Zero Population Growth: Definition & Countries

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  • 0:00 What Is Population Growth?
  • 0:26 What Is Zero…
  • 1:47 How Zero Population…
  • 2:51 What Are Population Pyramids?
  • 3:46 Countries with Zero…
  • 4:11 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Stephanie Matalone

Stephanie taught high school science and math and has a Master's Degree in Secondary Education.

In this lesson, you will learn what zero population growth means and how countries can achieve it. You will also learn which countries are currently at zero population growth and why.

What Is Population Growth?

As you may or may not know, the population of the world is currently increasing at an exponential rate. In other words, there are more and more people on this planet every year. Population growth can be defined as the change in the amount of people in a location during a certain period of time. A positive population growth means that the number of people are increasing, while a negative population growth means that the number of people are decreasing.

What Is Zero Population Growth?

Zero population growth (ZPG) occurs when there is no change in the amount of people in a given time. Let's say that Regular City, between Plainville and Example Counties, had ZPG last year. Does this mean that no one died or was born last year? You might think so, but it's not that simple. When we talk about no change in the amount of people, we mean no net change. No net change means that the number of people born equals the number of people who have died. Thus, zero population growth occurs when birth and death rates are equal. Birth rate refers to the amount of births per 1,000 people per year, while death rate refers to the amount of deaths per 1,000 people per year. So in order for Regular City to have ZPG, Regular City has a birth rate of 33 and a death rate of 33 as well.

When dealing with population growth, we must also take into account people moving in and out of an area. When dealing with Regular City, we assumed there was no emigration or immigration. In other words, we assumed no one left Regular City and no one entered Regular City. In the real world, that's not usually the case. In reality, zero population growth occurs when births and immigration equal deaths and emigration in a certain time period.

How Zero Population Growth Works

Looking at the ever-expanding population of the world, you may wonder how a country can achieve zero population growth. Countries with low fertility rates tend to have lower population growth rates. Total fertility rate (TFR) refers to the average amount of children a woman has over her lifetime. The closer a country's TFR is to 2.1, called the replacement rate, the more likely that country is to have ZPG. This means that a country where the women have roughly two children on average will more likely have ZPG.

Typically, more developed countries tend to have lower population growth rates. Developed, or first world, describes countries that are industrialized and have higher standards of living, such as the United States, Canada, Australia, France, and Germany. Developed countries are more likely to have lower growth rates due to the availability of birth control, family planning, and medical care, which means less babies will be born and these babies are more likely to live to adulthood.

What Are Population Pyramids?

Age pyramid for Sudan in 2009
Age Pyramid of Sudan 2009

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