World Population Goal:
According to Paul R. Elrich, Bing professor at Stanford university, estimates that the optimal world population is between 1.2 and 2 billion. This population is also what today's world resources can actually sustain. Why would it be best to have 2 billion people on Earth?
A world population between 1.2 and 2 billion would allow:
- Decent wealth and resources to everyone
- Basic human rights for everyone
- Preservation of cultural diversity
- Allowance of intellectual, artistic, and technological creativity
- Preservation of biodiversity
Unfortunately, it is obvious that this is not the case and those 5 billion "extra people" are without the benefits above. Meanwhile, Americans who make up around 4% of the world's population are consuming 25% of its resources.
Why the Growth?
Despite the steady decline of fertility rates, the world's population continues to grow. This is due to new technologies, less poverty and advancements in medicine increasing the life expectancy of people, especially those living in developing countries.
Red represents regions with a 95+ life expectancy and green is 60-70 years.
Africa, in yellow, has an overall lower life expectancy compared to the world, but has been increasing even faster than more developed regions. This has a direct correlation with the decrease in world hunger.
Effect on the Environment
While it has been humanity's goal to extend lives, the longer life spans and rapid growth of the world's population. According to Population Connection, the boost of population from 1 to 7.4 billion in 200 years is responsible for the loss of 80% of rainforests and tens of thousands of plant and animal species
Deforestation around the globe, leading in Indonesia, Malaysia, Paraguay, Bolivia, Zambia, and Angola, is turning millions of trees into agricultural and livestock fields to support a growing population. Now that there are less trees to absorb atmospheric carbon dioxide and a larger population using more and more technology, greenhouse gases have been building up, starting worldwide climate changes. The increase in temperature is affecting earth's ice, oceans, ecosystems and biodiversity.
Why the Sudden Decrease of population growth in the 1990s?
The second Sudanese Civil War Started in 1983, however there was an informal cease fire that collapsed in 1989. During this time the Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) fought for independence against Sudan in which 2 million people were killed or died from starvation or drought. Once the fighting started in the 1990s, not only did population decrease in result of death but many fled the country to neighboring countries, such as Ethiopia.
Why the Rapid Growth?
Three days after the South Sudan declared their independence, one thousand people per day started to migrate back into South Sudan and into its capital, Juba. Since the Second Civil War resolved, all of the Sudanese who migrated out of South Sudan to avoid the war, are returning to their homes. A large amount of the refugees are returning from Ethiopia, a neighboring country of South Sudan, where many fled to during the war.
Fertility Rates Factor
In addition, fertility rates of women are high. Only about 1% of South Sudanese women have access to any from of modern contraceptives, to prevent pregnancies. Therefore, the average women in South Sudan will carry up to seven pregnancies.
Even with an abundance of natural resources of gold, diamonds, silver, iron, petroleum, and more, the Republic of South Sudan is one of the poorest countries on Earth. In 2011, 90% of the population lived on less than one dollar a day.
Public Services Strained
South Sudan also has some of the worst health statistics as its resources continued to be strained by the growing population. In many areas there is only one doctor that serves for 500,000 Sudanese. South Sudan also has one of the lowest literacy rates in the world at 27% of the total population. In the female population only 16% can read or write. The old Sudan president Omar Al-Bashir is the cause of the low literacy rate because he spent all of the country's oil money to fund terrorist groups instead of providing education.
In 2014 the UNICEF tried to save 50,000 children from starvation in South Sudan by giving life saving food to the country and needed to treat another 1 million children for acute malnutrition.