage government and citizens to support family planning. Population growth causes a strain the water resources hence affecting natural ecosystem.
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