World Population Awareness

Frequently Asked Questions

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Frequently Asked Questions

   May 1998, Atlantic Monthly   By: Bill Mckibben

If fertility remained at current levels, the population would reach the absurd figure of 296 billion in just 150 years. Even if it dropped to 2.5 children per woman and then stopped falling, the population would still reach 28 billion. doclink

   December 28, 1998, from the Germany World Population Fund

1/3 of the population growth in the world is the result of incidental or unwanted pregnancies. doclink

Investment in Voluntary Family Planning Programmes: Benefits and Cost-saving Effects (Fact Sheet)

   June 18, 2013

This is a well-done fact sheet with many persuasive population facts that can be used for tabling or persuading policy makers.

Here are some of the facts from the factsheet:

• There are an estimated 222 million women in developing countries with an unmet need for modern contraception.

• Worldwide only 57.4% of women aged 15-49 who are married or in a union are using modern contraception, and this figure falls to only 31.0% in the least developed countries

• Growth is expected to be most rapid in the 49 least developed countries, which are projected to double in size from around 900 million inhabitants in 2013 to 1.8 billion in 2050.

• The population of Africa is expected to more than double by mid-century, increasing from today's 1.1 billion and potentially reaching 4.2 billion by 2100.

• Niger has one of the highest population growth rate in the world (currently 4.0% a year) and the highest fertility rate in the world (with an average of 7.8 babies born to every woman between 2010 and 2015) also has one of the lowest rates of modern contraceptive use (only 8.7% among women of reproductive age who are married or in a union).

• 80 million unintended pregnancies occur every year in developing countries, with women with an unmet need for modern contraception accounting for 79% of these unintended pregnancies.

• Worldwide an estimated 41% of pregnancies are unintended5 and over one in five of all births result from unintended pregnancies.

Fulfilling the unmet need for modern contraception in developing countries would each year:

• Save the lives of 79,000 women from pregnancy-related deaths (in addition to the 118,000 maternal deaths averted by current modern contraceptive use)

• Save the lives of 1.1 million infants that would die before the age of 1 (in addition to the 1.8 million infant deaths averted by current use)

• Avert 54 million unintended pregnancies (which would represent a decline by two-thirds and is in addition to the 218 million averted currently)

• Avert 26 million abortions, including 16 million fewer unsafe procedures (in addition to the 138 million abortions currently averted, 40 million of them unsafe)

• Avert 7 million miscarriages (in addition to the 25 million averted currently) • Avert 21 million unplanned births (in addition to the 55 million averted currently). doclink

World Population Milestones


Population (in billions) 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
Year 1804 1927 1959 1974 1987 1999 2011 2023
Elapsed - 123 33 14 13 12 13 15+


In 2050, one of every 25 individuals worldwide will be aged 80 or over; in 1998, only one in 100 people were over 80. doclink

   October 1998, UN report

In the 29 hardest-hit African countries, the life expectancy is currently seven years less than it would have been without AIDS doclink

   October 1998, UN report

Global average births are now 2.7 per woman, down from 5 in the early 1950s doclink

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Frequently Asked Questions

Population Infographic

   October 17, 2013

Scroll to see the entire infographic.

Norwich University Online Masters in Diplomacy


Click on the link in the headline if you don't see the infographic here.

Investment in Voluntary Family Planning Programmes: Benefits and Cost-saving Effects (Fact Sheet)

   June 18, 2013

This is a well-done fact sheet with many persuasive population facts that can be used for tabling or persuading policy makers.

Here are some of the facts from the factsheet:

• There are an estimated 222 million women in developing countries with an unmet need for modern contraception.

• Worldwide only 57.4% of women aged 15-49 who are married or in a union are using modern contraception, and this figure falls to only 31.0% in the least developed countries

• Growth is expected to be most rapid in the 49 least developed countries, which are projected to double in size from around 900 million inhabitants in 2013 to 1.8 billion in 2050.

• The population of Africa is expected to more than double by mid-century, increasing from today's 1.1 billion and potentially reaching 4.2 billion by 2100.

• Niger has one of the highest population growth rate in the world (currently 4.0% a year) and the highest fertility rate in the world (with an average of 7.8 babies born to every woman between 2010 and 2015) also has one of the lowest rates of modern contraceptive use (only 8.7% among women of reproductive age who are married or in a union).

• 80 million unintended pregnancies occur every year in developing countries, with women with an unmet need for modern contraception accounting for 79% of these unintended pregnancies.

• Worldwide an estimated 41% of pregnancies are unintended5 and over one in five of all births result from unintended pregnancies.

Fulfilling the unmet need for modern contraception in developing countries would each year:

• Save the lives of 79,000 women from pregnancy-related deaths (in addition to the 118,000 maternal deaths averted by current modern contraceptive use)

• Save the lives of 1.1 million infants that would die before the age of 1 (in addition to the 1.8 million infant deaths averted by current use)

• Avert 54 million unintended pregnancies (which would represent a decline by two-thirds and is in addition to the 218 million averted currently)

• Avert 26 million abortions, including 16 million fewer unsafe procedures (in addition to the 138 million abortions currently averted, 40 million of them unsafe)

• Avert 7 million miscarriages (in addition to the 25 million averted currently) • Avert 21 million unplanned births (in addition to the 55 million averted currently). doclink

   May 1998, Atlantic Monthly   By: Bill Mckibben

If fertility remained at current levels, the population would reach the absurd figure of 296 billion in just 150 years. Even if it dropped to 2.5 children per woman and then stopped falling, the population would still reach 28 billion. doclink


   November 23, 2014

1. What do you think is the main factor(s) that contribute to overpopulation?

Anything that gets in the way of a woman's ability to control her own reproduction. This would include: patriarchal traditions, lack of contraceptive choices, lack of education, child or forced marriages, banned or unsafe abortions, disenfranchisement, misinformation about birth control, doctor's ill-informed or prejudiced attitude, and use of a less effective method of birth control, such as the pill, condoms, or withdrawal - the three most common methods in the U.S.

2. What is the biggest effect of overpopulation?

Depletion of resources: for example: for oil, the sweet crude is mostly gone, leaving the hard-to-get oil at great energy cost to civilization because energy powers civilization and renewables have a long way to go to fill in for fossil fuels. This country is going into debt to keep production up. Other resources being depleted: soil, water, arable land, fertilizer (phosphate), metals.

Pollution: carbon, plastics, nitrogen, GTO crops.

3. In what areas of the world is overpopulation having the biggest effects and how?

Overpopulation in one part of the world can affect another part of the world. For example: global climate change is caused by population X a large per capita consumption in developed countries, but lesser developed countries, depending on their physical location and economic situation, may be more affected by climate change. Rapid population growth in SubSaharan Africa will certainly have a large impact on the area, but who can tell how different it would be if Africans had the same economic wealth that Americans have? Technology, wealth, consumption, and population all play a part.

4. How does overpopulation differ from the US and other countries?

Because developed countries have greater wealth, they consume much more per capita, so population size makes a bigger difference, particularly in the U.S, which had a large resource base and early technology to start with, as in the discovery of oil, for example.

5. Why don't we hear much about the issues on the news and media?

Population has had some very unpopular aspects, such as China's forced abortions and sterilizations. Some actions in the name of population amounted to genocide. There are still such abuses going on today. It is the job of the population activists of today to stick to the reproductive justice plan - every woman should have control over her own reproductive capacity. This plan has been proven to work. There is no need for 'population control', or preaching moral imperatives to have only one (or two) children.

6. Why should people be concerned about overpopulation now, as opposed to waiting until it becomes more of an apparent problem?

If we wait, the problem will be worse, and then what can we do about the problem? Killing people, neglecting their health, or allowing them to starve is unacceptable. Giving women control over their own production gives both short and long-term health and economic benefits to women, couples, children already born, communities, and even nations. doclink


   June 5, 2013

James F.: Well, since you are going to post some liberal Nazi propaganda .... Let's talk about liberal and communist lifestyles and how many people they MURDERED.... In the U.S. we have a toll of 53,000,000 babies aborted (Murdered) In China that toll is 400,000,000 (Murdered) that doesn't count the ones that are born and then killed because they are not a boy either... doclink

WOA!! responds: Talking about Nazis and baby killers, In 2009, there were 6.4 million pregnancies. These are pregnancies detected by a test or diagnosed by a doctor.

Before implantation, around half the results of conception (zygotes) do not develop properly, do not implant in the uterus and are passed out of the woman's body. So that means there were12.8 million conceptions 12 months prior.

12.8 million conceptions

4,131,019 live births (2009)

784,507 abortions (2009)

500,000 miscarriages (average per year)

26,000 stillbirths (2009)

6,400,000 zygotes never implanted

Looking at these numbers, just who is the real eugenicist?

Note that I did not include losses due to contraception. That is because it is designed to prevent conception. Also not counted is the morning-after pill, which works by delaying or preventing ovulation so that an egg is never fertilized in the first place, or by thickening cervical mucus so sperm have trouble moving.

Population Grows by 1.5 Million People a Week

   May 13, 2013

This week, our global population will grow by more than 1.5 million people. That's like adding a city the size of Phoenix or Philadelphia. In just one week! What's worse, around the world right now: One in ten people lacks access to clean drinking water. One in eight doesn't have enough food to eat. One in five lives on less than $1 a day. ... doclink

Question on Population and Economics

   November 26, 2012, WOA!! website - Karen Gaia Pitts

Hello Ms. Gaia,

I am currently a junior at South Pasadena High School in South Pasadena, California. I have recently been assigned a research paper and I have decided to write it on the economic, medical, and environmental effects that occur from overpopulation. I perused through your World Overpopulation Awareness website and was very pleased with what I found. However, I was wondering if you could tell me a few more things about the effects of overpopulation on the economies of overpopulated countries. Or perhaps if you could think of any advantages of overpopulation, it would be of great help to me. Thank you so much for your time and I look forward to your reply!


Katie doclink

Hi Katie, In a region or country where there is not enough farmland or grazing land to feed everyone, or there are frequent droughts, and people are too poor to buy food from other countries, that region can be said to be overpopulated. A good example is Egypt, where farmland only exists for about a half mile on either side of the Nile River, and the rest is desert. There are more people than the land can support. Egypt imports much of its grain, which isn't a problem if there is food aid or people can afford the imported grain, but it becomes a problem when there is a heat wave or drought in countries that usually send their grain to Egypt. Or there is a problem if the sending countries decide to use their grain for biofuel instead of for feeding people in other countries. When people are poor, and don't have enough land to grow all their food, they have to spend all their money on food. They cannot afford to send their children to school, or to get medical care. Many people rely on the government to education them or provide medical care, but when the majority of the people in the country are poor, the tax base is too small to support programs for education, health care, sanitation, and so on. Foreign aid may help, but foreign aid has never been enough to be a complete solution. When children don't get an education, especially girls, they tend to marry early (their families are glad to have one less mouth to feed), and have more children. Lack of health care also means more babies but high infant and maternal mortality rate. If mothers don't get health care for prenatal, birth, or postnatal matters, then it is unlikely they will get the information about family planning and unlikely they would get access to contraception. In addition, a high infant mortality rate leads a woman to believe that she needs to have more children as insurance. Also, lack of access to contraception means the mother is more likely to die in childbirth. And when children are not spaced by at least two years, the health of the mother and the two babies also suffers. Lack of food and health care also means the children are physically and mentally stunted, so they will be less productive, which is not conducive to a strong economy. As for the positive side of overpopulation: if there is a large number of young people entering the labor market, this can boost the economy. But the jobs must be there for these young people, or there will be no benefits to have so many of them. And, if these young people are educated, the chances of boosting the economy are improved. However, these benefits are only temporary. The benefits of a young, educated workforce will be greatly diminished when these young people reach retirement age: first they will have lived longer than they would have if they did not have a good job, thus adding to the population size and competing with younger generations for natural resources; second, while they live longer, they will require considerably more medical care than people of a younger age, which will drag down the economy, and third, they are more likely to have fewer children, so that now there will be a senior boom instead of a baby boom, and there will be more dependents than working age adults, which will also help bring down the economy. The U.S. is experiencing such a senior boom today, which at least one economist has blamed for our current economic crisis. One more economic phenomenon associated with population is the sending of jobs overseas. Developing countries, now that they have educated their young, often do not have enough jobs for which their young people have trained, so American corporations are finding they can hire these educated young people for far lower wages than what they would pay young college-educated Americans to do the same job, or - they can move the jobs to the country where these young people are living. This has caused a great deal of unemployment in the U.S. I hope this helps. Karen Gaia

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World Population Data 2015

Focus on Women's Empowerment
   August 2015, Population Reference Bureau

Every year, Population Reference Bureau (PRB) provides the latest demographic data for the world, global regions, and more than 200 countries. This year's data include indicators on the status of women in key areas such as education, employment, and government. Looking at the numbers across the world, we can get a picture of women's progress towards equality. doclink

Still Growing: Latest World Population Projections

   July 29, 2015, Huffington Post   By: Robert Walker

Note: This article references the same U.N. revised population projection discussed in another article recently summarized on this site, so we will note only the highlight information.

Fifteen years ago, some demographers saw an end to world population growth, and some anticipated a global "birth dearth." But a new July estimate by the U.N.'s World Population Division shows world population growing faster than previously projected - reaching 9.7 billion by 2050 and 11.3 billion by 2100 (up from the recently published figures of 9.1 and 10.9 billion, respectively).

While fertility rates are mostly declining, child marriage customs in some developing countries steer millions of women into early and frequent child bearing. Fertility rates in these nations have not followed world trends and growth rates exceed the anticipated benchmarks. In fact, the populations of most developing countries are on course to double by 2050, with South Sudan, Niger, and Zambia possibly tripling in population by 2050. 33 developing nations are on course to triple their population by 2100. Spiraling growth will make it more difficult for these nations to address poverty, hunger, sanitation, water scarcity, environmental degradation, conflict, and other development challenges.

The Population Institute recently issued a report called "Demographic Vulnerability: Where population growth poses the greatest challenges." It identified and ranked 20 nations that face the greatest challenges with respect to hunger, poverty, water, environment and political instability. The report considered corruption, resource scarcity, climate change and other factors affecting a nation's ability to accommodate projected population growth. It ranked South Sudan as the world's most vulnerable nation, with Somalia, Niger, Burundi, Eritrea, Chad, Democratic Republic of Congo, Afghanistan, Yemen and Sudan in the top ten. Niger ranks #1 for poverty. The Population Reference Bureau predicts that in the next 35 years Niger's population will rise from 18.2 million to 68 million. Burundi ranks #1 on the Global Hunger Index. Its population is projected to increase from 10.5 million in 2014 to 26.7 million by 2050. Unless child marriage and related customs change in these nations, the path out of poverty will remain a daunting challenge.

Demographic projections predict but do not determine the future. The U.N.'s population report indicates that even relatively small reductions in fertility rates can significantly shrink the population projections for 2050 and 2100. doclink

Art says: Donation-supported NGOs sometimes tell us that less than half a billion women lack access to family planning, and they imply that if donors would help to close that gap the overpopulation problem would be solved. For a while U.N. population experts quoted the same statistics. Recent findings show that the solution is not that simple. Before many of the world's people will use family planning, they must first change the customs and religious values that shape their views on desired family size. In several nations or regions, westerners interested in aiding the change process face restrictions, threats and a genuine risk of death if they publicly advocate family planning.

India Will Be Most Populous Country Sooner Than Thought, U.N. Says

   July 29, 2015, New York Times   By: Rick Gladstone

The U.N. reported that India's population will probably surpass China's by 2022, not 2028, as it had forecast just two years earlier. In its 2015 revision report, the population division of the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs said China's population was now 1.38 billion, compared with 1.31 billion in India. But in seven years, the populations of both nations are expected to reach 1.4 billion. Thereafter, India's population is estimated to grow to 1.5 billion in 2030 and 1.7 billion in 2050, while China's is expected to remain fairly constant until the 2030s, when it is expected to slightly decrease.

Over all, the report said, the world's current population of 7.3 billion is expected to reach 9.7 billion by 2050, slightly more than the 9.6 billion forecast two years ago. The number could reach 11.2 billion by the end of the century. Much of the overall increase between now and 2050 is expected to occur in Africa, or in countries with already large populations. Half the growth will occur in just nine countries: India, Nigeria, Pakistan, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Tanzania, the United States, Indonesia and Uganda. By contrast, the populations of 48 countries are expected to decline in that period, mainly in Europe, because of a slowdown in fertility rates that started decades ago. The report said several countries faced a population decline of more than 15% by 2050, including Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Hungary, Japan, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Romania, Serbia and Ukraine.

Among the 10 largest countries by population, one is in Africa (Nigeria), five are in Asia (Bangladesh, China, India, Indonesia and Pakistan), two are in Latin America (Brazil and Mexico) one is in North America (the United States), and one is in Europe (Russia). Among these, Nigeria's population, currently ranked seventh largest, is growing the fastest, and it is expected to surpass the U.S. population by 2050, making Nigeria's population the world's third largest.

Due to substantial improvements in life expectancy, the population revision report projected that he number of people 80 or older will more than triple by 2050 and increase more than sevenfold by 2100. In 2015, 28% of all people 80 and older live in Europe, but as the populations of other areas increase in size and grow older, that share is expected to decline to 16% in 2050 and to 9% by 2100. Globally, life expectancy has risen to 68 years for men and 73 years for women in 2010-15, from 65 years for men and 69 years for women in 2000-5. The highest levels of life expectancy in 2010-15 are in Hong Kong, followed by Japan, Italy, Switzerland, Singapore, Iceland, Spain, Australia and Israel. The report projects global life expectancy will rise from 70 years in 2010-15 to 77 years in 2045-50 and 83 years in 2095-2100. doclink

World Population Projections - UN 2014

   September 1, 2014, WOA website

Note that Africa's projections have increased due to the faulty assumption made in earlier projections that Africa's fertility rates would decline similarly to the rest of the world.

This chart is adapted from a chart shown in Scientific American at doclink

Will Overpopulation Lead to Public Health Catastrophe?

   October 29, 2014, Medical News Today   By: David Mcnamee

Recent research by University of Washington demographer Prof. Adrian Raftery has found that previous projections on population growth may have been conservative. He predicts somewhere 9.6 and 12.3 billion people by 2100. This is 5 billion people more than have been previously calculated.

A key finding of the study is that the fertility rate in Africa is declining much more slowly than has been previously estimated. In Nigeria - Africa's most populous country - each woman has an average of six children, and in the last 5 years, the child mortality rate has fallen from 136 per 1,000 live births to 117.

"There are already big public health needs and challenges in high-fertility countries, and rapid population growth will make it even harder to meet them." High population density leads to a much higher rate of contact between humans, which means that communicable diseases - ranging from the common cold to Dengue fever - can be much more easily transmitted.

And more people means greater efforts are needed to control waste management and provide clean water. If these needs cannot be adequately met, then diarrheal diseases become much more common, resulting in a big difference in mortality rates.

"There are already big public health needs and challenges in high-fertility countries, and rapid population growth will make it even harder to meet them." A Johns Hopkins report said that unclean water and poor sanitation kill over 12 million people every year, while air pollution kills 3 million, and furthermore, in 64 of 105 developing countries, population has grown faster than food supplies.

The Johns Hopkins team identified two main courses of action to divert these potential disasters.

Firstly - sustainable development. The report authors argued this should include:

*More efficient use of energy
*Managing cities better
*Phasing out subsidies that encourage waste
*Managing water resources and protecting freshwater sources
*Harvesting forest products rather than destroying forests
*Preserving arable land and increasing food production
*Managing coastal zones and ocean fisheries
*Protecting biodiversity hotspots<

The second vital area of action is the stabilization of population through good-quality family planning, which "would buy time to protect natural resources."

Experts consider boosting the education of girls in developing countries to be a prime solution. As well as acquiring more control over their reproductive life, an educated female workforce should have more opportunities of employment and of earning a living wage. Studies report that the children of educated women also have better chances of survival and will become educated themselves. This pattern continuing across generations is associated with a decline in fertility rates.

If the fertility rate were to decline faster, Prof. Raftery suggests that high-fertility countries can reap "a demographic dividend," which is "a period of about a generation during which the number of dependents (children and old people) is small. This frees up resources for public health, education, infrastructure and environmental protection, and can make it easier for the economy to grow. This can happen even while the population is still increasing." doclink

The Amazing, Surprising, Africa-Driven Demographic Future of the Earth, in 9 Charts

   July 16, 2015, Washington Post   By: Max Fisher

The United Nations Population Division has dramatically revised its projections for the next 90 years. The new statistics, based on in-depth survey data from sub-Saharan Africa, tell the story of a world poised to change drastically over the next several decades. Most rich countries will shrink and age, poorer countries will expand rapidly and Africa will see a population explosion nearly unprecedented in human history.

Here is the story of the next 90 years as predicted by UN demographic data and explained in nine charts. The charts are interactive. Click on the link in the headline to see the charts.

In 2100 today's dominant, developed economies will be increasingly focused on supporting the elderly and Africa, for better or worse, will be more important than ever.

In Africa there will four times the workforce, four times the resource burden, four times as many voters. The rapid growth itself will likely transform political and social dynamics within African countries and thus their relationship with the rest of the world.

Nigeria will have almost a billion people by 2100 and will be within range of surpassing China in population. Nigeria is only about the area of Texas and the country is already troubled by corruption, poverty and religious conflict. The government that can barely serve its population right now. How will it respond when the demand on resources, social services, schools and roads increases by a factor of eight. The country's vast oil reserves could certainly help - the rapidly growing workforce could theoretically deliver an African miracle akin to, say, China's.

Right now, many African countries aren't particularly adept at either governance or resource management. If they don't improve, exploding population growth could only worsen resource competition -- and we're talking here about basics like food, water and electricity -- which in turn makes political instability and conflict more likely. The fact that there will be a "youth bulge" of young people makes that instability and conflict more likely.

Tanzania, one of the poorest countries in the world, went from 34 million people in 2000 to 45 million today. By 2100 it is projected to reach 276 million. Ethiopia and the Democratic Republic of Congo have similar projections.

