|Title:||Global world population growth through history in total figures and percentages for 10,000 B.C. through 2000, and forecast for 2050|
|Source:||Indian Journal of Economics and Business|
Start of full article - but without data
Estimated World Population Growth Through History
Estimated Annual Year Estimated Population Percentage Increase in (in millions) the Intervening Period
XX,XXX B.C. X A.D. X XXX X.XX XXXX XXX X.XX XXXX XXX X.XX XXXX XXX X.XX XXXX X,XXX X.XX XXXX X,XXX X.XX 1950 X,XXX X.XX 1970 X,XXX X.XX 1980 X,XXX X.XX 1990 X,XXX X.XX 2000 X,XXX X.XX XXXX (projected) X,XXX X.XX
Source: Warren S. Thompson and David T. Lewis, Population Problems,
Xth ed. (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1965), p. XXX: United Nations,
Demographic Yearbook for 1971 (New York: United Nations, 1971);
Population Reference Bureau, World Population Data Sheet
(Washington, D.C.: Population Reference Bureau, 1998, 2001); United
Nations, Report on the World Social Situation, 1997 (New York:
United Nations, 1997) p. XX.
(Todaro and Smith, 2009)
Since 1950, the Earth has seen dramatic population growth, adding an extra four and a half billion people in just XX years to reach almost X billion people worldwide. The population would have be significantly higher had it not been for the One-Child Policy in China, the longest and most intensive birth planning program that the world has ever seen.
This policy has resulted in China avoiding a majority of the environmental, social, economic, and developmental woes that other developing countries have been subject to, but at a price. While it has helped China's development, this policy has led to a slew of human rights infringements, government interference into its citizen's lives, and a population that is both ageing extremely rapidly and suffering from an unbalanced male-to-female ratio.
Humanity has been around on this earth for two million years or more, and for the vast majority of that time, it is estimated that less than five million people inhabited the Earth. Two thousand years ago, the world's population had just reached around XXX million people. From that time until the beginning of the Industrial Revolution in XXXX, the Earth's population tripled to XXX million people, (Todaro and Smith, 2009) slightly over half of China's estimated X.XXX billion people today. (CIA, 2011) Over the next two hundred years the population grew to a just over X.X billion people. Since that time, the world's population has exploded. In just XX years, our skyrocketing populace has reached almost X billion people. (U.S. Census Bureau, 2011) This translates to approximately XX million additional people every year (U.S. Census Bureau, 2011) and another billion people added every XX to XX years.
The economic and social impacts of the population explosion have been a hotly contested issue since the Industrial Revolution. Many argue that the world is running out of food, land, and fresh water to sustain the millions of new people added to the world yearly. Others, such as pro-natalist Julian Simon and many
religious leaders, contend that there is nothing wrong with a rapidly increasing population. Simon believes that 'genius' is the 'ultimate resource' and "will solve for any problems arising from population growth." (Todaro and Smith, 2009) As far as pro-natalists are concerned, some of our greatest times of advancement, such as the Industrial Revolution and Green Revolution, were possible due (at least in part) to higher labor supplies. (Kulkarni, 2011)
The case of China is the perfect backdrop for this debate. While the People's Republic started as vehemently pro-natalist under Mao Zedong, (Scharping, 2003) as time went on and the demand for food, water, education, housing, and employment grew, Chinese leaders began to realize that their population growth was unsustainable and there was a consensus that a birth limitation policy was necessary. (White, 2006) China would never have been able to maintain its economic growth had it not adopted the One-Child Policy, a birth planning policy limiting every Chinese citizen, with some exceptions, to one child per family. I will examine the history of this policy and its criticisms, as well as its relation to Todaro and Smith's examination of the population explosion and the possible negative consequences of population escalation, the Malthusian Population Trap, and Dependency Theory. The table and the graph below show the history of the world's population growth, with expansion increasing dramatically around 1950.
[TABLE X OMITTED]
II. THE PEOPLE'S REPUBLIC OF CHINA AND REASON'S FOR BIRTH PLANNING
The People's Republic of China is the largest country in the world in regards to population and fourth largest in the world as far as landmass. After World War II, Mao Zedong led the communists to "[establish] an autocratic socialist system that, while ensuring China's sovereignty, imposed strict controls over everyday life and cost the lives of tens of millions of people" (CIA, 2011) during China's Great Leap Forward and Cultural Revolution. In 1978, Den Xiaoping succeeded Chairmen Mao and focused on market reforms to spur economic development. Though by the year 2000 output had quadrupled and for a majority of the populations' living standards had improved, political controls still remain strict. (CIA, 2011)
The One-Child Policy started from the viewpoint of economic planning. Deng Xiaoping had a "goal of quadrupling social product and reaching a moderate standard of living with a gross national product of US$X,XXX per capita until the turn of the century." However, all of the projections the country had for reaching this goal stipulated that China's population would not exceed X.X billion people in the year 2000. (Scharping, 2003) Essentially, Deng Xiaoping and his economic planners were worried about a Maulthusian Population Trap, which will be discussed later. Were the population to keep growing at the rate it had been before birth planning policies came into effect, there would be no way for the per capita income to reach the goals that they had set, or really rise much above subsistence levels.
