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Population growth is not good for people or the planet

Updated: May 15

Stable Planet Alliance chair and humane educator, Nandita Bajaj, published this piece in the Inter Press Service News Agency on 10 May, 2023. You can read the full article here.

According to the United Nations, the world’s population is more than three times larger than it was in the mid-twentieth century. The global human population reached 8.0 billion in mid-November 2022 from an estimated 2.5 billion people in 1950, adding 1 billion people since 2010 and 2 billion since 1998. The world’s population is expected to increase by nearly 2 billion persons in the next 30 years, from the current 8 billion to 9.7 billion in 2050 and could peak at nearly 10.4 billion in the mid-2080s.

ST PAUL, Minnesota USA, May 10 2023 (IPS) - India’s population has just reached 1.4 billion people, surpassing China as the world’s most populous nation four years earlier than projected. Spurring this growth is a traditional patriarchal culture in which women’s identity is constrained by the social expectation they bear children.

Across the globe, pronatalist forces undermine women’s autonomy and self-determination. Pronatalism is an underlying driver of the global population growing to 8 billion and counting, with 80 million added each year.

The new UNFPA State of World Population Report is wrong to dismiss “population anxiety” as groundless and assert that “population sizes are neither good nor bad.” Population growth is not good for people or the planet, and anxiety is not an unwarranted response to how it affects us.

Population growth deepens social and economic inequality and has negative impacts on unemployment, housing costs, inflation, infrastructure, resource scarcity, pollution, and well-being. It even fuels resource conflicts and wars.

It’s also one of the key variables determining overall consumption and pollution levels, which are jeopardizing planetary life support systems on which we and Earth’s remaining biodiversity depend.