Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

The Population Bomb: How we survived it

Date:
April 4, 2011
Source:
University of Michigan
Summary:
World population will reach 7 billion this year, prompting new concerns about whether the world will soon face a major population crisis.

World population will reach 7 billion this year, prompting new concerns about whether the world will soon face a major population crisis.

"In spite of 50 years of the fastest population growth on record, the world did remarkably well in producing enough food and reducing poverty," said University of Michigan economist David Lam, in his presidential address at the annual meeting of the Population Association of America.

Lam is a professor of economics and a research professor at the U-M Institute for Social Research. The talk is titled "How the World Survived the Population Bomb: Lessons from 50 Years of Exceptional Demographic History."

In 1968, when Paul Ehrlich's book, "The Population Bomb," triggered alarm about the impact of a rapidly growing world population, growth rates were about 2 percent and world population doubled in the 39 years between 1960 and 1999.

According to Lam, that is something that never happened before and will never happen again.

"There is virtually no question that world population growth rates will continue to decline," said Lam. "The rate is only as high as it is because of population momentum, with many women of childbearing ages in developing countries because of rapid population growth in earlier decades."

Lam discussed a variety of factors that have worked together to reduce the impact of population increases. Among the economic forces, he cited the green revolution, started by Nobel prize-winner Norman Borlaug, that increased per capita world food production by 41 percent between 1960 and 2009.

"We've been through periods of absolutely unprecedented growth rates, and yet food production increased even faster than population and poverty rates fell substantially," he said.

The capacity of cities to absorb the growth in world population is another major reason that the world was able to double its population in the last 40 years without triggering mass starvation or increased poverty, Lam told the group. Along with urbanization, Lam pointed to the impact of continued declines in fertility and rising investments in the education and well-being of children.

Work Lam did in Brazil with ISR social demographer Leticia Marteleto shows a mean increase of 4.3 years of schooling among 16-17-year-olds from 1960 to 2000.

"This increase clearly involves more than just reductions in family size," Lam said. "For example, children with 10 siblings in 2000 have more schooling than children with one sibling in 1960.

"There is no Norman Borlaug of education to explain how schooling improved so much in developing countries during a period in which the school-age population was often growing at 3 percent or 4 percent a year. This is one of the accomplishments of the last 50 years that deserves to be noted and marveled about."

In conclusion, Lam told the group, "The challenges we face are staggering. But they're really nothing compared to the challenges we faced in the 1960s."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Michigan. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Michigan. "The Population Bomb: How we survived it." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 4 April 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/04/110401203436.htm>.
University of Michigan. (2011, April 4). The Population Bomb: How we survived it. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 30, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/04/110401203436.htm
University of Michigan. "The Population Bomb: How we survived it." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/04/110401203436.htm (accessed September 30, 2014).

Share This



More Science & Society News

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

How 'Yes Means Yes' Defines Sexual Assault

How 'Yes Means Yes' Defines Sexual Assault

Newsy (Sep. 29, 2014) Aimed at reducing sexual assaults on college campuses, California has adopted a new law changing the standard of consent for sexual activity. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Why Is Big Tobacco Voluntarily Warning You About E-Cigs?

Why Is Big Tobacco Voluntarily Warning You About E-Cigs?

Newsy (Sep. 29, 2014) Big tobacco companies are voluntarily printing health warnings on their e-cigarette packages — a move some are calling part of a PR strategy. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Why Pediatricians Endorse IUDs, Implants For Teens

Why Pediatricians Endorse IUDs, Implants For Teens

Newsy (Sep. 29, 2014) New recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics point to intrauterine devices and implants as good forms of birth control for teens. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
New Corvette Can Secretly Record Convos And Get You Arrested

New Corvette Can Secretly Record Convos And Get You Arrested

Newsy (Sep. 28, 2014) The 2015 Corvette features valet mode – which allows the owner to secretly record audio and video – but in many states that practice is illegal. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Science & Society

Business & Industry

Education & Learning

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins