How The Economic Changes Are Affecting Population Growth Rate?

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According to the earlier estimation the world population was expected to reach 8 billion by the year 2023, however some recent studies made by the university of Missouri show that the global fertility rates are reducing faster and there will not be the expected growth in the population. The changes in the economy are affecting the family size and it is slowing down the population growth according to the study. This study was funded by the National Science Foundation.

Mary Shenk, assistant professor of anthropology at the University of Missouri attributes this reduction in fertility rate to high educational attainment of people, increased employment opportunities the shifting of people away from agriculture and improved standard of living. It is expected that by understanding the cause of the reduced birth rate, it is possible to design new policies to influence better fertility. This will result in reduced competition for water, food land etc.

 Population Growth Rate

This study also found that the intervention programs which made a direct change in the affected individuals have achieved the best possible results.   The study found that the advertising campaigns encouraging lower birth rate will reach to a wider range of audiences with less money, but the face –to-face campaigns providing health services and access to various methods of contraception will provide better results. This will definitely result in the better use of the resources in the world.

This particular study used the data collected since the year 1966 and it covered more than 250,000 people from the rural areas of Bangladesh. Detailed interviews of nearly 800 women were also conducted.  The study considered sixty-four factors which related to family size and the results were used to explain the decline in fertility rates.  The three important explanations for reduced fertility rates are :-

  • Reduced Risk And Mortality Rate- study found that parents limit the number of children to one or two as they have more hope that their children will reach adulthood due to reduced child mortality rate.
  • Economic And Investment Reasons- the rising cost of raising children and the higher payoff needed to invest in the family reduces fertility rates.
  • Cultural Changes – the changing social perception about family size, the value of children and acceptance of contraceptive methods influences the rate of fertility.

Of these possibilities the economic and investment reasons were more influential on fertility rate. The changed mortality rates and proper health interventions also caused the decline of fertility in Bangladesh. According to Shenk the population growth rates are decreasing globally stating from 18th century in Western Europe, but analyzing the exact cause was difficult as there were different explanations given for the problem in the literature.

The study conducted by Shenk and colleagues created the framework to compare the different explanations for the decline in fertility.  According to them the government officials, the researchers, health workers and others can use their study to analyze the population data from any region using their method of study to understand the demographic changes occurring in a region.