Population growth refers to the change in the number of inhabitants of territory during a specific period of time. Thus, the size of the population is not a static parameter. Rapid population growth leads to a country with a young average age. The young population requires the creation of new infrastructure including shelter, health care and schools. If the country has the resource to employ its new labour, the population increase can lead to rapid economic growth. If, on the other hand, the country cannot utilize its workforce productively, employment rises and leads to emigration. The developing and underdeveloped countries of the world are facing high population growth and it acts as a barrier towards the development of the country.
The rising population in developing countries has resulted in less progress than it might have been in developed countries- lost opportunities for raising living standards, particularly among a large number of the world’s poor. Developed countries like Europe, Japan, North America economic growth has been accompanied by moderate population growth, stimulating demand, encouraging technological innovations and reduced investment risks. Moderate labour force growth, combined with extra spending on education, can also mean continuous upgrading of the labour force with better-educated workers. But such benefits can be achieved only with a moderate increase in population. Most developing countries experience growth that by historical standards in faster than that. by historical standards in faster than that.
High population growth creates pressure on limited natural resources, reduces private and public capital formation and diverts addition to capital resources rather than increasing the stock of capital per worker. The UN predicts that the human population will surplus 11 billion by the end of the century. As the world’s population grows its demand for water, land and fossil fuels all of which came at a steep price for already endangered plants and animals.
Man is a producer as well as a consumer and in order to balance the rate of production and the rate of consumption, a certain population level is maintained. For a less developed country with a high population and a high percentage of employable people, any increase in population will be detrimental to its economy. Population policy must be developed according to the following guidelines-
- It must be based on society’s economic development.
- Since economy and population are closely related, they must both be worked on at the same time.
- Both the quantity and quality of life of the population must also be worked on at the same time.
Dealing with the relationship between population and the economic development of society properly can bring about rapid improvement in the economic development and standard of living.
Some of the major issues due to the population growth are as follows:
- Unemployment: The pressure of unwanted population growth increases the army of unemployment youths of employable age that becomes a burden on the society. Large proportion of population in India is dependent on agriculture mostly done by traditional methods. Consequently, production per unit area is low. Educated, non-educated; skilled, non-skilled workers migrate to urban areas in search of jobs. Thus the towns and cities become overcrowded, making living conditions poorer and resulting into socio-economic and environmental problems.
- Poverty: It is widely believed that more rapid population growth, increases poverty by reducing real wages.
- Scarcity of water and food security: The growth of demand for energy, manufacturing and modern forms of transport is only partially affected by population growth. The demand for water is strongly influenced by population growth. In many parts of developed and developing countries water demand substantially exceeds sustainable water supply.
Technological innovations in agriculture and increase in area under cultivation have ensured that so far, food production has kept pace with population growth. Evolutions of global and national food security systems have improved access to food. It is estimated that the global population will be 9 billion by 2050 and the food production will be double. Thus, in the next 5 decades, food and nutrition security could become critical in any part of the world.
- Ecology: Population growth may have had a determinant impact upon renewable resources such as rain forest and fishing areas. Population growth is likely lead to a degradation of resources and real rural incomes are falling.
- Poor standard of living: Population affects a country’s standard of living as well. In India, the standard of living is low and housing condition are often very poor which lead to health problems such as deficiency diseases.
The growth of the human population around the world affects all people through its impact on the economy and the environment. The current rate of population growth is now a major burden to a human being.