The Problem of Population Growth and the Solution of Population Planning

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The Problem of Population Growth and the Solution of Population Planning


Human population growth, overpopulation, and earth’s biological carrying capacity have been concerns of scientists for many years. In 1679 Antoni van Leeuwenhoek estimated that the maximum number of people Earth can support is 13.4 billion and estimates have continued to vary drastically since then (Cohen, 1995). There are many ecological indicators, including desertification and water problems, which point to the likelihood that we are approaching our limit. There are many sub issues within this overall problem that must be addressed in order to work towards solving this problem, including sustainable living, water shortages, etc. However, the purpose of this paper is to focus on the idea of population control as one possible starting point for a solution.


It is important to remember that carrying capacity can change with new technology, different use of resources and better resource management. Carrying capacity can also change in the opposite direction due to a catastrophic event or overexploitation of resources.

As was mentioned previously, there have been many estimates made on Earth’s carrying capacity since 1679. Estimates have varied greatly, ranging from <1 billion to >1000 billion. Currently the UN’s projection is that Earth can support around 9 billion people ( It is expected that the human population will reach that size by 2050. The current world population is around 6.3 billion. So, many believe that this is becoming, and has been, an imminent problem.

According to Cohen, there have been six different methods that have been used to estimate Earth’s human carrying capacity....

... middle of paper ...

...eved October 31, 2004 from: Population Reference Bureau

Haub, C. & Herstad, B., (July, 2002). Sterilization World’s #1 Contraceptive Method. Retrieved October 31, 2004 from: Population Reference Bureau

Meulenberg, C., (Sept./Oct. 2004). {Definitely}Probably One: A Generation Comes of Age Under China’s One-Child Policy. World Watch, 17, 31.

Roudi-Fahimi, F., & Moghadam, V.M., (November, 2003). Empowering Women, Developing Society: Female Education in the Middle East and North Africa. Retrieved October 31, 2004 from: Population Reference Bureau.

UNFPA, (2004). State of the World Population: The Cairo Consensus at Ten: Population, Reproductive Health and the Global Effort to End Poverty. Retrieved October 31, 2004 from:

Zi, L., (2004, July 8). Population Planning Paradox. Beijing Review, 47, 22.

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