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Population Growth Rate
Complete these exercises with information from the data tables.

Explore the Data Exercises with Answers

1. Read the definition of growth rates. Use the Social Data Tables to find the countries that have negative average annual population growth rates projected for the years 1998–2015.  

  1. How many countries have negative projected population growth rates? [23] In which region(s) are these countries located? [Europe and Asia]
  2. How will a negative population growth rate affect the actual numbers of people in these countries? [The total populations of these countries will decrease between 1998 and 2015.]
  3. What might be some benefits to a decrease in population? [Possible answers: The demand for social services, economic goods, and natural resources might lessen so that each person could have more. There might be less pollution.]
  4. What are some potential problems if a country’s population is decreasing or growing too slowly to replace the number of people who die? [As growth slows, the average age of the population rises and eventually the proportion of elderly, nonworking people will increase. This can put great pressure on a country’s pension, health care, and social security systems.

2. Make a copy of the blank Comparative Data Table and label the first column Countries and the second column Population growth rate, 1980–98. Then using the text and the Data Tables, fill in the chart according to the following instructions. 

  1. In the column at the left of the table, write the following countries and their regions: Brazil (South America), Ghana (Sub-Saharan Africa), Philippines (Asia, South and East, and the Pacific), Egypt (Middle East and North Africa), Canada (North and Central American and the Caribbean), Russian Federation (Europe and Central Asia).
  2. Read the definition of population growth rate.
  3. Use the Social Data Tables to find the average annual population growth rate for each country during 1980–98. Rank the countries with "1" equaling the lowest population growth rate and "6" the highest.
  4. Write the appropriate ranking number in column 3. Make a general statement comparing the population growth rates in these six countries.
  5. Find each of the six countries in the world and regional map gallery. Compare the color of each country with those of its neighbors. To what extent is each country typical of conditions in its area and region? Make a general statement comparing the population growth rates in the six regions. 

3. Make a copy of the blank Comparative Data Table and label the first column Countries, the second column Population growth rate, 1980–98, the third column Life expectancy at birth, 1998, the fourth column GNP per capita, 1998 and the fifth Access to safe water, 1990–96. Then using the text and the Basic Data Tables, fill in the chart according to the following instructions. 

  1. Choose a low-income country in Sub-Saharan Africa and one in Asia (South and East) and the Pacific and write their names in the first column.
  2. Choose a middle-income country in each of the following regions and add them to the first column: South America, Europe and Central Asia, and Middle East and North Africa.
  3. Choose a high-income country in North and Central America and the Caribbean, one in Europe and Central Asia, and one in Asia (South and East) and the Pacific and add them to the first column.
  4. Label each country in your data table with an L, M, or H to show which income group it belongs to: low, middle, or high.
  5. Read the definitions of population growth rate, life expectancy at birth, GNP per capita, and access to safe water. Go to the Basic Data Tables, and for each of your countries find the 1980–98 population growth rate, 1998 life expectancy at birth, 1998 GNP per capita, and 1990–96 percentage of population with access to safe water, and write this information in the appropriate columns. If data for one of the indicators are not available, select another country from the same income group and region.
  6. Rank the countries, with "1" equaling the lowest population growth rate and "8" the highest. Write the appropriate ranking number in parentheses after the data in column 2.
  7. Study your chart and answer the following questions:
    • In the countries with population growth rates of more than 3 percent, are the other indicators high or low? [Answers will vary.]
    • In the countries with population growth rates of 2 to 3 percent, are the other indicators higher or lower than in the countries with population growth rates of more than 3 percent? [Answers will vary.]
    • In the countries with population growth rates of less than 1 percent, are the other indicators higher or lower than in the other countries? [Answers will vary.]
    • Does population growth rate follow the same trend as the other development indicators in your chart? Explain. [Answers will vary.
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