growth, the economy, and the environment
population growth rates can make it difficult for countries
to raise standards of living and protect the environment
because the more people there are, the greater the need
for food, health care, education, houses, land, jobs, and
energy. Adding more people to a countrys population
means that the wealth must be distributed among more people,
causing GNP per
capita to decrease at least in the short term.
to the needs of a rapidly growing population can challenge
a countrys ability to manage its natural resources
on a sustainable basis. For example, people may not be able
to get access to
safe water because more and more households, farms and
factories are using increasing amounts of water. Deforestation
may occur as trees are cut to provide fuel for cooking,
building materials, or land for grazing and agriculture.
may occur as land that has been intensively farmed becomes
depleted of its nutrients or eroded when trees whose roots
systems once anchored the soil are gone. The air may become
polluted as people crowd into cities, the number of cars
increases, people use more and more energy, and economies
continue to industrialize.
for change: Affecting population growth rates
tend to have larger families when they fear that many of
their babies may die, when they need laborers to work on
the family farm or business, when they want to ensure that
they themselves will be cared for in their old age, and
when they lack access to education and to family planning
if they want it.
shows that three of the most successful strategies to reduce
fertility rates are to ensure that people 1) have greater
access to primary health care and family planning services,
2) receive a basic education, especially girls and women,
and 3) have government services that help protect them when
they are sick, old or unemployed.