Summary

In this Study Session, you have learned that:

  • The world’s population has grown rapidly since the mid-20th century and continues to increase. Improvements in health care, education and technology have all contributed to a sharp decline in the death rate.
  • Births, deaths and migration are the main direct factors accountable for population change. Rates of change vary in different regions of the world. Population numbers are growing, but the rate of increase is declining throughout the world.
  • Countries move gradually from high birth and high death rates to low birth and low death rates. This trend is called ‘demographic transition’.
  • Age and sex are the important characteristics of a population. Developing countries have young populations, while developed countries have old populations. Because of the large proportion of children in the population, countries with very high birth rates usually have the highest age dependency ratios.
  • Sex ratios may vary due to different patterns of death and migration for males and females within the population.
  • Rapid population growth can put pressure on food supplies. It also increases the demand for health services.
  • The consequences of population growth in terms of increasing demand for limited resources will have the greatest impact on poor people because poverty makes them more vulnerable and they do not have the money to change their situation.
  • Environmental degradation increases poverty, which increases degradation in a vicious circle. Ways to break out of this circle include appropriate planning, education on ways to protect and restore the environment while improving incomes, and gender equality measures.

Last modified: Tuesday, 2 August 2016, 4:36 PM