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Environmental Studies: Sociological

HS 302

Pritee Sharma
January 02, 2017
The Population Problem
Thomas Malthus: Population growth poses trap to nations seeking development.

World population is growing at 1.4% per year. It is as high as 7.9% in Rwanda and 8.6% in
Liberia, whereas it is less than 1% in Italy and Portugal, and declining populations in
Hungary, Bulgaria and Latvia (1995-2000).

Birthrates are crude measure of population trend, more important is (i) Number of
persons in child-bearing years and (ii) Number of children those persons are bearing.

Stationery Population: is one in which age and gender specific fertility rates yield a
birth rate that is constant and equal to death rate, so the growth is zero.

Level of fertility rate that is compatible with stationery population is called replacement
Effects of Population Growth on
Economic Development
Whether the increase in population positively contributes to the
average citizen/average product.
O is the output level, X is the output per worker, L is number of workers.
In per capita terms:
O/Population = L * X/Population
where, output per capita is product of share of population in labour force
and output per worker.

Direct effect of population growth is on age structure. Abundance of youth

creates a large supply of people too young to work, this is called youth

Country with slow population growth will have large population who has
reached retirement age, hence the situation is known as retirement
Diminishing Marginal Returns

Most common way to enhance productivity is through capital accumulation.

The lack of availability of savings for younger populations restricts capital


A negative effect of population growth on economic growth involves presence of

fixed factors (land, raw materials etc). Here the law of diminishing marginal
productivity applies.

In the presence of fixed factor (land)successive additions of variable factor (labour)

eventually declines the marginal productivity of variable factor.

When marginal product of labour falls below average product then per capita income
will decline as the population increases.