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Human Population Growth

Learning Objectives
Describe the characteristics of first-world versus
third-world countries
Understand the human population growth rates
in different countries
Recognize global trends in population growth
Describe population momentum and the affects
of fertility rates.
Describe different social and political changes
that may affect human population growth rate in
several countries.
After completing this activity, students will be
able to:
Background Information
In low-income countries more than a third of the
population is under the age of 15, while in high-income
countries less than a fifth is.
The worlds population is growing by 200,000 people a
Between 1980 and 2030, the population of low- and
middle-income countries will more than double to 7.0
billion, compared with 1 billion for high-income countries.
In the next 35 years, 2.5 billion people will be added to
the current population of 6 billion
Population Growth Rate
Population growth rate
(PGR) is the increase in a
countrys population during
a period of time. It reflects
the number of births and
deaths during the period
and the number of people
migrating to and from a
Between 1980 and 2000
total world population grew
from 4.4 billion to 6 billion.
By 2015 at least another
billion will be added,
bringing the total to more
than 7 billion.
Global trends in PRG
Death and birth rates have declined over the past
several decades.
Advances in medicine and better access to healthcare
has increased peoples life spans
Parents realize that as health care improves, their
children are more likely to reach adulthood, so they are
choosing to have fewer babies.
Increased access to family planning is helping parents
control the number and spacing of their children
With greater access to education and jobs, women are
starting families later and are having fewer, healthier
Population growth rates have started to decline due to
the slowing of birth rates
Birth rates remain high in some countries because birth
rates have not dropped as quickly as death rates
Population growth rate still tends to be higher in low- to
middle-income countries than in higher income
Even as growth rate decreases in these countries, the
number of people added to the population each year has
been increasing because the population base has
become larger.
Population momentum
The lack of balance between birth and death rates is
particularly pronounced in many developing countries
experiencing population momentum.
This occurs when a large portion of the population is of
childbearing age
Even if the fertility rate of people in developing countries
reaches replacement level there will still be several decades
where the absolute numbers of people being born will
exceed the numbers of people dying.
How does the age of its population
affect a country?
In low-income
countries where more
than a third of the
population is under
15, a large portion of
the countries
population is too
young to work and, in
the short run, is
dependent upon
those who can
The transition to lower
population growth rates can
pose problems as well.
As growth slows, the
average age of the
population rises and the
proportion of elderly,
nonworking people will
The puts pressure on the
working-age population and
on the countrys pension,
health care, and social
security systems.
This is an issue faced by
some high-income countries
today and which developing
countries may face in the
future as their population
People in motion
International migration has important
social, economic, and political
This is as true for countries that lose
citizens as it is for the countries which
immigrants make their new homes.
Most migration in the world today occurs
between developing countries.
Urbanization is also significant. The rapid growth of cities
in developing countries is nearly universal.

In 1960 less than 22% of the developing worlds
population lived in an urban environment. In 1990 it
increased to 34%. It is expected to reach 48% by 2015.

Movement from rural to urban areas can result in greater
production of goods and services, but can also create
congestion, pollution, greater demand for housing, clean
water, sanitation facilities, recreation areas, public
transport, health care and education

When rapid migration to cities strains the capacities of
governments to provide these services to everyone, the
result may be a lower standard of living for everyone.
Population growth, the economy,
and the environment
Rapid population
growth rates can
make it difficult for
countries to raise
standards of living
and protect the
The more people
there are, the greater
the demand for
Responding to the needs of a
rapidly growing population can
challenge a countrys ability to
manage 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

Strategies for change: Affecting
population growth rates
Parents 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.
Experience 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 basic education, especially girls
and women
3. Have government services that help protect
them when they are sick, old or