If Tanzania remains as poor and troubled as it is today, water and food resources will only get scarcer as it's divided among more and more people, as will whatever money the government makes exporting natural resources. That typically leads to instability and a higher risk of conflict. But if Tanzania puts its growing population to work building the economy, its future in 2100 could be promising.

The "dependency ratio" is the ratio of people under age 15 or over age 64 to the number of people age 15 to 64. The idea is that people who are very young or very old are dependent on others to provide for them. In Africa only 56% Africans are working-age, and the dependency ratio is 80%. That's a huge burden on society and a big contributor to poverty. But as the birth rate slows and those young dependents enter the work force, the dependency ratio is going to fall, dropping to 60% by 2055. There will be a lot of young men who could be employed, (creating a 'demographic dividend') but if resources are scarce, this can create political instability.

Europe, as it continues to shrink, will get the worst of the economic problems, with the average dependency ratio hitting an Africa-style 76% in 2055.

South America is expected to reach a deeply worrying 82% dependency ratio by 2100. Its population will rise until about 2050, at which point it will begin its own gradual population decline.

Asia's population growth, already slowing, is expected to peak about 50 years from now then start declining. Its dependency ratio, currently low, will stay low until it starts to rise around 2050.

In China, when the current generation retires, there will be a rapidly growing pool of retirees just as the workforce starts to shrink. Those aging retirees will be an enormous burden on the Chinese economy, which is just beginning to slow down.

North America continue to grow at a slow, sustainable rate, surpassing South America's overall population around 2070.

Because the United States can expect healthy, sustained growth, mostly due to immigration, it will continue to be a leader economically. Immigration helps the U.S. to do what very few other countries, including China, has yet figured out: how to be a rich country with a growing population. doclink

Art says: The article text concludes that population growth is the best assurance of economic growth. It never suggests that nearly doubling our existing population might have any bad consequences - only that some African nations might have adjustment problems due to population increases. It strongly advocates the dependency ratio theory which says that low fertility rates lead to economic decline.

However, the Washington Post author may not be representing the UN data correctly. His twist that dependency ratio is the major problem of concern when the population nearly doubles may not represent the views of UN demographers who gathered the data.

Karen says: The author seems to think that improved governance or resource management are going to be enough to overcome resource depletion, which, if you do the math, means that by 2100 the resources per person are going to be 1/8 of what they are today, unless something is done. This something has got to be very miraculous, such as pulling rabbits out of a hat, as Paul Ehrlich said. There aren't any more rabbits.

The author says "Even if too-high fertility might be bad for the region, individual families have every economic incentive to have lots of children." This statement is utterly false. In rural areas, large families outgrow their farmland. The grown or teen children, and sometimes the entire family, have no choice but to move to the city where they can possibly get work. If the economy is poor, there is no work. In the city, the child is even more of a financial burden. Often the children end up in the streets or given into slavery, or child labor, or - in the case of girls - married off early. Often the father has to seek a job overseas. If he is lucky, he can make enough to send money back to his family. In many cases, such as in Qatar, he becomes an indentured servant, and receives no payment.

The author asks: "How do you sustain your economy if the average worker spends a third of his or her life on retirement?"

First of all, people that can afford good medical care are the ones that live the longest. They are better off financially, and have been able to save for their retirement because they had fewer children to support.

Second, the fallacy of that logic is that, the reason that the U.S. has a high dependency ratio is because the current generation of retirees were baby boomers, resulting from a time when the U.S. fertility rate was 3.7. If a country increases its birth rate, or has high immigration to 'support' those retirees, then there will be another baby boom which will result in the same situation 20-30 years later, and even more people will be needed to support retirees and the economy. This perpetuates a vicious cycle of ever-increasing population, which will always and increasingly outstrip resources.

Third, often ignored is the fact that one of the contributors to population growth is people living longer, so that more generations are alive at one time. We older Americans often expect to be kept alive at great costs to society. Is it fair to younger generations to expect them to support us as we prolong our lives beyond natural limits, and in the meantime consume more of our world's stores of depleting resources? Wouldn't be better if us retirees help insure that our grandchildren have a future?

Art adds: Spain and Italy have nearly the world's highest dependency ratios, yet unemployment was 30% in 2013 and youth unemployment was 50%. Perhaps birthrates plummeted in part because they couldn't find enough jobs for those "scarce" workers. At any rate, immigrants are risking their lives to get to Italy to compete for work with this unemployed group. According to the dependency ratio theory, Italy should have a surplus of jobs, but it doesn't seem to work that way.

10 Things You Didn't Know About the World's Population

   April 13, 2015, UNFPA - United Nations Population Fund   By: Steven Edwards

On April 13, world leaders opened the 48th session of the Commission on Population and Development and took stock of the world's development and the welfare of its people. Below are 10 little-known facts about the world as it stands today.

1. The 1.8 billion people between the ages of 10 and 24, the largest youth population ever, creates an unprecedented potential for economic and social progress. A disproportionate percentage of this number live in developing countries. In the world's 48 least-developed nations, where extreme poverty, discrimination or lack of information hinders their productivity, they make up most of the population. With better education and opportunities, these young people's ideas, ideals and innovations could transform the future.

2. Women in sub-Saharan Africa are as likely to die in pregnancy or childbirth as the women Charles Dickens described in nineteenth-century England. While global maternal mortality rates are down 45% since 1990, for every 100,000 babies born in sub-Saharan Africa, 510 women still die from maternal causes. Better access to maternal health care and family planning can save more these women.

3. About half of these women want to avoid pregnancy but do not use modern contraceptives. If they all had access to modern contraceptives, and if all pregnant women and newborns received appropriate care, maternal deaths would drop by an estimated 67%. Unintended pregnancies would fall by about 70%, and newborn deaths would drop by about 77%.

4. Complications in pregnancy and childbirth are the second leading killer of adolescent girls in developing countries, each day killing about 20,000 girls under age 18, many of whom become pregnant before they are physically mature. Adolescent births have declined since 1990, but progress has been uneven, and much more work remains to be done. Improving status and access to information reduces pregnancy, and pregnancy-related deaths.

5.Although child marriage is banned around the world, about 37,000 child marriages take place each day. It persists in areas of poverty and gender inequality. Empowering girls can play a powerful role in ending this practice. Girls who know their rights and are equipped with basic life-skills and education show far more resistance to child marriage.

6. In the early 1970s, women had on average 4.5 children each; by 2014, women had around 2.5 children each. Taking these declines into account, the UN has developed three population projections: the highest suggests the world could see 17 billion people by 2100, and the lowest estimates around 7 billion people - roughly the size of today's global population. The middle projection suggests that this century will end with 11 billion people.

7. Since 2005, while HIV-related deaths have fallen by 35%, and new HIV infections are falling as well, adolescents deaths are rising. We must do much more to provide adolescents with comprehensive sexual and reproductive health information, services to help them prevent HIV transmission, and treatment for those who are infected.

8. Current trends will subject about 15 million girls between ages 15 and 19 to female genital mutilation (FGM) by 2030. Globally, an estimated 100 million to 140 million girls and women today have undergone some form of FGM. The practice can cause chronic pain, infections, birth complications, and other adverse effects. In 15 key countries where UNFPA and UNICEF are jointly working to help end the practice, about 12,357 communities have committed to abandon FGM.

9. More people are displaced than ever before. In 2013, some 232 million people were international migrants, up from 175 million in 2000.

