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Causes[edit]

From a historical perspective, technological revolutions have coincided with population explosions. There have been three major technological revolutions the tool-making revolution, the agricultural revolution, and the industrial revolution all of which allowed humans more access to food, resulting in subsequent [68][69] population explosions. For example, the use of tools, such as bow and arrow, allowed primitive hunters greater access to high energy foods (e.g. animal meat). Similarly, the transition to farming about 10,000 years ago greatly increased the overall food supply, which was used to support more people. Food production further increased with the industrial revolution as machinery, fertilizers, herbicides, and [70] pesticides were used to increase land under cultivation as well as crop yields. In short, similar to bacteria that multiply in response to increased food supply, humans have increased their population as soon as food became more abundant as a result of technological innovations. Significant increases in human population occur whenever the birth rate exceeds the death rate for extended periods of time. Traditionally, the fertility rate is strongly influenced by cultural and social norms that are rather stable and therefore slow to adapt to changes in the social, technological, or environmental conditions. For example, when death rates fell during the 19th and 20th century as a result of improved sanitation, child immunizations, and other advances in medicine allowing more newborns to survive, the fertility rate did not adjust downward fast enough, resulting in significant population growth. Prior to these changes, seven out of ten children died before reaching reproductive age, while today about 95% of [71] newborns in industrialized nations reach adulthood. Human psychology and the cycle of entrenched poverty, as well as the rest of the world's reaction to it, are also causative factors. Areas with greater burden of disease and warfare, contrary to popular belief, do not experience less population growth over the long term, but far more over a sustained period as poverty becomes further entrenched. This is because parents and siblings who have experienced calamitous conditions suffer from a kind of post traumatic stress syndrome about losing their family members and overcompensate by having "extra" babies. These extra babies and calamities fuel a vicious cycle and only in the small minority of cases does it cease. As this cycle is compounded over generations, calamities such as disaster or war take on a multiplier effect. For example, the AIDS crisis in Africa is said to have killed 30 million to date, yet during the last two decades money and initiatives to [72] lower population growth by contraception have been sidelined in favor of combating HIV, feeding the population explosion that we see in Africa today. In 1990, its population was roughly 600 million; today it [73] is over 1,050 million, 150 million more than if the HIV/AIDS crisis had never occurred.

Causes of Overpopulation
Decline in the Death Rate: At the root of overpopulation is the difference between the overall birth rate and death rate in populations. If the number of children born each year equals the number of adults that die, then the population will stabilize. Talking about overpopulation shows that while there are many factors that can increase the death rate for short periods of time, the ones that increase the birth rate do so over a long period of time. The discovery of agriculture by our ancestors was one factor that provided them with the ability to sustain their nutrition without hunting. This created the first imbalance between the two rates. Better Medical Facilities: Following this came the industrial revolution. Technological advancement was perhaps the biggest reason why the balance has been permanently disturbed. Science was able to produce better means of producing food, which allowed families to feed more mouths. Medical science made many discoveries thanks to which they were able to defeat a whole range of diseases. Illnesses that had claimed thousands of lives till now were cured

because of the invention of vaccines. Combining the increase in food supply with fewer means of mortality tipped the balance and became the starting point of overpopulation. More Hands to Overcome Poverty: However, when talking about overpopulation we should understand that there is a psychological component as well. For thousands of years, a very small part of the population had enough money to live in comfort. The rest faced poverty and would give birth to large families to make up for the high infant mortality rate. Families that have been through poverty, natural disasters or are simply in need of more hands to work are a major factor for overpopulation. As compared to earlier times, most of these extra children survive and consume resources that are not sufficient in nature. Technological Advancement in Fertility Treatment: With latest technological advancement and more discoveries in medical science, it has become possible for couple who are unable to conceive to undergo fertility treatment methods and have their own babies. Today there are effective medicines which can increases the chance of conception and lead to rise in birth rate. Moreover, due to modern techniques pregnancies today are far more safer. Immigration: Many people prefer to move to developed countries like US, UK, Canada and Australia where best facilities are available in terms of medical, education, security and employment. The end result is that those people settle over there and those places become overcrowded. Difference between the number of people who are leaving the country and the number of people who enter narrows down which leads to more demand for food, clothes, energy and homes. This gives rise to shortage of resources. Though the overall population remains the same, it just affects the density of population making that place simply overcrowded. Lack of Family Planning: Most developing nations have large number of people who are illiterate, live below the poverty line and have little or no knowledge about family planning. Getting their children married at an early age increase the chances of producing more kids. Those people are unable to understand the harmful effects of overpopulation and lack of ignorance prompts them to avoid family planning measures.
Conquest of Disease

