Population explosion refers to the rapid and dramatic rise in world population that has occurred over the last few hundred years. Between 1959 and 2000, the world’s population increased from 2.5 billion to 6.1 billion people. According to United Nations projections, the world population will be between 7.9 billion and 10.9 billion by 2050.
Most of the growth is currently taking place in the developing world, where rates of natural increase are much higher than in industrialized countries. Concern that this might lead to over population has led some countries to adopt population control policies.
However, since people in developing countries consume far less, especially of non-renewable resources, per head of population than people in industrialized countries, it has been argued that the West should set an example in population control instead of giving, for example, universal child benefit.
The Definition of Over Population:
In the past, infant and childhood deaths and short life spans used to limit population growth In today’s world, thanks to improved nutrition, sanitation, and medical care, more babies survive their first few years of life.
The combination of a continuing high birth rate and a low death rate is creating a rapid population increase in many countries in Asia, Latin America and Africa and people generally lived longer. Over-population is defined as the condition of having more people than can live on the earth in comfort, happiness and health and still leave the world a fit place for future generations. But some people now believe that the greatest threat to the future comes from over-population.
It took the entire history of humankind for the population to reach 1 billion around 1810 Just 120 years later, this doubled to 2 billion people (1930); then 4 billion in 1975 (45 years).
The number of people in the world has risen from 4.4 billion people in 1980 to 6.3 billion in 2005. And it is estimated that the population could double again to nearly 11 billion in less than 40 years. This means that more people are now being added each day than at any other time in human history.
According to a report by the United Nation Population fund, total population is likely to reach 10 billion by 2025 and grow to 14 billion by the end of the next century unless birth control use increases dramatically around the world within the next two decades.
Both death rates and birth rates have fallen, but death rates have fallen faster than birth rates. There are about 3 births for each death with 1.6 births for each death in more developed countries (MDCs) and 3.3 births for each death m less developed countries (LDCs). The world’s population continues to grow by 1 billion people every dozen years.
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 of five.
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) increases 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.
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.