10. More than half of the global population is urban - and history's largest urbanization wave will continue. We need forward-looking policies to ensure that all residents are able to benefit from this trend. doclink

End of "Demography" section pg ... Go to page 1 2 3

Myths, Misinformation and Misunderstandings

Overpopulation Must Remain a Key Issue for Environmentalists

A second take on Alan Weisman’s Countdown
   April 11, 2014, Earth Island Journal   By: Kenneth Brower

Malthus predicted reduction in human numbers, either by what is now called "Malthusian catastrophe" - famine, disease, and war - or by voluntary methods to avert such catastrophe. This is not reductionism. It's just common sense.

Athanasiou writes: "It does this [buttresess right-wing pessimism and shoves social justice off the agenda] by telling a tale in which we humans are simply animals, and are fated by our natures to fill our niche to overflowing. But this just isn't true. We're animals, sure, but we live in history as well as nature, and as Marx pointed out long ago, we make our own history, or at least we try to."

Human reproductive behavior does not require inequity for population to go exponential. As Malthus pointed out, food increases arithmetically while population increases geometrically. "The power of population," Malthus wrote, "is indefinitely greater than the power in the earth to produce subsistence for man." Equity considerations do figure in the equation, but the core problem is all in the math. There are already more billions of humans on Earth than any society, now matter how just, can support in the long run. doclink

Population: Still the Big Taboo

   February 26, 2014, Jonathan Porritt

Jonathan Porritt rated the eight leading environmental NGOs in the UK by asking them whether they would be prepared to commit to the following six actions:

-Accept and promote the findings of the Royal Society's People and Planet Report that population and consumption must be considered as indivisible, linked issues;

-Acknowledge publicly and actively communicate the crucial relevance of population to your organisation's mission and objectives;

-Support and advocate the principle of universal access to safe, affordable family planning for all women throughout the world;

-Call on the Government to act on the findings of the Royal Society's Report and draw up a national population policy;

-To use your organisation's considerable policy resources, voice and influence to speak and engage members of the wider public in an intelligent, informed and honest debate about population;

-Include the population factor in all relevant communications and policy pronouncements.

-With the honourable exception of Friends of the Earth (that has now developed a new and rather more progressive position on population, which), they're all pretty much where they were four decades ago. Despite a massive increase in human numbers and a correspondingly massive deterioration in the state of our physical environment.

Here is how he rated the 8 organizations, with WWF-UK coming in last.

1. Friends of the Earth 2. The Wildlife Trusts 3. CPRE 4. Greenpeace 5. RSPB 6. Wildfowl and Wetland Trust 7. National Trust 8. WWF-UK doclink

Karen Gaia says: WWF International has a Population, Health and Environment program in Madagascar. This is the real work that needs to be done. Porritt did not ask the right questions of the right people. Perhaps that's why WWF-UK did not find it necessary to respond.


Deans' Design Challenge to Address Growing Population

   November 25, 2013, The Cost of Energy   By: Caleb Lee and Jake Meagher

On Dec. 3, The Deans' Design Challenge: Urban Life 2030, in collaboration with The Harvard Innovation Lab (I-lab) in Allston, invited students to propose solutions to the expected sociopolitical and environmental problems posed by population expansion. Although specific award amounts have not yet been announced, the sponsors will fund the top eight student proposals beyond the research and development stage.

This offer joins three other challenges targeting different disciplinary areas made last year: the Deans' Cultural Entrepreneurship Challenge, the Deans' Health and Life Sciences Challenge, and the President's Challenge. I-Lab managing director Gordon S. Jones wants projects designed for real world implementation, and not just academic exercises. He said, "I view these Challenges as a mechanism for collaboration and the birthplace of ideas-some of which may get recognized, some of which will go on regardless of the Challenge."

The challenge has four focus areas: improving the functionality of cities, improving energy efficiency and sustainability, technological innovations in material consumption, and addressing the adverse effects posed by an older population. Participating Harvard Students will submit their proposals in February. A committee of experts from the University and outside community will judge them. Finalists will give presentations at an event in May.

The Challenge encourages teams to involve people from different departments and disciplines. Gordon Jones said that Challenge winners "almost always include some unique approach or insight and include some consideration for how they can be economically sustainable." doclink

Art says: This project calls for adapting to, rather than reducing, population growth.

Karen Gaia says: addressing the challenges rather than the solutions is like improving the ambulance service while failing to put brakes in cars.

It sounds like the Innovation Lab is afraid of the solutions, perhaps through a misunderstanding of what they are, and a mistaken fear that they might be unacceptable.

Examining the 'Overpopulation is a Myth' Website

   November 14, 2012, WOA!! website - Karen Gaia Pitts

Obviously whoever is behind the website has not bothered to check that world grain consumption exceeded world grain production 8 of the last 12 years, and with the production side declining due to high temperatures, soil erosion, peak oil, overpumped water aquifers, paving over of farmland by urbanization, and the decline of the Green Revolution; and with the consumption side increasing by 2 billion more people in the next 25 years, even if everyone stopped driving their cars and stopped eating meat, it wouldn't be enough to avert mass starvation.

Furthermore, the website's calculation of future population is based on old U.N. projections, which were updated in 2011 because the former projections were too low, based on the assumption that fertility rates would continue to fall as much as they did the previous 20 years. The website also falsely claims that, because population hasn't continued to double as fast as it was, that we have no need to worry.

Reading more on this website, at: - the BIGGEST LIE on that page is: "The United Nations Fund for Population Activities (UNFPA) " .. has "been involved in programs with governments around the world who deny their women the right to choose the number and spacing of their children. Their complicit work with the infamous "one-child policy" mandated by the government of the People's Republic of China, uncovered by an investigation of the U.S. State Department in 2001, led the United States to pull its funding."

The UNFPA has bent over backwards to ensure the principles of the 1994 Cairo Convention, where 197 nations endorsed "the right to decide freely and responsibly the number and spacing of one's children, and the right to a satisfying and safe sex life." The source of this lie is the Population Research Institute, headed by Stephen Mosher, who has called contraception 'baby poison pills'. The part about the UNFPA's work in China is also not true - the UNFPA was working with China to use voluntary contraception instead of abortion. doclink

Karen Gaia says: there are more bits on misinformation on the website. Send in your rebuttals to help us better counter such arguments when they come up in conversations with our acquaintances.

Tanzania: Contraceptives Are Risky, Expert Warns

   August 26, 2012   By: Abela Msikula

Just to give you an idea of the kind of misinformation we are up against ...

Dr Brian Clowes, an American researcher working with Human Life International warned yesterday against a growing campaign to promote the use of contraceptives in family planning, saying it had much to do with profits of pharmaceuticals than benefiting Tanzanian families.

He said Tanzanians needed to learn about the "deadly" health effects of contraceptives, which he calls "a new form of colonialism" and that propagation of birth control pills aims at eliminating young Africans and not nourishing their families because the use of the pills had serious health consequences to human life.

"Family planning through abortion or the use of contraceptives has caused many women and girls to suffer physically and psychologically. A traditional family planning method such as using a calendar is the only safer means," said Clowes.

Mr Emil Hagamu, the Human Life International coordinator for Anglophone Africa and head of Pro Life Tanzania, said it was a wrong to think that having many children accelerated poverty. Instead poverty should actually be linked to unequal distribution of resources as well as poor national income. He called people to reject the imposed culture that aimed at depopulation. He said family planning was the responsibility of the father and mother who should be left to use traditional family planning methods and decide on the number of children they wanted to raise.

