The global population experiences at present a very rapid growth. This rise is so fast that it has been described as the global population explosion. The size population in the world is 6 billion. According to the projections, 9 billion people will be living in the world by 2050. It means that rise time is notably short as compared to human history and is comparable with the individual human life span itself.
Until 1945 there was a gradually accelerating rate of population growth. In the middle of the twentieth century, the burst of scientific innovation and economic activity enhanced improvements in food-producing and disease treatment. Drastic reduction in death rates led to an imbalance between births and deaths. The spreading of vaccines to less-developed countries, reduction of malnutrition, and improvements in food-producing gave an opportunity to control diseases, which are especially dangerous for children and teenagers, and reduce infant mortality.
However, the pace of population growth has slowed in recent years. Current trends show a drop in fertility rate, which refers to the number of children that a woman is likely to have in her lifetime. The average woman in an industrialized country now has 1.6 children, whereas a woman in a developing country has about 2.9 children. The demographic transition took place during the process of industrialization.
In fact, high levels of both fertility and mortality are lowering in the countries of the developing world. The spreading of TV, urbanization, and modernization of social life provoked the shift in birth rate, the liberation of women from traditional patriarchal constraints, and an increase in the use of contraceptive means. Advances in public health and progress in medicine promoted a rise in life expectancy. But the majority of the population still lives on agricultural products, and children are regarded as future field workers. As a result, birth rates in agricultural countries remain high.
We enter the critical period of rapid change; demographers claim that a limit to the global growth rate is to be introduced. China imposed severe constraints on the population and promoted contraception and sterilization. At the same time, India, Afghanistan, and Pakistan demonstrate the highest birth rates. Developed countries experience growth of population despite not high fertility rate. It is immigration, which contributes to the increase. Naturally, replacement level fertility is much desired. “Two children” family ensures the stable level of the population—high fertility and immigration in the U.S. help to avoid population decrease of industrialized countries in Europe.
According to the World Bank, improving the status of women is the key to population control. More possibilities of combining a career with motherhood, awareness of contraception, and emancipation influence women’s desire to have more children. Besides, family planning is introduced. It is a program that seeks to control the population by helping families to have only the number of children they desire.
Making projections creates a considerable difficulty; to forecast the rates of growth or decline of population accurately is next to impossible but very important. Too many factors influence accuracy and anticipation of changes. Not all developing countries will experience a considerable increase. Some risks should be taken into account. Among them, the considerable effect of AIDS on mortality rates in African countries requires investigation of levels of infection.
Uncontrolled global population growth brings environmental, economic, and geopolitical problems. Population explosion reveals such problems as adequate food supply and distribution, availability of freshwater, energy-consuming, and pollution of the environment. These are far from all ramifications, which are to be foreseen by the governments.