Consequences Of Population Growth
What are the consequences of population growth? Give examples.
Population growth can be a problem because of the limits of resources. As #3 said population growth is not the same as overpopulation, but we still have limited resources in any area, as well as globally, that can only support a particular number of people. Modern science and technology as well as improvements in transportation and communication have made this less of a problem because we can get the resources needed to the places they are needed in, even if they do not exist in enough abundance there. This limit on resources will always be an issue, because there is a point at which the resources of our planet cannot sustain more people.
I however think population growth can also be a concern because of where it forces people to live. We have far too much of the population of the planet living in areas that are unsafe or unfit for human life. Whether this is out of necessity or choice it still means that we are overpopulated in areas that shouldn't be sustaining those numbers. The devastation of Hurricane Katrina is a perfect example. The delta on which New Orleans was built was never meant to sustain a city, a hurricane was a statistical inevitability. The numbers of impoverished people living in such a city only worsened the outcome. We as a society have changed so that is it no longer just the rich living on the coasts, which are frankly dangerous. The problem is that the poor and middle class who live in these areas can't afford to rebuild.
The resources available in any place are limited. A growth in population seldom leads to a growth in the resources available. This leads to a situation where either people have to do with less or there is a struggle between people to acquire the resources that they consider they should have and perhaps had access to before the rise in population. The rapid increase in demand leads to very high prices. The increase in prices of housing and land as the population of cities increase is a classic example of this.
In addition, a rapid rise in population is usually associated with a rise in crime. This is also a result of the fact that everyone does not have access to the limited resources. The poor are usually the ones who are denied access to educational facilities, vocational training, etc. People with a limited skill set are not able to get well paying jobs and are forced to resort to criminal activities to fulfill their requirements.
I know the information provided in this source may not be 100% accurate, but Jonathan Franzen's novel Freedom provides some interesting thoughts on population growth and overpopulation. I hadn't really thought much about the issue before, but it's really interesting to think about why people have children and the consequences of enlarging the population.
The biggest concern I have about population growth is that more people means more housing, more housing means less room for agriculture, which means less food for all the people. Food supply is one of the largest concerns facing our species in the future in my opinion. People who aren't hungry forget it is a problem because they don't have to deal with it each day, but it is still a huge issue.
While Post #2 is plausible, it is assuming that population growth is the same as overpopulation. This is not necessarily the case.
In Japan, for example, an impending decline in population is seen as a major worry. Japan has the resources to support a larger population, but only if a larger part of the population is of working age. This shows us that population growth can actually be a good thing. With more people, a country can have more human resources. If it has enough natural resources (as many countries do), this increase in human resources can actually help the economy.
So I agree that overpopulation is always bad, but population growth and overpopulation are not necessarily the same thing.
The Earth's "carrying capacity", or the amount of people it can safely sustain in terms of food, water and resources, is a finite and specific number. While we don't know exactly what that number is, and technology and other advances, or the development of new resources can raise the number, we can safely assume the world population is growing faster than the carrying capacity. Population growth, in other words, increases competition for those resources. At some point, excessive population growth leads to widespread misery and a die off of some of the population, until the number is under the carrying capacity threshold again.
One of the consequences of population growth is that schools cannot handle the influx of children. This leads to larger class sizes and the hiring of untrained teachers. After a few years, when the population shifts again, those teachers are laid off. In the meantime, however, schools are faced with stretched resources just like all of the other social programs.
Oftentimes, there is an impact on social programs. The additional children are usually below the poverty line, and require various types of aid. This leads to higher crime rates and even more poverty, and more unwanted births.
Although this is a generalisation, it is acknowleged that population growth is a characteristic of nations that are characterised as third world nations. It is important to recognise that for some countries which lack basic infrastructure, having more children provides more workers and is a kind of insurance policy. Birth rates generally drop as nations become more developed.
I think one of the interesting effects of overpopulation or just over-crowding is the way it changes the way people interact. Almost anyone who has experience in rural and urban areas can point out how much more easy-going people are in more wide-open, less crowded settings and how much more irritable and defensive people get in crowded cities.
Food shortages, overcrowding, shortages of jobs, depletion of resources such as fossil fuels, electricity, etc. Tensions on programs such as social security, medical care, public transportation, education...all of this would be under immense stress. Overpopulation stresses everything we know.