ArticlePDF Available

Abstract and Figures

This Population Bulletin, published in May 1995, focuses on the demographic trends and economic well-being of the U.S. population age 65 and older, and looks at how this group will change. The elderly population of the first half of the 21st century is already here. They are the young and middle-age adults of today. But how long and how well these future elderly will live depends upon medical advances, lifestyle changes, economic trends, political developments, and many other uncertainties. For now, today's older Americans provide the best yardstick for gauging what tomorrow's elderly will be like.
Content may be subject to copyright.
Older Americans in the 1990s and
Beyond
by Judith Treas
This Population Bulletin, published in May 1995, focuses on the
demographic trends and economic well-being of the U.S. population age 65
and older, and looks at how this group will change. The elderly population of
the first half of the 21st century is already here. They are the young and
middle-age adults of today. But how long and how well these future elderly
will live depends upon medical advances, lifestyle changes, economic
trends, political developments, and many other uncertainties. For now,
today’s older Americans provide the best yardstick for gauging what
tomorrow’s elderly will be like.
Table of Contents
Introduction
Growing Numbers
Aging of the Elderly
Population
Ethnic Diversity
Geographic Distribution
Living Longer
Roles and Resources
Family Ties and Living
Arrangements
Health and
Independence
Challenges for the
Future
Tables
Figures
Boxes
order the complete 48-page bulletin
view a list of related publications
Introduction
The growth and change of America’s older rank among the most important
demographic developments of the 20th century. Falling fertility and longer
lives transformed the elderly from a small component to a significant part of
the U.S. population. A sizable segment of all consumers, voters,
homeowners, patients, and family members are older adults. In one way or
another, every social institution in American society has had to
accommodate to older people’s needs, court their favor, or mobilize their
resources and contributions.
Older people are living a lifestyle that few could have envisioned in their
youth. Public programs for the elderly-and the succession of increasingly
wealthy cohorts-has brought retirement (and even early retirement) within
the reach of most people. In fact, active retirement has emerged as an
idealized lifestyle that encompasses social engagements, travel, hobbies,
volunteer activities, independent living, Sunbelt migration, and even part-time
jobs.
Although many older Americans fully enjoy this active and relatively affluent
lifestyle, many others cannot. Poverty is no longer endemic in the older
population-as it was 40 years ago-but it is still a reality for 12 percent of all
elderly people, 28 percent of older African Americans, and 21 percent of
elderly Hispanics.
Disability and the loss of independence is also a concern. Because the same
demographic developments that contributed to the growth of the older
population have lengthened the number of years people will live in advanced
old age, chronic illness, disability, and dependency are a poignant reality for
many of today’s older Americans.
Older Americans in 1990s and Beyond
http://www.prb.org/pubs/bulletin/bu50-2.htm (1 of 2) [3/28/2000 10:15:37 AM]
POPULATION
BULLETIN
Vol. 50, No. 2
May 1995
The future elderly population of the United States can be seen today in the
large baby-boom generation and their less numerous younger siblings and
children. Some current trends will be accentuated among the elderly of the
21st century-such as increasing educational levels and ethnic diversity. Their
economic security, however, hinges on many unknowns, including the future
of Social Security and other government programs that have benefited older
Americans.
As most 65-year-olds will testify, age 65 is an arbitrary marker for entry into
old age. In the 1990s, most people retire well before age 65, and most
“young-old,” people age 65 to 74, are reasonably healthy and live active and
independent lives. It is those age 75 and older, particularly the “oldest-old”
(age 85 or older), who are most vulnerable to the problems we associate
with old age-widowhood, declining health, and the difficulty of going about
daily life without assistance.
Return to Top
Return to Table of Contents
Related PRB Publications
Here are several more PRB publications that complement the information in
this Bulletin on the United States:
1999 World Population Data Sheet
PRB’s popular World Population Data sheet contains the latest population
estimates, projections, and other key indicators for 200 countries.
World Population Beyond Six Billion
This Population Bulletin provides a rich store of data about population
before 1900, from 1900 to 1950, from 1950 to 2000, and from 2000 to 2050.
It also discusses particular population groups such as the elderly, women,
children and adolescents, migrants, and people at high risk of HIV/AIDS.
