Series Number: 9
Ingrained into the U.S. popular imagination is the idea that the world is overpopulated. Americans talk not so much about “population” as “overpopulation,” in the belief that the planet is burdened with too many people. Often, Americans think of this glut of people as flowing from Mexico, India or Africa where birth rates are perceived as out-of-control and rising. Many view “overpopulation” as the main cause of environmental degradation, urban sprawl, hunger, poverty, political instability and even war. However, although many Americans believe and repeat the dire forecast of overpopulation, few know basic facts about demographic dynamics. For instance, few realize that recent UN data indicate that population growth rates are declining worldwide faster than anticipated.