The biggest population story of the last hundred years has been the conquest of disease. Scientists have learned a great deal about the ways to prevent and cure many types of disease. Thus, millions of people who would have died of disease a century ago are more likely to live to old age. The most effective tools in the con-quest of disease have been improved knowledge about nutrition, vaccinations, bet-ter public health practices and the development of new medicines17 In the late 80s, a baby born in Iceland was 32 times more likely to live to the age of one year as a baby born in Afghanistan.18 The major reason for this large differ-ence in survival rate is nutrition. When young children get enough of the right kinds of food, they are likely to live to be adults. In many nations the people know about proper nutrition for young children and adults. Unfortunately, in many LCDs the people lack the money and skills that would allow them to use the knowledge about nutrition they already have. As a result, infant death rates and therefore, overall death rates, remain high in many LDCs. 19

The second most important factor is vaccinations. As far back as 1800, scien-tists knew how to use vaccines to protect people from infectious disease. Use of that knowledge has reduced the rate of diseases like influenza, smallpox, polio and rubella in MDCs. Again, lack of resources has prevented many LDCs from mak-ing similar use of vaccinations to reduce the rate of infectious disease and death rates in their countries. Moreover, vaccines are still not available for some dis-eases-malaria is the most obvious example and the greatest concern in LDCs.20 Third, better public health practices-- the germ theory of disease, discovered by Louis Pasteur in the 1870s clearly demonstrated that a person's health was also a community problem. Sewage dumped into a public water supply could cause dis-ease throughout the community. With this understanding, the science of public health was born. Today, public health measures like waste treatment, water purifi-cation, vaccination, and nutritional education are well developed in MDCs. How-ever, public health measures are still absent in many LDCs. As a result, disease continues to spread and cause high death rates.21 And finally, with the advent of new medicines, disease was less of a problem in MDCs because medical science has invented a whole range of new medicines with which to treat everything from infections to pneumonia. In many LDCs, new drugs and medicines are simply not available. 22 As stated earlier, death rates in MDCs have fallen largely because of improved health and medical knowledge and because of better health and medical practices based on that knowledge. Death rates in many LDCs remain high because the money, personnel and facilities needed to put that knowledge into practice are not available.23 Progress in medical science has, therefore, had a great effect on the population of most nations of the world. Nearly everywhere death rates have fallen. At the same time, birth rates, at least in the LDCs, have remained high. This combination of high birth rates and low death rates have led to the population explosion in many countries throughout the world. The end of the population explosion worldwide will be determined by how much countries invest in family planning efforts to lower fertility and slow down popula-tion growth. Different populations grow at different rates around the world. This depends on how many children families have and the number of years someone is expected to live. The population of many countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America are growing the fastest, especially where large families are still important. These poorer, less developed countries (LDCs) tend to have shorter lives and higher infant death rates. When couples know some of their children may die, they choose to have more. However, many couples wish to limit family size, but lack the informa-tion and means to make these choices. 24
THE CAUSES OF RAPID POPULATION GROWTH

Until recently, birth rates and death rates were about the same, keeping the population stable. People had many children, but a large number of them died before age five.6 During the Industrial Revolution, a period of history in Europe and North America where there were great advances in science and technology, the success in reducing death rates was attributable to several factors: (1) in-creases in food production and distribution, (2) improvement in public health (water and sanitation), and (3) medical technology (vaccines and antibiotics), along with gains in education and standards of living within many

developing nations.7 Without these attributes present in many children's lives, they could not have survived common diseases like measles or the flu. People were able to fight and cure deadly germs that once killed them. In addition, because of the technology, people could produce more and different kinds of food. Gradually, over a period of time, these discoveries and inventions spread throughout the world, lowering death rates and improving the quality of life for most people.8
Food Production Distribution

