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Population Growth and It Effects

By masthera Apr 01, 2008 2937 Words
Weeks, J (1989) suggests that demographic dynamics is the change in population in terms of size composition, age structure, and urbanization. This includes the causes and consequences of migration, fertility and mortality. These dynamics are different from the past since each and every country experiences changes in terms of living condition, number of people born and people who died in that particular time. This essay will discuss the current size of the population, how does it effect the economic development, the impact on the standard of living and also focus on population growth as the contemporary concern by highlighting the past and present trends. However other arguments will be presented, such as theories that support the fact that population growth has an impact in economic development.

According to Weeks, J (1999:13) the rapid acceleration in growth after 1950 was due almost entirely to the declines in the death rates that accompanied industrial revolution. The industrial revolution changed the way people behave and believe, because population of the past had high birth and death rates as it was governed by tradition, but the massive economic changes brought by industrial revolution forced societies to alter traditional institution. The industrial revolution which fuelled economic growth in Europe was partly caused by population growth. Hence the assertion by Boserup (1949) that a good mix of population growth and technical progress can lead to economic growth (Crook, 1997). The industrial revolution as mentioned above was trigged by population growth and the invention of industrial machinery in Europe (Kreis, 2001). The industrial revolution came with the introduction of machine, which increase the development and improve the standard of living. This implies that during traditional society fertility and mortality were high but in modern or industrial society fertility and mortality are low and in between there is a demographic transition. There has been a dramatic change in demographic dynamics. “We are living in a world of unprecedented demographic change. After growing very slowly for most of the human history, the world population is more than doubled in the last half century to reach 6 billion in late 1999.By 2006 it could reach 6, 7 millions. Lower mortality, longer life expectancy and young population in countries where fertility remains high all contributed to the rapid population of recent decades” (Population issues). The fertility and mortality are the reason behind the change in the size of population and which determine the population growth of the country.

As the population growth, the same rate will produce a large absolute increase in the size from year to year. In fact the age structure of the world is now sufficiently young and the population already so large, that for the next decades the same number of people will be added each decade despite the fact that the rate of growth is expected to decline (Weeks 1999:14). According to Malthus (1976) Population if unchecked increased in a geometric ratio and subsistence increase only in an arithmetic ratio. This is due to the fact that population size is not controlled if there are no checks on population growth; human beings would multiply in exponentially number, filling the millions of world in few thousand years. Population is changing overtime and it can be quantify by the address of economic and development changes.

The population size in different countries is reflecting by fact that, it a developed or less developed country and in that simply way population growth can be easily determined. In most countries, about 5 to 10 have a problem of high fertility with low mortality rates. From the report of 2006, the size of the world population is increasing, the most populous or developed countries in the world presents the total population which is different from each year. Countries which are presented to account for about half of the world population, such countries include; China, India, United States, Indonesia, Brazil, Bangladesh, Russia, Nigeria and Japan (DSW, 2006). In south and South America, countries such as Nigeria, Pakistan, Bangladesh., India and Indonesia are referred as populous and are growing faster with high birth rate. India is a second country that has 1, 12 billion of population which comprises about 17 percent of the world population and the annual rates of 2, 1 percent (DSW, 2006). The government of India believed that, by implementation of contraception and abortion, the fertility will decline. Malthus argue that preventative checks to limits birth, such as abstinence, contraception and abortion are not acceptable but he referred the moral restrain as acceptable in preventing birth.

In East Asia, countries such as China and Japan referred as developed country, but China is the most populous countries in the world with more then 1, 32 billion populations, which comprises about 20 percent of the population (DSW, 2006). The rapid population growth of china lead detrimental to acceleration of capital accumulation, hinder the effort to quickly raise the scientific and cultural level of the whole nation and it detrimental to improvement of standard of living. According to Marxist each society at its point in history has its own law of population that determines the consequences of population growth. Marxist and Engels believed that population growth was a product of capitalism and that in socialist society either there would be enough resources per person or else people would be motivated to keep families small Weeks, (1999). This means China has a high fertility rates with mortality rates in such a way that government has adopted Marxist theory, by implementing one child policy to reduce population growth, organize the size and the number of population. Despite Marx’s denial of population problem, the Marxist government in China is dealing with one by rejecting its Marxist-Leninist roots and embracing instead one of the most aggressive and coercive government programs ever launched to reduce fertility through restraints on marriages (the Malthusian solution), contraception (the neo-Malthusian solution) and abortion (Weeks, 1999)

Japan is the contradictory of China because it has low fertility and low mortality rates and has a population of about 128 million which comprises 2, 0 percent of the world population (DSW, 2006). Japan is in the stage where it needs women to reproduce more in order to raise the fertility rates and allow large number of people to migrate. Japan’s low mortality and fertility have produced a population in which only 16 percent are under age of 15 years and 16 percent are 60 years or older, with a forecasted rise of 26 percent aged 65 or older by the year 2025 Weeks, (1999:33). Mill was convinced that an important ingredient in the transformation to non growing population is that women do not want as many children as men (Weeks, 1999).