"Rejection of children through abortion or contraceptives is not only against God, but also a big threat to women's health. There is scientific evidence that women using contraceptives can easily acquire diseases like HIV/Aids," he said. doclink

Karen Gaia says: If contraception helped stem and alleviate poverty in other countries (take Thailand for example), wouldn't it be safe to assume that contraception would have the same results in Tanzania?

U.S. Birth Rate Not High Enough to Keep Population Stable

   August 15, 2012, Huffington Post

Yours truely, Karen Gaia, was interviewed in this video. Note I was erroneously characterized as into 'population control' and was somewhat handicapped by having a slow internet connection where I was, making a web cam unworkable, thus not hearing my fellow interviewees very well over a cell phone.

By Bonnie Kavoussi

Also note: the headline of this article is misleading. The growth of the U.S. has changed very little, as was pointed out by myself and another interviewee. Thus the disclaimer printed at the bottom of the article: "CLARIFICATION: The U.S. population is still growing and only below replacement level when not accounting for immigration. "

The weak economy has led Americans to have fewer babies than the British and the French. This is not enough to maintain the size of the U.S.population, according to the Economist. The U.S. birthrate is 1.9 births per woman. 2 births are necessary to 'keep the population stable'.

In 2007 birth rates started falling and fell below population-sustaining levels in 2010 and is not expected to recover to pre-recession levels anytime soon.

22% of 18- to 34-year-olds say they have delayed having a baby because of the weak economy, and another 20% have delayed getting married, according to the Pew Research Center. A quarter of these young adults have moved back in with their parents during the recession.

It will cost a middle-income family nearly $300,000 to raise a child born today from infancy to age 17, according to the Department of Agriculture. doclink

Karen Gaia says: the article confuses 'replacement level' - the number of births needed to replace the parents - with 'population-sustaining levels'. The number of people having babies is not even taken into account, but should be. Also the number of immigrants added to the population, and also the number of people dying vs the number of people being born is also another consideration not taken into account. Second, a dip of a few years is not going to make a big difference. It would have to be maintained over the child-bearing years of a generation to make a big enough difference. Third, there is a large generation of senior baby-boomers. This adds a lot to the population of the U.S. Fourth, fertility rates have dropped 2.0 during the Great Depression in the 1930s, and to 1.8 in the late 1970s and early 1980s - another time of economic downturn. I wish I had a chance on the interview to make all these points, but it didn't happen.

From the Naysayers: UN Report for Rio+20 Outlines Top-Down "Green" World Order

   April 23, 2012

Bits and pieces of this article are quoted below, just to show you what we are up against. Click on the link in the headline to read the entire article.

A recently released United Nations report outlines the global body's plan to foist a centrally planned "green" world order on all of humanity, making every level of government subservient to its "sustainable development" agenda. The upcoming Rio+20 sustainability conference in Brazil ... will be used to solidify the foundation of the emerging planetary control system.

Under the guise of a "green economy" - expected to cost trillions of dollars per year, according to the report - the UN intends to make use of coercive power at all levels of governance to implement the plan. From local and national governments to regional and global entities, programs affecting every area of human life will be used to advance the controversial "sustainable development" agenda.

To aid in the transition toward a so-called "green economy," the report explains, governments at all levels will have to employ "mandatory technical regulations" and other measures. International bodies, of course, will be used to ensure the whole world is signing up to and complying with the controversial agenda.

"Strategic planning" of so-called "city-regions" - also known as central planning - is also, according to the UN document, "critical" to ensuring that humanity stops consuming more resources than the planners think appropriate. A transition toward what the UN calls "sustainable diets" will be needed, too.

Even with sustainable diets, however, the supposedly wise would-be central planners hold as a central tenant of their faith that supposed "overpopulation" represents a threat to Mother Earth. So, to partially alleviate the alleged problem, the UN proposed ensuring access to legalized abortion and "family planning" all over the world.

"Demographic change together with urbanization not only heightens the need for a swift transition to a green economy, but also calls for policies to address population dynamics within a human-rights based framework," the document claims. "These policies, most notably, include universal access to reproductive health care [also known as abortion, birth control and sterilization] and family planning as well as the empowerment of women and appropriate investments in education."

While the "green" UN vision appears at first glance to be unprecedented, there seems to be an existing model: Red China. The totalitarian communist regime - with its brutal suppression of dissent and its one-child policy enforced through forced abortions - is described by the UN report as "a good example of combining investments and public policy incentives" in the development of clean technology for the march toward the "green economy."

Despite well over 50 million deaths caused by the communist dictatorship under Chairman Mao, key proponents of the UN goals continue to praise the system. "The social experiment in China under Chairman Mao's leadership is one of the most important and successful in history," billionaire UN supporter and "green" agenda driver David Rockefeller was quoted as saying by the New York Times in 1973. doclink

End of "Myths, Misinformation and Misunderstandings" section pg ... Go to page 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8

In Denial and Naysayers

Hans Rosling is Ecologically Illiterate

   November 12, 2013, Population Matters

Don't Panic - The Truth About Population: broadcast on BBC Two, 11:20PM Thu, 7 Nov 2013; available on BBC iPlayer until 9:59PM Thu, 14 Nov 2013 Duration 60 minutes (Editor's note: parts of this presentation may only be available in the U.K.; see )

This widely publicised programme is introduced as follows:

'Using state-of-the-art 3D graphics and the timing of a stand-up comedian, world-famous statistician Professor Hans Rosling presents a spectacular portrait of our rapidly changing world. With seven billion people already on our planet, we often look to the future with dread, but Rosling's message is surprisingly upbeat. Almost unnoticed, we have actually begun to conquer the problems of rapid population growth and extreme poverty.

Across the world, even in countries like Bangladesh, families of just two children are now the norm - meaning that within a few generations, the population explosion will be over. A smaller proportion of people now live in extreme poverty than ever before in human history and the United Nations has set a target of eradicating it altogether within a few decades. In this as-live studio event, Rosling presents a statistical tour-de-force, including his 'ignorance survey', which demonstrates how British university graduates would be outperformed by chimpanzees in a test of knowledge about developing countries.'

To that, we respond as follows:

Yes, the UN projects that the human population may well peak at around 11 billion in around 100 years, time. Yes, the UN is seeking to end extreme poverty.

We in Population Matters are not reassured.

That is because the programme failed to consider in any detail resource scarcity and depletion, environmental degradation and climate change.

The Global Footprint Network, in association with the WWF and the Zoological Society of London, tell us that humanity is already consuming renewable ecological resources at a rate 50% higher than can be produced sustainably, while non-renewables are steadily depleted. The consequences, which are already with us, are rising resource prices, and environmental degradation. These will of course be increased by a world population some 60% higher than the current level, as well as by rapid industrialisation of countries which have not yet done so.

We cannot be sure to what extent the consequences will be a gradual decline in living standards and quality of life or a series of economic and environmental crises. However, we can be reasonably sure that changes in technological use or affluent lifestyles will be insufficient to avoid one or both of these in the absence of early stabilisation in human numbers.

The programme reported a widespread fall in the birth rate and seemed to leave it at that. In fact, birth rates are increasingly diverse, both between and within countries. The programme acknowledged that birth rates are a variable, not a given - they are affected by a wide range of factors, including the provision of family planning services and clear messages that smaller families are better. Consequently, if we act now, we can reduce that population peak to the enormous benefit of mankind, other species and future generations.

