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There are many factors that contribute to overpopulation, stripped down to the basics it’s a) because more people are being born than there are people dying and b) people are living longer.
Here are some factors that are involved. Many of these we take for granted but in some countries, particularly in Asia and Africa, such things are only now becoming available…
• Better medical provisions, availability of drugs and advances in medical science
• Greater food production leading to less starvation
• Better disease control leading to less epidemics
• The eradication of certain diseases such as smallpox
• Improved sanitation and sewerage so less diseases
• Increased access to clean water
• Better working conditions, especially when compared to 100+ years ago
• Decrease in people smoking
• The provision of power and light
• Less casualties of war. The Great Wars killed tens of millions, today’s wars kill thousands
• Greater health education and awareness of how diseases spread
• Greater mobility allowing food, medicines etc to reach people who need it
• The provision of emergency services, hospitals etc
• Much better childbirth facilities
• Cures being found for diseases that previously people died from
• Better housing so providing better protection against the elements
• Migration of people to areas that are more conducive to human well-being
• Global awareness of problems such as poverty, malaria, starvation
The Chinese policy of one child per family may have helped in China, but in many poorer countries around the world children are a means of providing income and of providing security in old age. This is especially true in countries that have little state assistance. The more children a family has the more sources of potential income, the more people to provide food and the more people to look after the parents in their old age.
It’s something of misconception that very rich families have more children. Statistics show that the poorest families tend to have the most children. Here in the UK, research conducted about two years ago found that half the children in the country are born into the poorest one quarter of society. To put it another way, the poorer families have, on average, twice the number of children as the richer families.
Overall the number of children per family fell from 2.4 some 50 years ago to 1.7 a few years ago. The figure is again rising and today the average family has 1.8 children.