© 1995 Population Reference Bureau
Copyright 1995 Population Reference Bureau. This text may not be
reproduced or reprinted in any form without the express written permission of
the Population Reference Bureau. For information, please call or write to
Permissions, PRB, 1875 Connecticut Ave., NW, Suite 520, Washington, DC
20009; 202/483-1100. Or e-mail: popref@prb.org.
Older Americans in 1990s and Beyond
http://www.prb.org/pubs/bulletin/bu50-2.htm (2 of 2) [3/28/2000 10:15:37 AM]
Older Americans in the 1990s and
Beyond
Table of Contents
Introduction
Growing Numbers
Aging of the Elderly
Population
Ethnic Diversity
Geographic Distribution
Living Longer
Roles and Resources
Family Ties and Living
Arrangements
Health and
Independence
Challenges for the
Future
Tables
Figures
Boxes
Growing Numbers
In 1995, almost 34 million Americans had lived past their 65th birthday,
accounting for one in eight Americans. By virtue of its size, this older
population has made itself felt throughout U.S. society-in national politics, in
the health care system, at the corner market, and in the multigenerational
family.
In 1900, there were only 3 million older adults in the United States, and they
made up 1 in 25 Americans (see Table 1). The growth of the older population
can be traced to the surer survival of the increasingly large generations of
Americans born during the first quarter of this century when birth rates were
higher than they are today. The aging of the 19 million immigrants who
entered the United States in the first three decades of this century also
contributed to this growth. While most of today’s foreign-born elderly entered
the United States long ago as children or young adults, others arrived fairly
recently to join family members already here. These recent arrivals have
added further to the size of America’s older population.
Although the population age 65 and older quadrupled during the first half of
the 20th century, the pace of growth is slowing as the relatively small cohort
born during the Great Depression of the 1930s moves into old age. After the
first baby boomers turn 65 in 2011, however, the ranks of the older
population will begin to swell again. After 2030, the older population’s rate of
increase will fall sharply as the smaller baby-bust generation begins to turn
age 65. By the middle of the 21st century, there will be 80 million people age
65 or older, roughly one in five Americans.
The demographic trends of the 20th century are reflected in the population
pyramids appearing in Figure 1. In 1900, high fertility assured that each new
Older Americans -- Part I
http://www.prb.org/pubs/bulletin/bu50-2/part1.htm (1 of 3) [3/28/2000 10:15:38 AM]
generation was larger than the one that preceded it. The United States had a
young population with relatively few older persons. As fertility fell and more
people survived to old age, the elderly’s share of total population climbed. By
1970, this growing elderly population crowned a population pyramid that had
been pinched in the middle by the small cohorts born during the 1930s
Depression. The bottom of the pyramid bulged with the baby boomers, who
were between 6 and 24 years of age in 1970. The baby boomers temporarily
“younged” the U.S. population, but the falling fertility rates during the 1970s
produced the smaller “baby bust” cohort and population aging resumed. By
1995, the baby boomers had moved to the middle of the population pyramid,
raising the median age of Americans to 34 years from 28 in 1970.1 By the
third decade of the 21st century, however, this entire generation will have
joined the ranks of the older population, and the median age of the U.S.
population is projected to be 38.6 years.
Return to Top
Return to Table of Contents
Aging of the Elderly Population
The older population is growing older. In part, because of gains in life
expectancy at advanced ages, the population age 85 and older makes up
the fastest growing age group in the U.S. population. The number of
American centenarians, which more than tripled to 52,000 between 1980 and
1995, may reach 1 million by the middle of the 21st century. Because
advanced old age is associated with chronic illness and functional
impairments, the aging of the older population portends a substantial
increase in the need for health care and supportive social services.
Older women outnumber older men in almost all societies. Among
Americans age 65 and older in 1995, there were 60 men for every 100
women. The disparity becomes even more marked for those age 85 and
older-39 men per 100 women. This shortfall of men reflects higher male
mortality at all ages. Male babies have higher infant mortality rates; men
have higher death rates in the teen and young adult years (primarily from
injuries and, more recently, AIDS); and middle-age and older men have
higher death rates from heart disease and other chronic illnesses. Although
about 105 boys are born for every 100 girls, women outnumber men by age
30 because of the higher male mortality rates. At age 64, the sex ratio, or the
number of men per 100 women, is 88. At age 65 and older, the sex ratio is
highly skewed, especially for some population groups. It is 69 for older
whites, for example, 63 among elderly African Americans, and 76 among
older Asians.