Plato felt that too many people led to anonymity which would undermine democracy and that too few people prevent an adequate division of labour and would not allow a community to be properly defended and population size would be controlled by late marriages, infanticides and migration (in or out as the situation demanded) Weeks, (1999).

The theory of transition emphasizes the importance of economic and social development, which lead first to a decline in mortality and then, after time lag, to commensurate decline in fertility Weeks, (1999). United States has about 300 million populations which comprises about 4.5 percent of world population. Also in South America, countries such as Brazil had the same problem as the United States but Brazil had a population of about of 186 million population, which comprises about 2,8 percent of the world population (DSW, 2006) . In north America, countries such as United State and Canada are referred as most populous countries but with a low fertility and mortality rate, due to the fact that most women in United States are educated and they using contraception and abortion to prevent unwanted pregnancy and they ensure that people they married before have children and this had a impact in the development. The process that in which United State and Canada uses to increase their population is to enlarge emigrant because these countries are regarded as developed countries.

Sub-Saharan Africa comprises of countries such as Nigeria, Ethiopia and Zaire and these countries represent 11 percent of world population. These countries continued to have high fertility even though some of these countries are less developed. Schapera was studying South Africa and he discovered that, “in South Africa mortality was very high because to them it was inconceivable that a married couples should seeks for restrict the number of its offspring” Schapera (1941:213) in Weeks (1999:201). South Africa population’s continued to increase because most parents still refer their children as the consume of economic development but not as the producer of economic development and also fertility regard children as the source of labour and it security against risk and desire to have more sons as the protection of the country.

The high fertility is closely related to high mortality because more people giving birth to the number of children, it raise the mortality since disease such as infectious and parasitic disease; including HIV/Aids, which effect either in developed or developing countries and caused by practiced of unsafe sexual intercourse, pneumonia, influenza, desecration from chronic disease and product of social and economic environmental problems. Disease such as influenza and pneumonia are stronger in infant children and mortality rate is high infancy children.

Countries which have high fertility and high mortality include Ethiopia, which is referred as less developed country. The demographic impact of HIV/Aids, selective as it is too young, adults and infant, is also unprecedented with life expectancy among some population reduced by almost 20 years. As we approach the end of 20 years, further demographic changes are under way with for the first time in recent history, slowing down of world growth Raleigh, V.S. (1999:500-505)

In northern America and western Europe, the openness with which aids as been discussed has helped to slow down the spread of the disease by encouraging the use of condoms or even abstinence and increasing the chance that someone infected with HIV/Aids seek treatment that may forestall or perhaps even prevent HIV/Aids from progressing to old and premature death Weeks, J (1999).

Population growth is a contemporary concern in such a way that it can compound, magnify and create a wide variety of economic, social and political problems, because high fertility is the result of such problems. Population changes is one of the prime forces behind social and technological changes all over the world Weeks, J (1999:4)

The development perspective argue that population growth contributes to underdevelopment because it is a major obstacles as resources are diverted from productive expenditure to feeding growing population Furedi, (1997). Rapid population growth is treated as governing factor accountable as well deterioration resources base, environmental degradation and overall unhygienic and poor living conditions (Mayer, (1996).

Economic factors have an impact on the environmental degradation, because it results in the poor markets of production of good and services. The markets distortion creates by price control and subsidies may aggregate the achievement of environmental problems Ministry of finance, (1999). As human population increased, its potential for disrupting the earth biosphere has grown, because of polluting the atmosphere which producing problems such as global warming, acid rain and depletion of holes in ozone layer.

It has impact on the agricultural land, since population growth demand more food. Even now in Sub-Saharan Africa, food production is not keeping pace with population growth and this raises the fear that the world may have possessed its ability to sustain current levels of food production. The demand of food may result in loss of nutrients from the soil and may result in soil erosion. The environmental degradation has resulted from a combination of factors that vary from country to country such as land expropriation, demographic pressure, and interrogational land fragmentation, privatization of common lands and consolidation and expansion of commercial agriculture with reduced need for labour (Ministry of finance, 1999)

Population growth is the result of urbanization, where by rural population is growing so fast that people are forced to leave the rural areas and search for jobs in cities. Khaldon argue that population growth creates the need for specialization of occupation, which in turn leads to higher incomes, concentrated especially in cities. Thus the inhabitants of more populous city are more prosperous then their counterparts in less populous one. The fundamental cause of this is the difference in the nature of occupation carried in different places Weeks, (1999). This is along line of Mill basic thesis of population growth which state that the standard of living is major determinant of fertility levels Weeks, (1999). This is not the cases all over the world that, wealth decrease fertility. Countries such as Kuwait has a high fertility and is observed as most richest among other countries because of it production of oil, but at the same time it provided with free condoms and contraception and also is characterized with high rate of divorce, which mean people don’t settle extensive time in their marriages as most developed or richest country tend to do, this raise the number of children are born because most children born inside and outside the marriage. Even though Kuwait was using that policy but population continue to exacerbate, this implies that not only poor countries have high fertility but also developed countries have same problem.

People tend to move to urban areas so that they will have better income, because in urban areas the standard of living is improved such as transport are easily available and social services are improved. This is adding the size of slums, generating problems of infrastructure, health and public safety. These mean that roughly all the countries will be absorbed by the urban area, with population of the rural areas remaining more or less at the rural areas remaining more or less at the current level. Therefore the rural population of rural economy is expected to experience a steady decline, similar to what happened in developed economies some decade ago. The population pressures created by mortality in rural areas, combined with the economic opportunities offered by cities have been historical linked to urbanization. On the other hand , mortality tend to be lower in cities than in rural areas which permit higher rates of urban natural increase then in the past Weeks, J (1989:360). Countries which experience high rates of urbanization are North and Central Asia, South Easter Asia which comprises about 37,2 percent, then followed by South and Southwest which comprises of 32,1 percent of the world urbanization and lastly which is pacific island economics which have about 26,6 percent of urbanization (UNESCAP, 2000).

As population increases, it doesn’t mean that also the liberty for cultivation is also increasing instead it increase poverty. If in-migrant are well educated and young adult, for example they will be looking for well-paying jobs, they may add to the economic prosperity of the area and they will probably be establishing families which will further add to the area’s population and increase the demand for the services Weeks, (1999). It been estimated that the countries such as north and western Europe, followed by south and eastern Europe, Latin America and lastly was Asia have highest number of emigrants.

As presented on the essay there is clear consensus that demographic dynamics represent the leading edge in the social, economic and political development of the country, because the size of the population is determined by the fertility and mortality in such a way that if mortality is low merge with high birth rate, can lead to rapidly expanding population. In Sub-Saharan African countries high fertility and mortality is mostly experienced in such a way that it creates a trend in development which results to poverty. The conclusion drawn from this essay is that population growth may be problem in different countries without the creation an appropriate environment which taking into consideration the stability between mortality and fertility rates.

Crook, N. 1997. principles of population and development. USA: Oxford University press
Kreis, S. 2001. The Origins of the Industrial Revolution in England <> 27 March 2008
Deutsche Stifting Weltbevölkerung 2006. The 15 most Populous Nations <> 27 March 2008 Furedi, F. 1997 Population and development: a critical introduction. New York: St. Martins’s Press

Malthus, T. R. An Essay on the Principles of Population: Text, Sources and Background Criticism. Appleman, P (ed). New York: WW. Norton, 1976 Mayer, I A. 1996. Impact of Population on the availability of health care facilities in Kashmir Valley. In: Tripathi, R. S & Tiwari, R. P. (eds). Population growth and development in India. New Delhi: APH Publishing, pp. 177-196 Ministry of finance, 1999. Environmental Sector.India: Ministry of finacne <> 27 March 2008. Population issues: Meeting development goals no date. Environmental Sustainability: Population poverty and Environment 27 March 2008 United Nations Economic and Socio Commission for Asia and Pacific 2000. Demographic Dynamics>27March2008 Raleigh, V.R. (1999) Trends in World Population: How will the Millennium compare with the past? Human Reproductive updates, 5(5), 500-505 Weeks, J. R 1989 Population: Introduction to Concepts and Issues. 4th ed. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth

Weeks, J. R 1999 Population: Introduction to Concepts and Issues. 7th ed. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth

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