The world’s growing population has been among the major concerns of many researchers for the last few decades. Hite and Seitz (2016) explain that the population growth is exponential: it took thousands of years for the Earth’s population to reach the first billion, whereas the seventh billion was achieved in 12 years (p. 8). Many efforts have been taken to study the reasons for overpopulation and its effects, which led to the development of ways to control the rapid population growth.
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The improvements in healthcare and the subsequent decrease in the death rate are among the main reasons for the population explosion (Rinkesh, 2017, para. 4-5). Certain innovations, such as the use of penicillin to treat bacterial infections and the introduction of chemotherapy for cancer patients have helped to achieve a significant decrease in the mortality rates. Moreover, given the advancements in fertility treatment and the overall enhancement of pregnancy and child care, the number of births each year has also been growing (Rinkesh, 2017, para. 7). Combined, all of these factors created an imbalance between the birth and mortality rates, thus leading to overpopulation. Other reasons for overpopulation include the lack of proper birth control and family planning strategies in developing countries, as well as the high rates of immigration to developed countries, such as the U.S. and U.K., which lead to certain areas of these countries becoming overcrowded (Rinkesh, 2017, para. 8-9).
Overpopulation affects each country and the entire planet, particularly due to the increased use of resources (Hite & Seitz, 2016, p. 21). Hunger is one of the most noticeable effects of overpopulation (Hite & Seitz, 2016, p. 43). Since not every country of the world can afford to support its growing population with vital resources, such as clean water, food, and houses, many people in developing countries live in threatening conditions. Rapid population growth also results in the rising rates of unemployment, military conflicts, and wars, as well as in a high cost of living (Rinkesh, 2017, para. 12-14). Finally, overpopulation harms the environment: “Pollution and the depletion of nonrenewable resources will increase as the world’s population grows” (Hite & Seitz, 2016, p. 43).
Despite such disastrous prospects, many governments have not been participating in the programs for population growth control until the recent years: in 1974, “out of 110 developing countries, about 30 had population control programs, another 30 had information and social welfare programs, and about 50 had no population limitation programs at all” (Hite & Seitz, 2016, p. 31). However, the various initiatives of the UN, as well as its cooperation with the governments of developing countries led to slower population growth in certain areas of the world (Hite & Seitz, 2016, p. 32). The main strategies for controlling the growth of the population in developing countries have been focusing on family planning and contraception provision (Hite & Seitz, 2016, p. 32). Rinkesh (2017) confirms that sex education and family planning have the potential to decrease overpopulation: “One of the best ways is to let [people] know about various safe sex techniques and contraceptives methods available to avoid any unwanted pregnancy” (para. 16).
Overall, the effects of population growth can be drastic and affect the entire world, which makes it important to address the issue. The understanding of the causes of overpopulation can help to devise and promote effective strategies for slowing down the growth of the population, thus decreasing its negative impacts on the economy, people’s quality of life, and the environment.
Hite, K. A., & Seitz, J. L. (2016). Global Issues: An Introduction (5th ed). Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons.
Rinkesh (2017). Overpopulation. Web.
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