HS-102 Readings

Population Growth

What is the approximate total of world population at the beginning of the twenty-first century?

World population at the beginning of the twenty-first century has passed 6 billion.

What are the present trends in global population in industrialized and in
non-industrialized areas of the world?

    Population is increasing at about 80 million/year. About 99% of that increase is in the less-developed areas of the world. This is placing a great strain on available food supplies as soil erosion depletes fertile topsoil and water aquifers are being depleted.  In the more developed countries, each person places a much greater demand per person on the resources and the environment because of the higher standard of living and the dependence on fossil fuels.

    The fertility rate is dropping, but present trends indicate that population growth will continue for at least three more decades because of the larger number of women in their childbearing years.

Where is Europe in the demographic transition?

    The Demographic Transition is a measure of fertility rates and mortality rates as affected by the industrial revolution.

    In the early phase of industrialization, mortality rates decrease while fertility rates remain high or slightly increase. In the later phase, fertility rates and mortality rates both decline, leveling off at a much lower level.

    The natural increase, which is the difference between fertility and mortality, grows in the early phase and slows in the later phase.

    The more developed countries of Europe went through the Demographic Transition earlier than the less developed areas of the non-European world. Therefore, the European countries are experiencing low mortality, low fertility and a low natural increase. In some European nations the population is decreasing.

What relationship is there between population levels and environmental
problems?

    As population increases, greater stress is placed upon the environment. More people means more pollution, greater demands upon essential resources, more soil erosion and desertification, more deforestation, greater accumulations of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, and so on. As non-European, less developed regions industrialize, the demand for resources and the accumulation of environmental problems is likely to increase at a rate greater than the rate of population increase.