Rosling may be a good statistician, but he is an ecological illiterate. He assumes that 'demography is destiny' - that all current trends will continue. He ignores the facts that: while the proportion of people in poverty is shrinking, the actual number of such people in the high fertility countries is rising; the fertility decline he celebrates has recently stalled - the UN increased their 2050 projections by 300 million this year; the danger of discontinuities or 'tipping points', leading to a sharp increase in mortality, is visibly approaching (cf the 'perfect storm' foreseen by the last UK Chief Scientist); the reduction in fertility rates does not happen automatically, but has taken years of effort, resources and priority to achieve in developing countries; no non-oil country has achieved economic take-off until it reduced its fertility to three births per woman or lower; and the timing of countries' achievement of replacement fertility radically affects their eventual population equilibrium number, which means there is great urgency in achieving it as quickly as possible.

It is also unclear what Rosling, like Fred Pearce and Danny Dorling, aims to achieve with his complacent message "The population problem is solved - don't worry about it". If he succeeded in persuading governments, both donors and recipients, to reduce the still inadequate priority they give to family planning and women's empowerment programmes, the effects would be: to increase the number of unwanted births, unsafe abortions, maternal deaths, and stunted children; to increase the rate of planetary degradation and the probability of crossing a tipping point, with a rapid increase in premature deaths; to reduce the number of people, the Earth can sustain in the long-term; and to reduce the likelihood of all our children enjoying a decent quality of life. Why does he do it?

For us, the lesson of the programme is not that the population problem is solved but that it is soluble if we take the actions required. doclink

Karen Gaia says: WOA has already covered Hans Rosling's presentation, in several articles below this. However we were unable to view the entire presentation and there were no transcripts to be found. We were unable to find anything that back up Rosling's claim that worry about population growth is unnecessary.

U.S.: What to Expect When a Right-Winger Tackles Demographics

   February 13, 2013, Population Connection

Jonathan V. Last's new book "What to Expect When No One's Expecting: America's Coming Demographic Disaster" is getting a lot of attention, but is not painting the whole picture.

A total fertility rate of 1.9 births per woman - slightly below replacement - Is no reason to panic and start having procreative sex. The total fertility rate has always gone down during recessions. There's no reason to assume it won't bounce back to replacement level of around 2.1 - especially when American women on average still say they want two kids. Even if it doesn't, we've survived much worse things than a gray hair epidemic. "Children of Men" was NOT a documentary.

Jonathan V. Last is not a demographer. He's a conservative with a decidedly conservative agenda. The books was partly funded by the Phillips Foundation which is staffed with people from right-wing organizations, including Eagle Publishing, Regnery Publishing, The Heritage Foundation, The Claremont Institute, The American Spectator, Young America's Foundation and Focus on the Family, according to The Center for Media and Democracy.

Last admits: "Yes, I'm one of those anti-abortion nut jobs who thinks that every embryo is sacred life and abortion in killing an innocent and blah-blah-blah," and "there are, to my mind, compelling and overwhelming moral arguments in favor of banning abortion."

Last's hyperbole includes gems like: "The widespread practice of abortion culled an entire generation's worth of babies that otherwise might have been born." Which leaves you wondering which generation is missing.

Last blames expanded gay rights for reducing the birthrate, and refers to cohabitation as "shacking up," adding that "cohabitation looks less like an enlightening social change and more like a spreading social pathology working its way up the culture from society's have-nots." He adds: "Why did the lower-middle class decide, en masse, to stop emulating the elites and start patterning their sexual and marital behaviors on the lower classes?"

Those who choose not to have children do not escape his vile: "The child-free life is championed with the vigor and conviction of the early Marxists."

As for for Muslims, Last said that Europe "is almost certain to fade away in the next 50 years, replaced by a semi-hostile Islamic ummah ... the result of a policy choice made by adherents of a truly radical faith: multiculturalism."

Last wants FICA taxes cut by a third with a couple's first child, two-thirds with a second kid, and eliminated entirely with the birth of a third baby. Strangely, this prescription comes after he explained why monetary incentives such as subsidized day care and cash payments don't work. doclink

PRI President to Speak on Overpopulation at Georgetown Conference

   January 23, 2013, Catholic PRWire

Steven Mosher spoke in January this year at "the nation's largest student-run pro-life Conference." His talk was entitled, "The Myth that Kills: Overpopulation as an Excuse for Genocide." The mass killing of innocent unborn children is horrible enough. When it is promoted on the basis of a myth, that is even worse.

If people see their children as a burden on society and the environment, what motivation is there to keep them? This myth has infiltrated all aspects of our lives and must be exposed and debunked in order for children to be seen as not only good, but beneficial to society. doclink

Karen Gaia says: PRI is the Population Reference Institute, which regularly gives out anti-choice, anti-birth control, and anti-sustainability messages information to our policy makers in Washington.

Go to Your Womb, Ross Douthat

   December 5, 2012, United Nations Population Division   By: Katha Pollitt

Ross Douthat is a Catholic-conservative columnist with The New York Times who should get pregnant himself so he could understand what women are up against in this world instead of urging women to have large families for the greater glory of God and country.

A recent Pew Research Center report that finds that the birthrate fell rapidly between 2007 and 2011 and now stands at the lowest point since 1920, when accurate record-keeping began. {Note: this is not the same as the total fertility rate, a more accurate measure, which was lowest in the 1970s}. In the report, the US-born birthrate declined by 6%, while for foreign-born women it was 14% and for Mexican-born women 23%. The reasons include: the recession makes people cautious; more women are using better birth control; the more seriously women take their education and their jobs, the less likely they are to have kids before they are good and ready. For college-educated women, raising a child not only costs a fortune while lowering a mother's income for life; standards of good mothering have been raised too high.

In his article "More Babies, Douthat believes that our low birthrate means we risk losing our "economic dynamism." Obviously he hasn't looked at the high birthrate places like sub-Saharan Africa, Gaza and the Philippines where people are barely getting by; and low-fertility nations like Germany and Japan, which are prospering. For Douthat, fewer kids mean fewer workers down the road to support Social Security, but also he says women having fewer babies -- or no babies -- is "a symptom of late-modern exhaustion" and "decadence."

Douthat suggests "a more family-friendly tax code, a push for more flexible work hours, or an effort to reduce the cost of college." Would you have an extra baby if you got a bigger tax deduction for it? If your boss let you work ten hours a day four days a week or one afternoon at home?

Funny that the birthrate is lowest in patriarchal countries where having a baby means you stay home forever: Italy, Spain, Greece, Japan, Singapore and Poland. How would you like to be a Japanese or Polish or Italian housewife, Ross Douthat? I thought not.

I'm not so sure why we want more people on our crowded, overheated planet, where world population is projected to increase by 2 billion before finally beginning to fall. But if Douthat really thought through what it means to have and raise a child these days, I'm sure he could come up with a lot of great ways to help women and families. The trouble is, he couldn't be a Republican anymore. He'd be a socialist. doclink

U.S.: The Crisis Project: Birth Control Kills the Baby?

   August 28, 2012, Feministing   By: Zerlina

The Crisis Project is a new movement started by young people to investigate the fraud behind Crisis Pregnancy Centers, or as I like to call them Crisis Propaganda Centers. We've written a lot about CPCs on this site, so most of you already know that they are in some cases tax payer funded right wing anti-choice disasters.

Many women walk into a CPC unaware that they are being given advice from people who are not required to be medical personnel and that have an anti-choice agenda when dispensing "advice" on their reproductive health and family planning options.

The Crisis Project went into CPCs undercover with cameras to film some of the interactions and what they found is disturbing. In the encounter below the undercover young college aged woman enters the CPC asking for a pregnancy test and when the test comes back negative, she inquires about starting on the birth control pill.

