Population boom: a myth?

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Is population on the rise? Are all our problems related to the teeming millions? It is a hot topic out there. Here is an interesting take on it.

Many of today’s most-respected thinkers, from Stephen Hawking to David Attenborough, argue that our efforts to fight climate change and other environmental perils will all fail unless we “do something” about population growth. In the Universe in a Nutshell, Hawking declares that, “in the last 200 years, population growth has become exponential… The world population doubles every forty years.”

But this is nonsense. For a start, there is no exponential growth. In fact, population growth is slowing. For more than three decades now, the average number of babies being born to women in most of the world has been in decline. Globally, women today have half as many babies as their mothers did, mostly out of choice. They are doing it for their own good, the good of their families, and, if it helps the planet too, then so much the better.

Here are the numbers. Forty years ago, the average woman had between five and six kids. Now she has 2.6. This is getting close to the replacement level which, allowing for girls who don’t make it to adulthood, is around 2.3. As I show in my new book, Peoplequake, half the world already has a fertility rate below the long-term replacement level. That includes all of Europe, much of the Caribbean and the far east from Japan to Vietnam and Thailand, Australia, Canada, Sri Lanka, Turkey, Algeria, Kazakhstan, and Tunisia.

It also includes China, where the state decides how many children couples can have. This is brutal and repulsive. But the odd thing is that it may not make much difference any more: Chinese communities around the world have gone the same way without any compulsion—Taiwan, Singapore, and even Hong Kong. When Britain handed Hong Kong back to China in 1997, it had the lowest fertility rate in the world: below one child per woman.

So why is this happening? Demographers used to say that women only started having fewer children when they got educated and the economy got rich, as in Europe. But tell that to the women of Bangladesh, one of the world’s poorest nations, where girls are among the least educated in the world, and mostly marry in their mid-teens. They have just three children now, less than half the number their mothers had. India is even lower, at 2.8. Tell that also to the women of Brazil. In this hotbed of Catholicism, women have two children on average—and this is falling. Nothing the priests say can stop it.

Women are doing this because, for the first time in history, they can. Better healthcare and sanitation mean that most babies now live to grow up. It is no longer necessary to have five or six children to ensure the next generation—so they don’t.

More here.

One response »

  1. 1. Be strong and courage….. Go ahead, don’t fear you are right, and lead the people for better society. Being a Dalit proud of you, Dalits having very important role in Indian Politics to serve the downtrodden. let us take this opportunity. National Dalitsatta Working Committee, (NDSWC)Dalitsatta- India.

    2. Dear Friends…, We can overcome these all atrocities only with Political empowerment. It is nobody offers, But has to be taken by own Initiate and Sacrifice, Politicians are not born…. They are molded and exposed in the society by Active Presence and Identification. District Dalit Committee, West Godavari, AP (DDC )Dalitsatta- India.

    3. Dear Brothers and Sisters………, We are born to be free and to change the society, not for discrimination and slavery, remember school days…”India is my country let us love our people. Be a true citizen of India. Dalit Student Federation, (DSF) Dalitsatta- India.

    4. Choose your life track…. Serve with Dalitsatta, don’t be patient, let us wake-up work together for National Integration. Dalit Trade Union, (DTU) Dalitsatta- India.

    5. Dalit Means: The people who are thrown away by upper caste Socially, Educationally, Economically and Politically. They are notified SC/ST in The Government. Scheduled Castes, & Scheduled Tribes Employees Welfare Association, (SEWA) Dalitsatta- India.

    6. Let’s don’t be foolish ourselves by watching Ads. on welfare schemes for SC and ST it is only a show. Those are linked with someone higher caste. In practical to disclose. Dalit Pradesh Committee, Andhra Pradesh. (DPC) Dalitsatta- India.

    7. Dalitsatta is open to all… Welcomes you, Dalit are everywhere, our strength is powerful, Our services are Great. Dalit Youth Brigade, (DYB) Dalitsatta- India.

    (Geddada Vijay Kumar)
    Chairman
    National Dalitsatta Working Committee (NDWC)
    ‘Dalitsatta-India’
    Fondation for Reservations Reforms (Regd.)
    gedten2004@yahoo.co.in
    Cell: 0091-9014324494,

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