Population Growth josh belandres

Part 1

The world's population has increased from 1 billion in 1800, to 7.4 billion today. Roughly 2 more billion will be added to the world population in thirty five years. However fertility rates in women have been gradually decreasing since the 1950s and are expected to level out in the decades to come. So what is the reason for the rapid growth in the world's population over the last 200 years?

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.


As population grows there becomes a strain on the world's resources. Energy demands will increase, especially as the Chinese and Indian economies expand, causing an increase of fossil fuels, oil, and electricity use. Additionally, there were 925 million people hungry in 2012, largely in Asia, the Pacific and Sub-saharan Africa, and feeding a rapidly growing population might not be possible. However, it is likely that food production will keep up with the increasing demand, but political instability, transportation and distribution will become a problem. And with the double in world food prices is likely to increase the deaths from starvation and disease in developing nations apart from third world countries.

Part 2

World Hunger in 1990s and 2010s

It appears in the graph above that the world is on track ending world hunger. Unfortunately, it may not last as food prices around the world have doubled over the last decade, while world grain reserves drop along with the livestock due to recent droughts. With one third of food wasted worldwide it will be impossible to sustain an estimated population of 9 billion in 2050.

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.

Life Expectancy

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


Notice that regions with rapid growing populations (China, Africa and Europe) have had their forests almost completely destroyed.

Green: today's forests. Tan: areas that used to have forests.

Climate Change

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.

In the graph , the Earth's green house gases, in red, increases with direct correlation of the world's population, in blue.

Part 3: South Sudan

A New but Vulnerable Country

The Republic of South Sudan gained independence on July 9, 2011, making it the world's youngest country. According to the Population Institute, South Sudan is projected to be the world's most demographically vulnerable nation as it's population will grow from 12,918,000 today, to an estimated 39.3 million in 2050.

South Sudan's Population Growth

As shown in the graph above and below, from 1991 through 1995, South Sudan was experiencing a major drop in population. Since 1993, its lowest point of -1.9% growth in population, South Sudan's population has rapidly grown and will continue to grow, as shown in the estimates above. In the year from 2015 to 2016, the nation's population has grown from 12.1 million to 12.9 million, a 4.08% increase in population. Mean while the world's population has a growth rate of about 1.13% per year.

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.

Peace at Last

During the worst times of the civil war, Bill Clinton's administration prohibited American investment in the country and made additional attempts to isolate the country. The United States referred to South Sudan as the Rouge State and funded neighboring countries to eliminate further Sudanese attacks. Eventually, after 22 years of civil war, it ended in a stalemate, with the Comprehensive Peace Agreement and the East Sudan Peace Agreement, finally giving the Republic of South Sudan its independence.

Rapid Population Growth in South Sudan

Today's Sudanese population of 12.9 million which is expected to grow to 39.3 million by 2050

“We are witnessing an unprecedented acceleration in the number of people returning to the south,” -Giovanni Bosco (head of the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in South Sudan)

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.

Benefits of South Sudan's Population Growth

Because of South Sudan's escalating external migration, the country has become the most culturally and ethnically rich nations of all of Africa. Several different ethnic and racial groups live together including, the Murle, Mandari, Didinga, Ndogo, Dinka, Kakwa, Bari, Lango, Dungotona, Azande, Shilluk, Kuku, Bviri, Lndi, Anuak, and Acholi. Although English it the official language there are over 10 other languages spoken throughout South Sudan.

Cons of South Sudan's Population Growth


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.


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