Sustainable Development Network
The Myth of Population Problem – new report
On World Population Day, July 11th, the UNFPA will call for men to be more involved in family planning and women's reproductive healthcare. Underlying this fine-sounding campaign is the UN Population Fund's belief that we must stabilise and decrease world population in order to save the planet and promote economic growth.
But the UNFPA and other alarmists provide no credible evidence to justify this, according to a new paper from the Sustainable Development Network by Professor Nicholas Eberstadt, an expert in population and demography.
There is no causative link between population density and poverty – wealthy Monaco is forty times more densely populated than impoverished Bangladesh.
Nor is it true that the planet is struggling to feed and accommodate increasing numbers of people. Over the last century, global life expectancy has increased from 30 years to over 60 years, maize, rice and wheat have become far more abundant and other natural resources have become more easily available.
Nevertheless, the UN and many other influential groups and individuals – such as Al Gore – are calling for government-mandated population-planning schemes globally. But according to Eberstadt, such schemes historically have had almost zero effect on family sizes and fertility rates:
"Globally, there is no causative link between the availability of contraception and fertility levels - the rate of contraception use is virtually identical in Jordan and Japan , for instance, but Jordan 's fertility rate is more than three times higher."
According to Eberstadt, the only thing that can affect fertility rates is parental choice – unless one opts for the Chinese approach of forced sterilisations and abortions.
"Whether they recognize it or not, advocates of anti-natal population programs must make a fateful choice. They must either opt for voluntarism, in which case their population targets will be meaningless. Or else they must opt for attempting to meet their population targets – in which case they must embrace coercive measures, like China's one-child policy. There is no third way."
India is a country that is trying to move away from population targets, and in recent years have proposed the possibility of a demographic dividend. "Today, many in India believe that her younger workforce could constitute the most significant advantage over China," says Barun Mitra of Liberty Institute, in New Delhi . Liberty Institute is one of the 25 think tanks which have sponsored this publication.
"Too many people?", by Professor Nicholas Eberstadt, published 11 July 2007 by the Sustainable Development Network – download at