Return to Top
Return to Table of Contents
Ethnic Diversity
The older population is becoming more ethnically and racially
diverse-although at a slower pace than the overall population of the United
States. Because of higher birth rates and immigration rates of ethnic and
racial minority groups, African-American, Hispanic, and Asian populations
are increasing more rapidly than is the non-Hispanic white population.
Non-Hispanic whites made up about 80 percent of the U.S. population in
1980, but this share slipped to 74 percent by 1995. Similarly, the ranks of the
minority elderly are growing more rapidly than those of the non-Hispanic
whites. Non-Hispanic whites’ share of the elderly population declined from 88
percent in 1980 to 85 percent in 1995. This trend will accelerate in coming
decades. By 2050, the non-Hispanic white share of the elderly population is
projected to fall to 67 percent.
Return to Top
Return to Table of Contents
1. U.S. Bureau of the Census, "Population Projections of the United States,
by Age, Sex, Race, and Hispanic Origin: 1993 to 2050," Current Population
Reports P25-1104, by Jennifer Cheeseman Day (Washington, DC: GPO,
Nov. 1993): Table 2; and Statistical Abstract of the United States, 1994
Older Americans -- Part I
http://www.prb.org/pubs/bulletin/bu50-2/part1.htm (2 of 3) [3/28/2000 10:15:38 AM]
114th Ed. (Washington, DC: GPO, 1994): 13.
© 1995 Population Reference Bureau
Copyright 1995 Population Reference Bureau. This text may not be
reproduced or reprinted in any form without the express written permission of
the Population Reference Bureau. For information, please call or write to
Permissions, PRB, 1875 Connecticut Ave., NW, Suite 520, Washington, DC
20009; 202/483-1100. Or e-mail: popref@prb.org.
Order the complete 48-page Bulletin!
Older Americans -- Part I
http://www.prb.org/pubs/bulletin/bu50-2/part1.htm (3 of 3) [3/28/2000 10:15:38 AM]
Older Americans in the 1990s and
Beyond
Table of Contents
Introduction
Growing Numbers
Aging of the Elderly
Population
Ethnic Diversity
Geographic
Distribution
Living Longer
Roles and Resources
Family Ties and Living
Arrangements
Health and
Independence
Challenges for the
Future
Tables
Figures
Boxes
Geographic Distribution
Some states and communities have proportionately more older residents
than others, but in general, elderly Americans live alongside younger
Americans. More than half of America’s older people lived in the nine most
populous states in 1994. California recorded over 3 million residents age 65
or older; New York and Florida each had about 2.5 million. Six other states
had more than 1 million older people: Pennsylvania, Texas, Ohio, Illinois,
Michigan, and New Jersey. The least populous states had proportionately
smaller elderly populations: Alaska counted 28,000 persons age 65 and
older, and Wyoming had 53,000.
All 50 states saw their number of older people increase during the 1980s,
although some localities-ranging from economically depressed
nonmetropolitan counties to urban areas like the Bronx-experienced a
decline in their older population.2 These increases reflect the large cohort of
adults who passed the threshold of old age during the decade. Most adults
remain in their own homes or communities after retirement. This “aging in
place,” as demographers describe it, accounted for most of the growth of the
elderly in state and local areas. Some states with warm climates and lifestyle
amenities also gained elderly residents through migration. Between 1980
and 1990, the most rapid increases were in less populous states such as
Alaska, Nevada, Hawaii, and New Mexico, and in states that attract large
numbers of elderly migrants such as Arizona and Florida.
Return to Top
Return to Table of Contents
Living Longer
The life expectancy of Americans made extraordinary gains in this century.
In 1900, a newborn could expect to live only 47.3 years. By 1993, U.S. life
expectancy was 75.5 years-a gain of 28.2 years.
Deaths are concentrated among the old. In 1993, 73 percent of all deaths
occurred to persons age 65 and older; 23 percent occurred to persons age
85 and older. Although deaths averted among the old contribute fewer years
of remaining life than can infant lives saved, declining death rates among the
65-and-older population have become an important force for gains in overall
life expectancy.