The remarkable facts about the last 150 years has been the ability of farmers to increase food production geometrically in some places. Agricultural practices have improved in the United States in the last two centuries. Much of the world experi-enced agricultural success, especially in the last 50 years. Between 1950 and 1984, for example, the amount of grain harvested worldwide increased from 631 million tons to 1.65 billion tons. This represents a gain of 2.6 times at a time when the world population increased by only 1.9 times.9 In more recent years, the technology has produced a broader variety of tech-niques: new kinds of seed, chemical fertilizers, pesticides, and more sophisticated machinery. The use of technology has made possible the rapid expansion of agri-culture in the United States and other MDCs and LDCs. The use of pesticides in LDCs, for example was expected to increased between 400 to 600% in the last 25 years of the twentieth century. 10 During the past 10 years, the world's food production has increased by 24 per cent, outpacing the rate of population growth.11 However, this increase was not evenly distributed throughout the world. For example, in Africa, food pro-duction decreased, while population increased. And world cereal production fell in 1993, according to the FAO, which predicted a food shortage in 20 countries during 1994. 12 However, most experts agree that there is no shortage of food, and that equitable distribution should be sufficient to meet all needs for the future. Lack of money to buy food is the problem of malnourishment. Pov-erty, in effect translates the world adequacy into national and local shortages. Within households, men and boys have priority for whatever food is available, while women and children, especially girl children are the first to suffer malnu-trition. Few resources are available to women, even though they are often re-sponsible the for food supply.13
Improvement in Public Health

People have concerns about surviving daily living, such as meeting basic needs: food, water, and housing. First, access to safe drinking water was related to the incidence of epidemic diseases such as cholera and child survival. Less than 50% of the population had access to safe drinking water before 1990. By 1990, access to safe drinking water had increased by 75 per cent. But between 1990 and 2000 the numbers of people without access to safe water are projected to increase. 14 An increasing number of countries both developed and develop-ing are approaching the limits of sustainable water use based on their own renewable resources.15 Second, the pressure to provide adequate housing increases as the population grows. More than half of the developing world's population will be living in urban areas by the end of the century. This growth outstrips the capacity to provide housing and services for others. In some countries, finding a place to live is hard, especially for women. Some women and

children are forced to live in the poorest community where they are open to exploitation and abuse.16 The priorities for getting rid of poverty, improving food supply, ending malnu-trition, and providing adequate housing coincide at all points with those required for balanced population growth.

Effects of Overpopulation
Depletion of Natural Resources: The effects of overpopulation are quite severe. The first of these is the depletion of resources. The Earth can only produce a limited amount of water and food, which is falling short of the current needs. Most of the environmental damage being seen in the last fifty odd years is because of the growing number of people on the planet. They are cutting down forests, hunting wildlife in a reckless manner, causing pollution and creating a host of problems. Those engaged in talking about overpopulation have noticed that acts of violence and aggression outside of a war zone have increased tremendously while competing for resources. Degradation of Environment: With the overuse of coal, oil and natural gas, it has started producing some serious effects on our environment. Rise in the number of vehicles and industries have badly affected the quality of air. Rise in amount of CO2 emissions leads to global warming. Melting of polar ice caps, changing climate patterns, rise in sea level are few of the consequences that we might we have to face due to environment pollution. Conflicts and Wars: Overpopulation in developing countries puts a major strain on the resources it should be utilizing for development. Conflicts over water are becoming a source of tension between countries, which could result in wars. It causes more diseases to spread and makes them harder to control. Starvation is a huge issue facing the world and the mortality rate for children is being fuelled by it. Poverty is the biggest hallmark we see when talking about overpopulation. All of this will only become worse if solutions are not sought out for the factors affecting our population. We can no longer prevent it, but there are ways to control it. Rise in Unemployment: When a country becomes overpopulated, it gives rise to unemployment as there fewer jobs to support large number of people. Rise in unemployment gives rise to crime as people will steal various items to feed their family and provide them basic amenities of life. High Cost of Living: As difference between demand and supply continues to expand due to overpopulation, it raises the prices of various commodities including food, shelter and healthcare. This means that people have to pay more to survive and feed their families.