Mongabay.com is considered a leading source of information on tropical forests by some of the world's top ecologists and conservationists. TROPICAL RAINFORESTS: Imperiled Riches—Threatened Rainforests

Human Population Growth




The graph above shows human population growth over the past 25,000 years or so. As evident, the graph is fairly boring—there is a virtually constant human population, up until around 1 A.D., when growth rates accelerate. The small downward spike during the mid-2nd millennium A.D. reflects the impact of the black plague. By the mid-19th century population growth reaches exponential proportions, a trend that continues today.



Though human population is still increasing at a substantial rate, the birth rate worldwide has peaked and now looks to be declining. This means that each woman is having fewer children. However, the problem remains that least-developed countries still have a huge population that is yet to reproduce (under the age of 15). In the coming years, as these women begin to reproduce, the population will continue to expand.

What is the best way to slow population growth? Many will argue, citing numerous studies, that women's education has the most significant effect in curbing the number of children they have. Encouraging later marriages, say marrying at 21 instead of 16, can also materially reduce the number of children brought into the world each year, as can improved access to contraceptives.

Population Growth Profile, 1998.

Region

New growth (millions)

New growth (%)

Sub-Saharan Africa

15.7

20.0

Nigeria

3.3

 
Congo (Kinshasa)

1.4

 
Ethiopia

1.3

 
Near East and North Africa

7.1

9.0

Egypt

1.2

 
Turkey

1.0

 
Asia and Oceania

44.7

56.8

India

16.5

 
China

10.6

 
Indonesia

3.2

 
Latin America and the Caribbean

7.8

44.7

Brazil

2.1

 
Mexico

1.7

 
More Developed Countries

2.9

3.7

United States

2.3

 
Total

78.2

100.0


source: U.S. Bureau of the Census 1999

2003 article on declining fertility rates

Current World Population Statistics

World's Largest Cities


Continued: Economic Restructuring


Other pages in this section:

A World Imperilled
Threats from Humankind
Economic Restructuring
Logging
Fires
Commercial Agriculture
Hydro, Pollution, Hunting
Debt
Consumption, Conclusion
- - - - -
References
References
References
References
References
Natural forces
Subsistence Activities
Oil Extraction
Mining
War
Cattle Pasture
Fuelwood, Roads, Climate
Population & Poverty

- - - - -
Kids version of this section
- Why are rainforests disappearing?
- Logging
- Agriculture
- Cattle
- Roads
- Poverty


Selection of information sources








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