What Is The World's Population Explosion And Why Do Some People Believe It To Be An Important World Issue

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What is the world's population explosion and why do some people believe it to be an important world issue? What is the population explosion and why did it occur? A population explosion is when a population increases at a rapid rate so the world population explosion is where the world population is increasing at an extremely rapid rate. This is a natural process. The demographic transition model says that birth and death rates change over time due to economic and social developments. figure 1: line graph showing the demographic transition model of the UK. Figure 1 shows the demographic transition of the UK. It shows how, at first both death rates and birth rates are high, then, from about 1750 to 1870 birth rates remain the same but death rates fall, resulting in a rapid population growth. From about 1890 to 1950 birth rates began to decline steadily while the death rates continued to fall. From 1950 there has been a general decline in birth rates so they are almost equal to the death rates and growth rates and so growth rates are close to zero ( in 1997 the rate of natural increase was 0.2%). Although most EMDCs have reached this point where both birth rates and death rates are low, the majority of ELDCs have not. e.g. India has a birth rate of 29/1,000, a death rate of 10/1,000 and a growth rate of 1.9% (in 1997) compared with the UK's birth rate of 13/1,000, death rate of 11/1,000 and growth rate of 0.2% (in 1997). The growth of the population depends on a number of factors such as availability of resources and food and water. This can be seen in food chains in nature. e.g. the lynx is a predator of the hare. If the hare population decreases then so will the lynx population and visa versa. This is shown in figure 2. Figure 2 A Line Graph Showing the relationship Between the Hare and Lynx Population This also applies to the human population and to other factors. e.g. If there was insufficient water supply then the human population would decrease. What causes the population explosion? Figure 3 (a line graph showing world population growth) shows that the world population explosion began in about 1870 and has continued since then. The three broken lines show the three possible predictions for the world population in the future (the high, medium and low series'). The high assumes that birth rates and death rates will decline at a standard rate, the medium variant assumes rapid decline in both birth and death rates and the low variant assumes a rapid fall in birth rates but a standard decline in death rates. Changes in population are caused by birth and death rates. If the birth rate is higher than the death rate then there will be a population increase, if the death rate is higher than the birth rate then there will be a population decrease. The larger the difference between the birth and death rates are for a country, the larger the population increase or decrease is. e.g.1. Yemen: birth rate = 46 death rate =11 natural increase =3.5% (1997) compared to Denmark:birth rate =13 death rate =12 natural increase = 0.1% (1997) In both Yemen and Denmark the birth rate is higher than the death rate so the population will increase but the difference between the birth rate and death rate in Denmark is much smaller than the difference between the birth rate and death rate of Yemen so the natural increase in Denmark is lower so the population will not increase at such a rapid rate. e.g.2. Bulgaria: birth rate = 9 death rate =14 natural increase = -0.4% (1997) Germany: birth rate =10 death rate =11 natural increase = -0.1% (1997) In both Bulgaria and Germany the death rate is higher than the birth rate resulting in a negative population increase (population decrease) but the difference between the birth rate and death rate of Bulgaria is higher than the difference between the birth rate and death rate of Germany so Bulgaria's population increase is higher than Germany's population decrease. This means that on a world scale there must be a large difference between birth and death rates as there is a population explosion occurring (the world's birth rate must be higher than its death rate). In 1997 the world birth rate was 24/1,000 and the death rate was 9/1,000, resulting in a natural increase of 1.5%. 2The countries with highest growth rates tend to be ELDCs; the average natural increase for ELDCs is 1.8%, for EMDCs it is only 0.1% and it is predicted that approximately 80% of the world's future growth will occur in ELDCs. Birth rates are higher in ELDCs (average of 27 in 1997) than in EMDCs (average of 11 in 1997). The reasons for birth rates being so high could be: Infant mortality rates are also likely to be high in ELDCs so families may compensate for this by having more children. e.g. a woman in the Sahel must have ten children to be 95% certain of having a surviving son. In many ELDCs schooling is not compulsory so children may be needed to work on the family's land (as most ELDCs are still mainly rural and most people are farmers). Birth control and contraception is not easily accessible. The UN predicts that of the 800 million couples in the world only 381 million are using contraception and in Nigeria someone may have to walk for four hours to reach the nearest clinic. Some religions e.g. Catholicism encourages couples to have more children and forbid the use of contraception and abortions. Many of the South American countries are predominately Catholic. In some places women's main purpose is to have children and it is a sign of virility to have more children. The death rates in ELDCs are low (averaging 9/1,000 in 1997) which suggests that in general the ELDCs are in stage two of the demographic transition model; where death rates are low but birth rates are still high so there is a high rate of increase. This stage was passed through by England and Wales between 1750 and 1870 and in general EMDCs have already completed the demographic transition so that birth rates and death rates are both low and almost equal. The death rates in ELDCs may have decreased as a result of aid given by EMDCs, however these countries may not be ready for this decrease in death rates which is why the population increase is so high. Why is it a problem? There are two opinions of the world population explosion; the optimistic view and the pessimistic view. The optimistic view is held by people who believe that the world's population should not be limited as everyone who is born will contribute to the economy and is a valuable asset so this population explosion is beneficial. The pessimistic view is held by people who believe that the population must be controlled or resources will be outstripped. This means that there will not be enough food, water and space in the future if action is not taken. The world population doubling time is 47 years (in 1997). This means that, if this prediction is accurate and the factors remain the same then the world population will be nearly 12 billion in 2044. This world population explosion is primarily occurring in the ELDCs which means that the world's population will not be evenly distributed; there will be areas of overpopulation (an area which has more people than resources), under population (an area with more resources than population) and optimum population (the ideal density of population given the available resources). This means that in the future, if the population trend increases then the EMDCs will be under populated or of optimum population whereas ELDCs will be overpopulated. An example of this is with money; ELDCs have about 20% of the world's wealth yet they contain approximately 80% of the global population. Thomas Malthus was an 18th century philosopher who predicted that there was a limit to the world population before it would limit itself .e.g. by war and famine however his theory was proved wrong by advances in technology. Now The United Nations predicts that the world has a maximum capacity of 35 billion people. This figure is so large that it seems that this figure will only be reached in the distant future, however if the population continues to increase at the rate it is now it may occur in the next century so action has to be taken soon. What are the possible solutions? It is obvious that action should be taken soon. Some schemes have been put into action in the past which have been effective. e.g. In Mauritius the population was estimated to grow from + million to 3 million. The island could not support this. A number of measures were taken to solve the problem, including: A family planning campaign-this decreased the average number of children from six to three per couple. A de-rocking scheme-this meant that the land was more productive so more crops could be grown. Industrialisation-so people are not as reliant on farming. Buying from abroad This scheme was effective as the population is now 1.1 million and stable. e.g.2 In China-the one child policy. China was the first country to reach a population of 1 billion and the population was rapidly increasing (an increase of approximately 18 million per year). To solve this problem the government ruled that each couple could only have one child, aiming to drop the population to 700 million and double the standard of living. It was policed by: encouraging abortions giving free sterilisation people needing permission of workplace to get married and pregnant having family planning officers It was encouraged by: giving free education free nursery place free medical care to people with only one child. If a couple have a second child then they have to pay back the costs of all the free services. This scheme may be seen as being effective because in 1993 China's population was 1.17 billi

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