When Deng Xiaoping came to power there were numerous concerns over extreme population growth. The generation of revolutionaries who were now in charge of the Chinese government had personally experienced famine during past revolutions and economic planning periods such as the Great Leap Forward. During the last famine, from !XXX to 1961, XX to XX million Chinese had died; consequently, they were most worried about food shortages. (Scharping, 2003) Although food shortages and high food prices are often not the sole cause of protest, riots, and revolutions, they frequently play either an underlying role or act as a catalyst, (Holland, 2011) which many Chinese rulers accepted and wanted to counteract.
The next concern was that was that if China's population were left unchecked, there would be no way that the government would be able to find work for the succeeding generations, and mass unemployment would become a chronic problem. "Politburo member Wang Zhen summed up the situation in January 1980: 'With great efforts we created X million additional jobs last year, but more than XX million new infants have been added at the same time.'" (Scharping, 2003) The Chinese government knew that creating seven million new jobs in a single year was a monumental achievement, but acknowledged that it still was not enough to meet the demands of a rapidly expanding population.
Furthermore, China was having trouble simply sheltering its growing population, not to mention educating such vast numbers of children. The problem became so bad that in 1986, parents in Shanghai were told "to prepare for instruction by shifts and to make arrangements for the supervision of unattended children." Though there have been large-scale construction efforts for housing along with housing and education reform since the 1980s, both still remain a struggle for China among a still growing population. (Scharping, 2003).
"Finally, demographic growth carries definite implications for China's environment." Though most environmental questions have been viewed by developing countries as a luxury that can be dealt with later in their development process, China has already had to address the concerns of air quality and water resources. (Scharping, 2003) The work done to improve air quality before and during the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games is evidence of that trepidation. (Ahearn, 2011).
As a result of the urgent struggles China's government was encountering from a rapidly expanding populace to meet growing demands for food, employment, housing, education, and improvements in the environment, it was decided a birth plan must be put in place. Consequently, a "strict birth limitation policy was one of the few issues that stood above the politics of elite struggle, a rare area of leadership consensus." (White, 2006) There was mass agreement among the Chinese leadership that something needed to be done, but what exactly was still up for debate.
III. INTRODUCTION OF THE ONE-CHILD POLICY
Song Jian, a scientist and state minister, used computer modeling to develop strategies to counter five different scenarios for China's future population growth. Starting with a goal of zero population growth by the year 2000, the State Council Office for Birth Planning used his model to recommend, "that the birth limitation policy be revised to advocate only one child per couple and impose penalties on those who had a second child." (White, 2006).
Though the implementation of this policy has varied at different times, the general idea is that the government would both encourage one child per family and discourage people from having larger families, or a carrot and stick approach. People were encouraged "through a package of financial and other incentives, such as preferential access to housing, schools, and health services." Chinese citizens were then discouraged to have larger families through "financial levies on each additional child and sanctions which ranged from social pressure to curtailed career prospects for those in government jobs." (Kane and Choi, 1999).
IV. THEORY AND EMPIRICAL RESEARCH
According to Michael Todaro and Stephen Smith, current empirical research narrows down the possible negative consequences that population escalation can have on a nation into seven main categories. These are economic growth, poverty and inequality, education, health, food, environment and international migration. (Todaro and Smith, 2009) China struggles from these issues relatively less than other developing countries for a single reason: the One-Child Policy.
Although population expansion is not solely to blame for poor economic growth, it does have an effect. An increased population lowers the per capita income of a country, primarily when coupled with income growth less than that of the population. This is especially true in countries that rely heavily on agriculture, as the more people there are in a country the more they have to share the land and its produce. In some cases this can even lead to what is known as a Malthusian Population Trap.
In XXXX, Reverend Thomas Malthus explained his belief that unless a population was curbed by other factors like a dwindling food supply, it would grow at a geometric progression, doubling every XX to XX years. Concurrently, due to the naturally diminishing returns of the land, food supplies could only be expected to grow arithmetically. As a result, it would be impossible for food supplies to match the growth rate of the population, causing per capita income to fall. This would lead to a trap that the country would be unable to escape from, keeping a stable population living "barely at or slightly above subsistence levels." The only cure to this problem would be for the population to restrain themselves and limit the number of their offspring, which is why many regard Malthus as the father of the modern birth control movement. (Todaro and Smith, 2009).
Though Malthus was born too early to take into account innovations to technology and agriculture that have increased food production, such as those during the Green Revolution, one in seven people in the world will still go to bed hungry tonight, (World Food Programme, 2011) so his assertions still have merit. The way these population traps translate to modern-day poor nations is that these countries will not be able to rise greatly beyond subsistence level without either the preventative check of birth control or "positive checks." Those positive checks can be either man-made or natural. Natural positive checks would be disasters such as floods, earthquakes, hurricanes, disease or even starvation. Man-made checks include wars, revolutions, and coups. These checks on population growth, either preventative or positive, "will inevitably provide the restraining force." (Todaro and Smith, 2009).