Via The Crisis Project:

The counselor responds, "we don't sell baby-killing things." The Birthright counselor later refers to birth control as "death and destruction drugs." While advising our investigator against seeking out birth control, the Birthright counselor explicitly says that birth control "kills a baby." The Birthright counselor continues to tell our investigator that some doctors will "probably laugh at " if she were to ask them about the risks associated with hormonal contraceptives. doclink

Karen Gaia says: The CPC employee actually said it: "That's our whole purpose to...keep people from...knowing what's going on inside their body."

Science Group: UN Rio+20 Summit Must Reduce Global Population

   June 14, 2012, New American

Another very skewed view. What is the best way to correct such misconceptions? First we must find out where they are coming from. Words highlighted in yellow are some of the inaccurate hot-button words that should be corrected

Governments and @dictators assembling in Rio de Janeiro for the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development must adopt even more @stringent policies to reduce the number of people in the world and make sure that those @who @remain stop consuming so much, a taxpayer-funded network of more than 100 science institutions demanded in a newly released statement.

Meanwhile, new economic models are also needed, claimed scientists associated with the IAP Global Network of Science Academies. Politics and @ethics - in other words, the @will and @morality of the people - cannot be allowed to stand in the way of the UN "sustainability" @regime any longer; at least not if the world is to be saved from its primary @enemy: humanity.

"For too long, population and consumption have been left off the table due to political and ethical sensitivities," complained U.K. Royal Society fellow Charles Godfray. "These are issues that affect developed and developing nations alike, and we must take responsibility for them together."

The draft UN agreement being developed by national governments and environmental activist groups already deals with @population @control and reducing consumption. But to the @anti-population scientist coalition, whose controversial joint statement is being widely touted in the global media, more must be done.

The IAP statement claimed "The combination of unsustainable consumption patterns, especially in high-income countries, and of the number of people on the planet, directly affects the capacity of the earth to support its natural biodiversity."

The network demanded "urgent action" from national and global policy makers, offering a list of highly controversial recommendations to achieve the ever-elusive goal of what the UN calls "sustainability."

Among other points, the statement urged rulers to consider ways to restrict both population and consumption through @coercive policies at all levels of government. Virtually every field of policy making should be put at the service of the agenda: poverty, "gender equality," education, health, "global governance," economic development, the environment, and more.

"If the right conditions are in place, measures that reduce fertility rates while respecting human rights can stimulate and facilitate economic development, improve health and living standards, and increase political and social stability and security," the network claimed. People living in richer nations, meanwhile, @need to become much poorer.

The collection of scientists also demanded that "everyone" have taxpayer-funded access to "reproductive health" and "family planning" - terms which @generally @refer @to contraception, sterilization, and abortion.

According to estimates cited in the statement, by 2050, there might be between 8 billion and 11 billion people on earth, up from around 7 billion today. That is simply too many humans for the planet to handle, claim

"Give up use of our abundant fossil fuels, the developed nations will revert back to 19th century lifestyles and developing nations have no hope of uplifting themselves from the poverty they have endured for centuries," concluded Rust, who has over 50 years of experience dealing with energy-related subjects.

But the UN and its member governments - mostly @despotic regimes of different varieties - are not giving up yet. Official documents released in recent months show that the global body hopes to use the Rio+20 gathering to amass a vast array of new @powers. The purpose: literally re-shaping human civilization. Even people's @thoughts and lifestyles are in the crosshairs.

Also on the agenda, according to UN documents, is the erection of a worldwide @regime of central planning under the guise of moving toward what the organization touts as a "green economy."

Local and state officials across America, for example, under increasing pressure from their constituents, are scrambling to protect citizens and property rights from Agenda 21, the global "sustainability" regime adopted at the first "Earth Summit" two decades ago. Alabama just banned it. And the anti-UN outcry is only getting louder.

Please read the entire article at if you want to make your blood boil. doclink

The "Seven Billion" Strategy, and Why We Need a New One

   April 19, 2012

For 26 years, PopDev (and Betsy Hartmann) has worked at an intersection of environment, development, anti-militarism, and reproductive freedom. The center of our work is the commitment to challenge the conventional belief that population growth is a main force behind social problems, from famine and violent conflict, to ecosystem degradation and even climate change. We strive to bring those conversations back to the structures of global inequality, colonization, and over-consumption that actually drive them.

For some, it challenges a fundamental understanding of the world to suggest that there are not actually too many people on the planet - but instead an unsustainable, industrially demanding level of consumption by a minority of those people.

Researchers like David Satterthwaite point out that the consumption levels of two actual humans plucked at random from that seven billion may vary from each other by a factor of up to one thousand.

Do I believe that the planet can sustain unchecked exponential population growth? No. I also don't think that's what the earth is faced with, if people have access to affordable, culturally competent, unstigmatized, full-spectrum reproductive health care.

In the anti-sex, imperialist, misogynist worldview of folks like Thomas Malthus, the 18th century white English clergyman who gave us the idea of unchecked population growth, people were powerless against the forces of reproduction. In that worldview, the fear certainly makes sense.

So to folks who are tying access to contraceptives and abortion, or women's education and economic empowerment campaigns, to the need to slow population growth, I say: PLEASE STOP.

Please consider that these goals are good, and powerful, and necessary in their own right. Please recognize that when we tie people's needs and interests to a goal held for them by other, perhaps more powerful and wealthy, people it ties the campaign to meet their needs to upholding that goal.

Specifically, it ties the value of girls and women's lives, education and well-being to the beliefs other people have about how many children they should be having, and when.

And when we invoke the language of "overpopulation," of "too many people," of "can't feed em don't breed em," these are the stories we are actually invoking. Whether we know it or not. Whether we are honest about it or not. Whether we care or not.

Black, Puerto Rican, and Indigenous women in the United States sterilized without their consent, or sometimes even their knowledge, for generations. Immigrant women targeted in many states by punitive legislation meant to vilify their reproduction. Romani women in Eastern Europe targeted by social workers for sterilization. HIV+ women in Kenya offered cash bribes by US-based non-profits to go on long-term birth control. More than 300,000 Quechua women and men sterilized in Peru at the turn of this century, in a campaign with political support from USAID.

So I ask you, whether or not we agree about the math or even the ethics, please find a new strategy. Because I want to fight at your side for our shared goals. But I'm just not willing to turn my back on so many people's lived experiences in order to do it.

Follow the link to read the excellent, revealing and energized debate that has taken place in the comment section of the PopDev blog. doclink

Karen Gaia replies: PopDev is mistakenly associating all population-concerned with Malthus, who is somehow considered an ogre for being a typical male in his day and age, but still had a BIG point worrying about starvation of the masses. It is concerns about population growth, and it's resulting poverty, that has led country after country to install voluntary family planning, reproductive health, and girls' education programs. Why would we who are population-concerned want to mess with something that really works? I had my first experience with family planning 49 years ago, when contraception first became legal and my doctor asked if I wanted to have another child right away, or did I want to do something about it. If the doctor was motivated by population concerns, what's wrong with that? Good thing he did, or I would have had twice as many children, as would have many others. You are hurting a whole lot of people - and some of them will die - who will not get access to the family planning that they need and want, because conservatives who make funding policy listen to you and your labeling those of us who are concerned about starvation as racist. And you are wrong about there being enough food for everyone in the near future - even if the rich stopped eating meat, there wouldn't be enough. You just have been reading the wrong material.

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