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Consequences of Rapid Population Growth

 The growth in human population around the world affects all people through its impacts on the economy, social and environment sectors. Rapid human population growth has a variety of consequences which in this essay it would be separated becoming micro and macro levels consequences. The micro level consequences in this context are referred to individual and family things while the macro level consequences are referred to regional, national and global things instead.

         At the micro level, rapid population growth has delivered to unmet need which significantly threat child and maternal health and family welfare (United Nations Population Information Network / POPIN website). If the number of family member increases while the family income still in low rate (poor family) and can not cover the family needs, so then children may be affected by micronutrient deficiencies and easily attacked by diseases which also have a detrimental effect on growth and development. Furthermore, most maternal deaths are due to unsafe practices in terminating pregnancies, a lack of readily available services for high-risk pregnancies, and women having too many children or having them too early and too late in life (World Population Balance website). On the other hand, lower fertility levels resulting in smaller families were thought to benefit both parents and their children directly, at least the wife has more chance as an employment to support family welfare (United Nations Population Information Network / POPIN website).

At the macro level, rapid population growth has delivered a number of consequences such as environmental threats, poverty, scarcities of food and fresh water and international security threat.


Environmental Threats

Rapid population growth will emerge the expansion of human activity. The expansion of human activity will cause the destruction of forest and the loss of biological diversity which may lead to instability of ecological systems and reducing ability of the ecosystem to combat global warming. As reality, the population growth is following by increasing of water pollution, erosion of hillsides and silting of rivers, increasing of greenhouse gases, rising sea levels, growing weather severity, disruption of agriculture, and increase the energy and resources consumption (Population Media Center website).


Rapid population growth aggravates poverty in developing countries by producing a high ratio of dependent children for each working adult. This leads to a relatively high percentage of income being spent on immediate survival needs of food, housing, and clothing, leaving little money for purchase of elective goods or for investment in the economy, education, government services, or infrastructure. Lack of available capital continues to frustrate the attempts of many developing countries to expand their economies and reduce poverty. Only about 20 percent of the current world’s population has a generally adequate standard of living. The other 80 percent live in conditions ranging from mild deprivation to severe deficiency. This imbalance is likely to get worse, as more than 90 percent of future population growth is projected for the less developed countries ( Population Media Center website)(see Figure 1).Poverty

Source : Own construct


Scarcities of Food and Fresh Water

Productive agricultural systems have contributed to economic progress in many countries, both developed and less developed. The Green Revolution of the 1970s enabled some developing countries to become net exporters of food. Yet, global population growth during and since the Green Revolution is continuing to consume more and more of the expanding food base, leading to a decline in per capita availability of cereal grains on a global basis over the last 15 years.

The world’s agricultural systems rely substantially on increasing use of fertilizers. But now, the world’s farmers are witnessing signs of a declining response curve, where the use of additional fertilizer yields little additional food product. At the same time, fertilizers and intensive cropping lower the quality of soil. These factors will more and more limit the possibilities of raising food production substantially and will, at a minimum, boost relative food prices and resulting hunger for many. So will the mounting resistance of pests to insecticides, which are used increasingly by the world’s farmers. On a global basis, 37 percent of food and fiber crops are now lost to pests. At the same time, nitrogen-based fertilizers are yielding nitrous oxide, which adds to the greenhouse effect of the carbon dioxide humans produce.

At the same time, shortages of water are at a crisis point in many countries. At least 400 million people live in regions with severe water shortages. By the year 2050, it is projected to be approximately two billion. Water tables on every continent are falling, as water is pumped out at far greater rates than rainwater can replenish in order to provide irrigation for agriculture. India, for example, is pumping out its underground aquifers at twice the rate of natural replenishment. Humans are already using half of the globe’s products of photosynthesis and over half of all accessible fresh water. Long before human demand doubles again, the limits of the ecosystem’s ability to support people will become dramatically evident (Population Media Center website).

Threats to International SecurityAs mentioned earlier, population growth is a major contributor to economic stagnation through its depressing effect on capital formation. With growing numbers of young people attempting to enter the labor force, many developing countries have extraordinarily high levels of unemployment. Often high rates of unemployment give rise to severe political instability, which ultimately threatens national and international security. Moreover, the combination of poverty and violence is adding rapidly to the number of refugees seeking to move into more stable and prosperous areas. Growth of refugee and migrant populations are contributing to political instability and economic dislocation in many countries. Intelligence agencies in the U.S. and elsewhere have long recognized the implications of population growth for international security ( Population Media Center website) (see Figure 2).rapid

Source : Own construct

However, the rapid population growth is not all bad, it has also positive impacts. As a few writers, including the late Herman Kahn of the Hudson Institute, and Julian Simon of the University of Maryland and the Heritage Foundation, have claimed public attention and influenced current U.S. population policy by arguing that population growth, in the long run, is beneficial to economic growth (Ford Foundation website).

Based on those, indonesia development actors should properly think how to make a big population indonesia has is going far away from the foregoing negative cause-effects. Instead, it should become a positive powerful element in order to blast economic boredom.


Regards – Bang Jenal

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[…] population growth for international security ( Population Media Center website) (see Figure 2) Consequences of Rapid Population Growth « Indonesians Resonance […]

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