While Chairman Mao Zedong himself opposed the ideas of Malthus, believing Marx and the Soviet Union had already proved them wrong, (Scharping, 2003) Deng Xiaoping eventually had to admit "without birth planning, 'economic growth would be consumed by population growth.'" (Scharping, 2003) The figure below represents this situation. From point A to B, a population trap is represented. Since population rates are growing faster then income, per capita income must fall back to the original subsistence level, represented by YX. Only when income growth outpaces population growth will an equilibrium be reached, represented by YX, which then allows for positive growth in per capita income. In order to maintain income growth at higher levels then population growth and avoid a population trap, Deng Xiaoping instituted the One-Child Policy in China.
Poverty and inequality, the second negative category discussed by Todaro and Smith, is difficult to connect to population expansion at the national level, but at the household level the evidence is persuasive. As per capita income falls and with it government tax revenue, the poor are the first to feel the pain. The evidence can be seen by the current protests and riots around the world from London to Athens to Cairo. Inequality begins to increase as the poor suffer from job cuts and as the government begins to implement austerity measures such as reductions to healthcare and education. "To the extent that large families perpetuate poverty, they also exacerbate inequality." (Todaro and Smith, 2009).
[TABLE X OMITTED]
As discussed earlier, the growing Chinese population became such a logistical problem in the areas of housing, healthcare, and education, that China even had a period where it started schooling its children in shifts to meet the demand from millions of new students. (Scharping, 2003) Poverty and inequality was increasing, which is something that the One-Child Policy was created to address. While this is still an issue that China, and indeed much of the world, still suffers from, its tremendous economic growth and One-Child Policy has helped diminish these problems. Deng Xiaoping was Shooting for a per capita income of $XXXX in the year 2000, that income is now $X,XXX just a decade later. (CIA, 2011).
Education is the third negative category and can suffer greatly from a rapid population growth. Large family sizes and low per capita income also greatly decrease the likelihood that a family can provide sufficient education for their children. Even in the United States, much of education funding comes from property taxes. This essentially means that the lower income a neighborhood, the less funding their school gets, and the worse the education, expanding the inequality even more. China's One-Child Policy has helped to partly alleviate the stress that their schools would have otherwise felt. Nationwide literacy has been steadily increasing for the past two decades. In 1990, the average number of years a child was in school was just X.XX, (Shegai and Kulkarni, 2010) and XX percent of Chinese were considered illiterate. (World Bank, 2011) Since then, the time the average Chinese citizen is in school has increased to XX-XX years and now only X.X percent are illiterate. (CIA, 2011).
Todaro and Smith's fourth negative category, healthcare is a field that already struggles in less developed countries (LDCs) and population growth can intensify those woes. High fertility rates in LDCs, which have inadequate health care systems, means they cannot sufficiently take care of their populace and can lead to high maternal mortality rates. Elevated birth rates "increases the health risks of pregnancy, and closely spaced births have been shown to reduce birth weight and increase child mortality rates." (Todaro and Smith, 2009) This healthcare issue has been far less detrimental in China then in other LDCs due to China's One-Child Policy, which has led to a birth rate of just X.XX children born per woman, the XXXnd lowest birth rate out of other countries in the world. The infant mortality rate, while improving, is still around X.X percent, ranking XXXth in the world, (CIA, 2011) though it has fallen almost ten percent in the last forty years. (World Bank, 2011).
Increasing populations, especially in less developed countries where food distribution is already a problem, can lead to food shortages, which is the fifth negative consequence of population growth. "Over XX percent of additional LDC food requirements are caused by population increases." (Todaro and Smith, 2009) Hunger is currently the world's number one health risk and "kills more people every year then AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis combined." (World Food Programme, 2011) Since developing countries account for XX percent of people being added to the world (Kulkarni, 2011) and XX percent of the world's undernourished people, (Food and Agricultural Organization, 2011) this problem will only continue to be exacerbated.
The two graphs below represent the history and projection of the world's population growth as a ratio between more developed countries, such as North American and Western European nations, and less developed countries, such as China, India, African, and South American nations. As shown below, beginning after World War II around 1950, the percentage of the world's population living in less developed countries began to increase and has been doing so ever since.
[TABLE X OMITTED]
While China may have been able to reduce the percentage of its malnourished population from XX to XX percent from 1992 to 2004,(International Food Policy Research Institute, 2010) this XX percent still accounts for XXX million people. Between China and India, XX percent of the hungry people in the world are accounted for. (Food and Agricultural Organization, 2011) One of the primary factors for the institution of the One-Child Policy in China was due to food shortages that an increasing population would only aggravate. (White, 2006) To Deng Xiaoping, it was an embarrassment for China to have thirty-years of revolution and still have citizens begging for food. (Scharping, 2003).