The world’s population is growing at 1.1 per cent per year, having surpassed 7 billion people in late 2011. It is expected to rise to 9.1 billion people by 2050. This growth is unprecedented and is being felt mainly in the developing world. Due to the unprecedented growth rates being experienced and uneven distribution of population growth occurring it is resulting in huge amounts of pressure on the natural environment, drastic global inequalities and is affecting age structure and employment in both developed and developing countries.
World Population Growth
Over time the world’s population has increased rapidly. In 1900 there were only 1.6 billion people on earth. In 1950, there were 2.5 billion people. Today, in 2013 there are currently 7.1 billion people living on earth. Overtime the age structure of the world’s population has also changed. 28% of the world’s population is currently under the age of 15, providing built in momentum for further growth.
Distribution of the World’s Population Growth
As seen in the graph above, population growth in less developed countries has been rapid and ever increasing whereas in the more developed countries population growth has been gradual but is now slowing. This uneven distribution patterns is due to the individual regions different fertility, infant mortality and life expectancy rates. In the developing countries such as Africa fertility rates sit at 7 expected children per woman, where in the developing world countries such as Italy, Germany and Spain are struggling to satisfy replacement rates of 2.1 children per woman. It is projected that less developed countries’ populations are going to continue to rise unless measures or solutions are put into practice. Africa’s population alone is expected to triple within this century from 1 billion to 3.6 billion. The developed world’s population is said to drop as the crude birth rate falls below replacement levels. Europe’s population is predicted to shrink by 9% unless they meet their replacement levels or increase their net migration along with Japan and Russia. Low fertility rates are also leading to aging in the structure of developed countries and a younger age structure evident in developing countries. Half of the world’s 7.1 billion people are also jamming into cities which are becoming more and more densely populated. Many of the world’s megacities are already being questioned on their capacities to sustain such large amount of people, with more and more babies being born each day and more and more migrants moving into cities for family or jobs reasons.
Causes of Rapid Growth
Since the 1950’s the death rate for the world has more than halved and infant mortality rates sit at a third of what they once were. This slash of infant mortality rates and increase in life expectancy has accelerated rapid growth dramatically. As a result of advancements in medical science, public health, nutritional improvements and greater access to education more and more young people are surviving their reproductive years and growing old. As the improvements in medical science and public health in the developed world came slowly, their life expectancy rates increased gradually and currently rest at 80 years of ages. In the developing world the improvements came much later and more rapidly and currently rest at 67 years of age. In the developed Government incentives and crisis such as war also can accelerate growth rates. Australia’s well known catch phrase in the 1960’s after World War II “populate or perish” lead to the enormous increase in birth rates however is now being felt with the aging of Australia’s population. Government incentives offered to accelerate growth rate include things such a baby bonuses’ and family packages. Countries such as Japan and Singapore are adopting these incentives to hopefully raise fertility rates, producing more babies. In the developing world the lack of education of contraception and family...
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