Population growth is the increase in the number of people in a geographical region, commonly in a country. The exact numbers can only be given by the demographics surveys that take place every year. However that the population is growing is made evident by other factors that are often measurable.
The growth in population is measured by the difference between number of births in a period and the number of death.
By definition, the number of births must be higher than the number of deaths for the population to grow.
Causes of population growth
- Availability of better medical facilities: Child mortality has considerably gone down and there is increase in longevity because of better health factors and advancement in medicine. Options are now available for better fertility. The rate of deaths has gone down alongside the increased survival rates.
- Availability of food: As against the earlier times, nutritional needs are being met for much larger portion of population. Droughts and famines are a thing of the past.
- Awareness and culture: Sometimes the awareness level of the people is low to the consequences of overpopulation. Secondly, many people are not aware of the available options for contraception. Thirdly, the desire for a male child makes some couple go on having children till they have one. Lastly, in many cultures practicing contraception goes against the religious ideology thereby resulting into large families.
In Asian societies this is the biggest factor for the overpopulation. In fact, it has resulted into overpopulation and in population explosion, especially in India and China.
Effects of overpopulation
- Depletion of resources: The natural resources are limited and the strain on them because of the population explosion has been dearly felt. The environmental degradation is also a result of this. Littering, use of bad fuel, non-availability of space are the natural consequences. It is worse because man has to encroach over the habitat available to nature to meet its own survival needs.
- Unemployment: With the growth in population to this extent, the sources of income are few and have to be shared between people or the competition is really high. This leaves a lot of people unemployed.
- Cost of living and resultant poverty: Since the demand is constantly increasing and there may be a lag in supply or shortage of it, prices keep rising and so the cost of living is constantly on the rise. Coupled with unemployment, it results in poverty.
Steps must be taken to increase awareness of the consequences of population growth so as not to add the strain on the earth and the resources.