As life expectancy increased, the causes of death shifted from acute and
infectious diseases of infancy and childhood to the chronic, degenerative
Older Americans -- Part II
http://www.prb.org/pubs/bulletin/bu50-2/part2.htm (1 of 4) [3/28/2000 10:15:39 AM]
illnesses of old age. Higher standards of living, improved public health, and
medical advances such as immunizations reduced the threat posed by
infectious disease. Tuberculosis was the leading cause of death in the
1800s. In the 1990s, heart disease, cancer, and strokes are the major killers
of Americans and account for more than two-thirds of deaths among persons
age 65 and older (see Table 2). About three-quarters of all deaths can be
attributed to more than one cause. Because people often have numerous
health problems by the end of life, the aging of the population contributes to
an increase in the percent of deaths linked to multiple causes.3
Heart disease is the most frequent cause of death for older Americans. It
killed almost 600,000 older Americans in 1992. More than one-third (38
percent) of all deaths to persons age 65 and older are attributed to heart
disease. Death rates from heart disease have fallen steadily since 1968,
however, probably because of widespread reductions in smoking and
improved control of high blood pressure. Progress against this disease is the
major reason total mortality declined and life expectancy improved so much
over the past two decades.
Malignant neoplasms (cancers) are second only to heart disease as a cause
of death. They accounted for 23 percent of deaths to persons age 65 and
older in 1992. Cancer deaths have actually increased among the elderly in
recent decades, possibly because progress against heart disease has
permitted more people to live long enough to succumb to cancer. This
overall increase in cancer deaths masks declines in deaths from some
specific cancers-declines that can be traced to healthier lifestyles, earlier
detection, and better treatment. Deaths from stomach cancer have fallen
since the 1930s, for example, because Americans eat less smoked and
salted food than they once did. Uterine cancer deaths have declined, in part
because routine medical screening detects cervical cancer earlier, which
allows women to receive effective treatment.4 Male deaths from lung cancer
have begun to fall, too, as a consequence of declines in smoking that began
three decades ago. Lung cancer deaths continue to climb, however, because
recent cohorts of elderly women are more likely to have smoked than the
generation that preceded them.
Return to Top
Older Americans -- Part II
http://www.prb.org/pubs/bulletin/bu50-2/part2.htm (2 of 4) [3/28/2000 10:15:39 AM]
Return to Table of Contents
Roles and Resources
Because their lives are not constrained by work, school, and parenting
schedules, most older people-particularly those with good health and
economic means-can devote time to social, recreational, and civic interests.
Their activities do much more than fill a void left by the loss of work and
family responsibilities. They offer opportunities to socialize, relax, and learn
new things. Stimulating activity contributes to the physical and mental
functioning of older Americans; it allows them to feel useful, to demonstrate
their skills and knowledge, and to be entertained. The youngest of the older
Americans-those age 65 to 74-are the best educated generation of elders
ever. Two in three finished high school, compared with just over half of those
age 75 or older. Future generations of elderly will have even higher levels of
educational attainment.
While most people over age 65 pursue leisure time activities, more than 3.8
million persons age 65 and older were either working or looking for work in
1994. These people represented 12 percent of all older Americans in the
community (that is, those not living in a nursing home or other institution) and
nearly 3 percent of the U.S. civilian labor force in 1994. Younger elderly men
are the most likely to work: nearly 1 in 4 men age 65 to 69, but only 1 in 18
men age 75 or older, were in the labor force in 1994. About half of the elderly
in the labor force worked part-time. And, consistent with their generation’s
lifelong work patterns, elderly men were twice as likely as their female
counterparts to be in the labor force.
No generation of U.S. elderly has enjoyed as high a living standard as
today’s older Americans. In contrast to their grandparents, today’s elderly
benefit from Social Security and Medicare, from private pensions, and from
unprecedented postwar prosperity that permitted them to own their own
homes and to save for their later years. The income mix of the older
population reflects a unique package of economic resources. Social Security
accounts for two of every five dollars older Americans receive. It is the single
largest source of income for most older people. Employer pensions and
income from assets, savings, and investments account for another two
dollars out of the five going to older individuals. While a paycheck is still
important to those older people who continue to work, earnings are a
relatively minor income source for a population composed mostly of retirees.
Return to Top
Return to Table of Contents
2. William H. Frey, "Mature Markets-Elderly Growth Patterns in U.S.
Counties," Research Reports, no. 93-270 (Ann Arbor, MI: University of
Michigan Population Studies Center, 1993); U.S. Bureau of the Census,
"Sixty-Five Plus in America," Current Population Reports P23-178RV,
prepared by Cynthia Taeuber (Washington, DC: GPO, May 1993): 5-2.
