Population growth is a major issue within today’s world, with the rapid and exponentially increasing rate of population growth causing problems with overcrowded areas affecting the business environment as well as everyday life. The world’s population is at an estimated 7 billion people (BBC, 2011) and ‘at today’s rate, population would skyrocket by 2100, to 27 billion from today’s 7 billion’. (Harvard Gazette, 2012). Sourced from BBC (2013)The above diagram shows the extent of the increase in the rate of population growth from the year 500B.C. to a forecasted 8. 5 billion people in 2025. This highlights that, by 2025 the world’s population is on track to more than treble since 1950. This increase in population growth over the last 200 years could be attributed to an increase in fertility, for example, ‘just over 723,000 babies were born in England and Wales in 2010, up from fewer than 600,000 in 2000. The average number of children each woman is likely to have has gone up from 1. 64 to 1. 98. ’ (Daily Mail, 2012).
This increase in fertility has not been coupled with an increase in the death rate which, due to factors such as ‘better medicines and improved sanitation’ (Brooks, Weatherstone and Wilkinson, 2011, p. 169) and more stringent health and safety procedures, has actually declined as ‘many of the once incurable diseases have cures today. ’(Buzzle, 2012). The increased population growth has brought with it many problems, for example in China the necessity for increased production to satisfy demand from a higher population has put strain on resources as well as producing high levels of pollution which is a negative externality.
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This has resulted in a law being passed restricting the number of children a family can have to 1 per couple. Another problem with population growth is that more housing is necessary to accommodate increased numbers of people. This has resulted in land that is used or could be used for farming being converted into housing. This is particularly disadvantageous because as Malthus’ theory suggests, the population is growing faster than the food supply.
He theorises that the extra people must die, whereas Ester Boserup argued that ‘necessity is the mother of invention’ and asserted that the increase in population pressure acts as an incentive to developing new technology such as genetically modified crops (Rogers, Jalal & Boyd, 2008, p. 20). This has given rise to ethical debates concerning the use of disease-resistant, higher yielding modified crops which have been produced to cope with the increased population’s demand.
Also with this loss of land comes extinction of species due to their natural habitats being destroyed. A further issue with fast population growth is that with increased population comes increased poverty and inequality. The poorest most impoverished of the population don’t have access to adequate birth control which means they are continuing to reproduce whilst having the same small amount of resources, this is leading to malnutrition and infant mortality, as well as adding strain to the already inadequate educational and healthcare systems.
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