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Why should we be concerned about population growth rates of 1, 2 and 3 percent a year? Doesn't...

Question:

Why should we be concerned about population growth rates of 1, 2 and 3 percent a year? Doesn't that mean population is growing very slowly?

Population Growth:

Population growth is a measure of how much your population changes in size over a year. This is primarily a consideration of two factors: Birth and death. When birth rates exceed mortality rates, the population grows.

Answer and Explanation:

While 3% may not seem like a vey big number, it's actually a huge growth rate when we're talking about the entire world. On average, the global population growth rate is expected to linger between 0.5 and 1.5%, with the latter being pretty significant growth. However, this has changed since the Industrial Revolution. As societies industrialize, they tend to go through something we call the demographic transition, and have a boom in population. Over the last 200 years, the global population growth rate went all the way up to about 2.1% per year, which is the highest its been in all of human history (that we know of).

So, on a global scale, a population growth rate of 2% is a big deal. After all, we live in a world with over 7.5 billion people. 2% of that would be an increase of 150 million people every year. That's the same as adding 16 New York City's to the world, every year. That's why most demographers are hoping to see the global population growth rate decline, and it has. Now it's closer to 1.1% per year.

Of course, all of this is assuming we're talking about the global population. If you are looking at national population growth, or even just the population growth rate of your hometown, then those values may be less intimidating.


Learn more about this topic:

The Theory of Demographic Transition: Overview

from CLEP Biology: Study Guide & Test Prep

Chapter 23 / Lesson 5
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