October 28, 2011

Defusing the Population Bomb

Fred Pearce, writing for cnn.com:

"Women today are having half as many children as their mothers and grandmothers. The global average is now down to 2.5 children per woman, and it continues to fall."
"Falling fertility happens faster if countries get richer and if women are better educated. Similarly urbanization helps a lot. While even young children can be an economic asset on an African peasant farm, they are an economic liability in cities, where they require education before they can get a job. The teeming megacities of the poor world may look like symbols of overpopulation, but they are part of the solution, too."

Another contributing factor, especially in poor areas, is food scarcity. As with the rest of the Earth's animal population, humans can only continue to increase their numbers where there is sufficient food to nourish. Once the carrying capacity of the local environment is exceeded nature's equilibrium takes over, limiting population growth.