Here’s the problem: 95% of world population growth in the next 40 years will be in developing countries. Much of that will occur in the poorest, meanest parts of those nations. These are the urban slums and edge cities that are the most crowded, dangerous, underserved by governments (education, health care, sanitation ) and the private sector (jobs and services), and environmentally degraded places on earth. Americans may not notice, but we are becoming a “Planet of Slums.”
Yet, while many of the poorest nations have begun to move towards the “demographic transition’ (definition here under “T” for “Transition), many have a long way to go. This is sad, because lower population growth is almost a silver bullet in economic development. Every buliding block of material and social progress is much harder to obtain with a huge youth bulge.
So, what to do? It’s hard because decisions about how many children to have are comlicated and highly personal — and thus as tough to alter by government action in Sao Paulo as in San Diego. Family size is influenced by income levels, sure, but also by religion, culture, the status of women, the availability of contraception (key), employment opportunities, etc.
Gary will present. Here are a few links to background on this subject.
- A short, pithy Factsheet on the perils of overpopulation.
- The Zero Population Growth organization, which changed its name a few years ago. Notice how they focus on the means of achieving ZPG, like women’s empowerment.
- the Wiki entry — forgive me.
- An article on how the Transition prevents civil conflict.