3. National Center for Health Statistics, "Aging in the Eighties: The
Prevalence of Comorbidity and Its Association with Disability," Advance
Data, no. 170, prepared by Jack M. Guralnik, Andrea Z. LaCroix, Donald F.
Everett, and Mary Grace Kovar (May 26, 1989).
Older Americans -- Part II
http://www.prb.org/pubs/bulletin/bu50-2/part2.htm (3 of 4) [3/28/2000 10:15:39 AM]
4. Gary Williams, "Causes and Prevention of Cancer," Metropolitan Life
Statistical Bulletin 72, no. 2 (1991).
© 1995 Population Reference Bureau
Copyright 1995 Population Reference Bureau. This text may not be
reproduced or reprinted in any form without the express written permission of
the Population Reference Bureau. For information, please call or write to
Permissions, PRB, 1875 Connecticut Ave., NW, Suite 520, Washington, DC
20009; 202/483-1100. Or e-mail: popref@prb.org.
Order the complete 48-page Bulletin!
Older Americans -- Part II
http://www.prb.org/pubs/bulletin/bu50-2/part2.htm (4 of 4) [3/28/2000 10:15:39 AM]
Older Americans in the 1990s and
Beyond
Table of Contents
Introduction
Growing Numbers
Aging of the Elderly
Population
Ethnic Diversity
Geographic Distribution
Living Longer
Roles and Resources
Family Ties and
Living Arrangements
Health and
Independence
Challenges for the
Future
Tables
Figures
Boxes
Family Ties and Living Arrangements
The everyday lives of many older people are closely entwined with those of
their relatives. Family members are people to think about, to socialize with,
and to help in one way or another. Of course, younger adults also help out
their older family members. In 1984, fully 84 percent of noninstitutionalized
persons age 65 and older who received help with activities such as bathing
or housework were assisted by relatives.5
Grown children are a particularly important source of intimacy and support
for elderly women who have outlived their spouses. Although nearly all older
people have at least some kin, a substantial minority have no surviving
children. In 1990, for example, one-quarter of white women, and one-third of
black women, age 85 and older had no living children.50 These proportions
are expected to decline, however, as the parents of the baby-boom
generation enter this oldest age group. In the near term, relatively few old
people will be without children who could care for them should they become
disabled. By 2020 the proportion of women age 85 and older who are
childless is projected to be less than half of the 1990 figure.
Most older people prefer to live independently in the community and in their
own homes. Among the community-dwelling elderly who make up the
overwhelming majority of older Americans, 9 out of 10 men and 8 out of 10
women maintain their own homes as either the householder or the
householder’s spouse. Although some older people live in the homes of
family members or of unrelated individuals, this residential arrangement has
become less and less common as the economic position of the older
population has improved.
Older people are less likely to move to a new home or community than are
younger people. The strong commitment to their current neighborhood
probably means fewer want to move, and they are less likely to need to
move for job reasons. Elderly who are poor or frail may not be able to meet
the physical, financial, and emotional demands of relocating. In March 1994,
19 percent of Americans ages 20 to 64 reported moving in the past year, but
only 6 percent of those age 65 and older had made such a move.
Return to Top
Return to Table of Contents
Health and Independence
Most older people report having at least one chronic health problem. Some
Older Americans -- Part III
http://www.prb.org/pubs/bulletin/bu50-2/part3.htm (1 of 3) [3/28/2000 10:15:40 AM]
conditions are potentially life threatening and associated with extensive need
for medical care. Heart disease, for example, is reported by almost one-third
of older Americans in the community. Other health conditions are potential
threats to the quality of life. Although they may result in pain, inconvenience,
and impairments requiring assistance with daily living, they are not
necessarily associated with high use of medical services. Almost half of older
people living in the community are troubled by arthritis, and many older
people have visual and hearing impairments that interfere with performing
everyday tasks. In sharp contrast, younger people seldom face functional
limitations due to chronic health problems. Only 10 percent of the population
age 15 to 44 (who did not live in an institution) experienced such limitations,
compared with 39 percent of elderly living in the community.6
Return to Top
Return to Table of Contents
Challenges for the Future
The 20th century has witnessed remarkable growth and change in America’s
older population. Once a small and relatively unnoticed segment of U.S.
society, it is now a large and increasingly influential portion of the population.
Although the pace of this growth and change has slowed in recent years, the
next century will see a new explosion of population aging as the members of
America’s giant baby-boom generation enter their older years.
Today’s generation of elders has taught us that the older years can be both
the best and worst of times in an individual’s life. With some exceptions,
most people now enter their older years with the health and resources to
pursue full and independent lives. But the aging process does take a toll. By
age 80, many older individuals are troubled by poor health, difficulty
accomplishing simple tasks, and dependency on others. The transition from
active, independent living to a period when greater assistance is required
can be a painful time for older individuals and their families. Addressing this
need will be one of the greatest challenges that individuals and society will
face in the 21st century.
Beyond the increasing numbers of older people that are projected for the
years ahead, three other powerful demographic factors will influence the
future course of America’s older population: the increasing racial and ethnic
diversity of the population, changing family patterns, and extensions of
average life expectancy. The increasing diversity of the U.S. population will
alter America’s older population, bringing with it a new mix of needs and
service requirements.
America’s changing family patterns-particularly the trends toward smaller
family size, childlessness, and divorce-will mean that today’s middle-age
adults will have fewer family resources to draw upon during times of need in
their older years. Nonfamily assistance, most likely in the form of formal
service providers, will be needed to fill this future service gap. And finally, the
intriguing question of how much further life expectancy can be extended
carries important public policy implications. The possibility that the average
American will live to a much older age alters not only the number of older
people projected for the 21st century but also the potential costs of Social
Security, private pension programs, Medicare, Medicaid, and a host of other
services and programs for the elderly.
Older Americans -- Part III
http://www.prb.org/pubs/bulletin/bu50-2/part3.htm (2 of 3) [3/28/2000 10:15:40 AM]
The challenge of planning for an aging society will be to recognize and
address the differences that already exist within today’s generation of elders,
as well as those likely to shape the needs of generations yet to come.
Return to Top
Return to Table of Contents
5. Esther Hing and Barbara Bloom, "Long-Term Care for the Functionally
Dependent Elderly," National Center for Health Statistics, Vital and Health
Statistics series 13, no. 104 (1990): 28.
6. National Center for Health Statistics, Health, United States, 1993
(Hyattsville, MD: Public Health Service, 1994): 153.
© 1995 Population Reference Bureau
Copyright 1995 Population Reference Bureau. This text may not be
reproduced or reprinted in any form without the express written permission of
the Population Reference Bureau. For information, please call or write to
Permissions, PRB, 1875 Connecticut Ave., NW, Suite 520, Washington, DC
20009; 202/483-1100. Or e-mail: popref@prb.org.
Order the complete 48-page Bulletin!
Older Americans -- Part III
http://www.prb.org/pubs/bulletin/bu50-2/part3.htm (3 of 3) [3/28/2000 10:15:40 AM]
Older Americans in the 1990s and
Beyond
Table of Contents
Introduction
Growing Numbers
Aging of the Elderly
Population
Ethnic Diversity
Geographic Distribution
Living Longer
Roles and Resources
Family Ties and Living
Arrangements
Health and
Independence
Challenges for the
Future
Tables
Figures
Boxes
Tables
U.S. Population and Population Age 65 and Older, 1900-2050
Countries of Birth for Elderly U.S. Immigrants Admitted in 1993U.S. Elderly Population by State in 1994 and Growth Since 1980Life Expectancy at Birth and at Age 65 by Sex, 1900-1993Leading Causes of Death for Persons Age 65 and Older, 1992
Percentage of Americans Entering and Exiting Poverty Between
1990 and 1991, by Age
Median U.S. Household Income by Household Characteristics,
1993
Marital Status of the U.S. Population Age 65 and Older, by Gender
and Race/Ethnicity, 1994
Geographic Mobility of Elderly and Non-Elderly, 1993-1994Living Arrangements of Functionally Dependent Elderly
Americans, by Degree of Functional Limitations, 1984-1985
Figures
U.S. Population by Age and Sex, 1900, 1970, 1995, and 2030
Dependency Ratios for Child and Older Populations, United
States, 1900-2050
Projection of the U.S. Elderly Population by Age, 1995-2050U.S. Elderly and Non-Elderly Population by Race/Ethnicity, 1995
and 2050
U.S. Population Age 65 and Older by State, 1994Mortality, Disability, and Morbidity Survival Curves for U.S.
Females, 1980
Educational Attainment of Americans by Age and Race/Ethnicity,
1994
Americans Age 65 and Older in the Civilian Labor Force by
Gender, 1948-1994
Sources of Income for the U.S. Elderly Population, 1992Living Arrangements of Elderly Men and Women, 1994Major Chronic Health Conditions for Elderly Americans, 1992
Boxes
Social Security and Supplemental Social SecurityMedicare
Older Americans -- Tables, Figures, Boxes
http://www.prb.org/pubs/bulletin/bu50-2/tfb.htm (1 of 2) [3/28/2000 10:15:40 AM]
The Aging Network and Its Resources
Return to Top
Return to Table of Contents
© 1995 Population Reference Bureau
Copyright 1995 Population Reference Bureau. This text may not be
reproduced or reprinted in any form without the express written
permission of the Population Reference Bureau. For information, please
call or write to Permissions, PRB, 1875 Connecticut Ave., NW, Suite 520,
Washington, DC 20009; 202/483-1100. Or e-mail: popref@prb.org.
Order the complete 48-page Bulletin!
Older Americans -- Tables, Figures, Boxes
http://www.prb.org/pubs/bulletin/bu50-2/tfb.htm (2 of 2) [3/28/2000 10:15:40 AM]
http://www.prb.org/pubs/bulletin/bu50-2/table1.gif
http://www.prb.org/pubs/bulletin/bu50-2/table1.gif [3/28/2000 10:15:41 AM]
http://www.prb.org/pubs/bulletin/bu50-2/fig1.gif
http://www.prb.org/pubs/bulletin/bu50-2/fig1.gif [3/28/2000 10:15:41 AM]
http://www.prb.org/pubs/bulletin/bu50-2/table2.gif
http://www.prb.org/pubs/bulletin/bu50-2/table2.gif [3/28/2000 10:15:41 AM]
POPULATION BULLETIN
Vol.54 No. 1
March 1999
World Population Beyond Six Billion
By Alene Gelbard, Carl Haub, and Mary M. Kent
This Population Bulletin, published in March 1999, chronicles the
demographic history of the world and the changes in population in less
developed and more developed countries. It examines the social and
economic factors that affect population change. It also discusses the
heightened international concern in the second half of the century about the
rapid rate of growth and large increases in population size. And it looks at
the ways that governments and private groups around the world have
responded to these concerns. It describes a new world vision of what to do
about population issues. This vision draws attention to particular population
groups and the importance of their well-being for the quality of life for all
people in the 21st century.
order the complete 44-page bulletin
view a list of related publications
Table of Contents
Introduction
Population Growth Before 1900
Figure 1. Population Growth in More Developed and Less Developed
Countries, 1750 to 2000
Table 1. Population Growth in World Regions, 1750 to 2000
Figure 2. Demographic Transition in Sweden and Mexico, 1750 to
1997
Population Change: 1900 to 1950
Population Change: 1950 to 2000
Table 2. Life Expectancy at Birth in Selected Countries Around 1900,
1950, and 1990
Box 1. Improving Health in Less Developed Countries
Table 3. Estimates of the HIV/AIDS Epidemic, 1998Box 2. The Reproductive Revolution
Figure 3. Fertility Decline in World Regions, 1950 to 1998Figure 4. Patterns of Fertility Decline in Selected Countries, 1970 to
1996
Figure 5. Urbanization in More Developed and Less Developed
Countries, 1850 to 2030
Figure 6. Population by Age and Sex in More Developed and Less
Developed Countries, 1998
World Population Beyond Six Billion
http://www.prb.org/pubs/bulletin/bu54-1.htm (1 of 3) [3/28/2000 10:15:42 AM]
Causes and Effects of Population Change
Box 3. Sources of Data
Box 4. Changing Marriage Patterns in the Arab Region
Figure 7. Mother's Education and Teenage Childbearing in Selected
Countries, Early 1990s
Figure 8. Mother's Education and Infant Mortality in Selected
Countries, Mid-1990s
Box 5. Measuring Population, Development, and Environment
Relationships
Population Prospects: 2000 to 2050
Figure 9. Three Scenarios of World Population Growth, 2000 to 2050
Perspectives and Responses to Growth
Table 4. Population Projections for World Regions, Three Scenarios
for 2050
A New Vision
Figure 10. HIV/AIDS Cases in Major World Regions, 1998
Conclusion
Suggested Resources
Ashford, Lori, and Carolyn Makinson. Reproductive Health in Policy and Practice: Case Studies from
Brazil, India, Morocco, and Uganda. Washington, DC: Population Reference Bureau, 1999.
Baudot, Barbara S., and William R. Moomaw, eds. The Population, Environment, Security, Equation.
New York: Macmillan, 1997.
Birdsall, Nancy, and Steven Sinding. "Chairman’s Report on the Symposium on Population Change
and Economic Development, Bellagio, Italy, Nov. 2-6, 1998." Forthcoming, 1999.
Bledsoe, Caroline H., John B. Casterline, Jennifer A. Johnson-Kuhn, and John G. Haaga, eds. Critical
Perspectives on Schooling and Fertility. Washington, DC: National Academy Press, 1999.
Castles, Stephen, and Mark J. Miller. The Age of Migration, 2d ed. New York: Guilford Press, 1998.
Cohen, Joel E. How Many People Can the Earth Support? New York: W.W. Norton & Co., 1995.
Jain, Anrudh, ed. Do Population Policies Matter? New York: The Population Council, 1998.
Lutz, Wolfgang, ed. The Future Population of the World. What Can We Assume Today? Revised.
Laxenburg, Austria: International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis, 1996.
Malthus, Thomas Robert. An Essay on the Principle of Population as it Affects the Future Improvement
of Society. With Remarks on the Speculations of Mr. Godwin, M. Condorcet, and Other Writers.
Reprinted in On Population, ed. Gertrude Himmelfarb. New York: Modern Library, 1960.
Population Reference Bureau, Improving Reproductive Health in Developing Countries. Washington,
DC: Population Reference Bureau, 1997.
Weeks, John R. Population: An Introduction to Concepts and Issues, 6th ed. San Francisco:
Wadsworth Publishing Company, 1996.
Wrigley, Edward A. Population and History. New York: McGraw-Hill Book Co., 1969.
Web Sites
World Population Beyond Six Billion
http://www.prb.org/pubs/bulletin/bu54-1.htm (2 of 3) [3/28/2000 10:15:42 AM]
United Nations Population Division:
http://www.popin.org
U.S. Bureau of the Census (international data): http://www.census.gov/ipc/www/
Population Reference Bureau:
http://www.prb.org
http://www.popnet.org
Related PRB Publications
Here are several more PRB publications that complement the information in
this Bulletin on population issues:
International Population Handbook, Fourth Edition
Just updated: New data from many countries that illustrate the rates,
ratios, and concepts of demography.
1999 World Population Data Sheet and Book Edition
Latest population estimates for 200 countries
Population: A Lively Introduction
Population Bulletin that discusses the basic forces of demographic
change—fertility, mortality, and migration—and common assessment
measures.
Population Change, Resources, and the Environment
Population Bulletin that examines the likely global impacts of
population growth and distribution.
© 1999 Population Reference Bureau
Copyright 1999 Population Reference Bureau. This text may not be reproduced or reprinted in any
form without the express written permission of the Population Reference Bureau. For information,
please call or write to Permissions, PRB, 1875 Connecticut Ave., NW, Suite 520, Washington, DC
20009; 202/483-1100. Or e-mail: popref@prb.org. See our copyright policy.
World Population Beyond Six Billion
http://www.prb.org/pubs/bulletin/bu54-1.htm (3 of 3) [3/28/2000 10:15:42 AM]
World Population Beyond Six Billion
Table of Contents
Introduction
Population Growth Before 1900
Population Change: 1900 to
1950
Population Change: 1950 to
2000
Causes and Effects of
Population Change
Population Prospects: 2000 to
2050
Perspectives and Responses to
Growth
A New Vision
Conclusion
Introduction
In the history of the world, no century can match the population growth of the
one now coming to a close. We entered the 20th century with less than 2
billion people, and we leave it with more than 6 billion.
What is the world population outlook beyond 6 billion? The momentum
created by the unprecedented growth of the last half century will carry us
toward the seventh billion--probably within the next 14 years. Nearly all of
this increase will occur in less developed regions. Beyond that, our vision
blurs.
Will world population stop growing over the next century? Will the 21st
century witness long-term population decline? Or will the new century see
even more population growth than the last? Any of these scenarios is
possible.
World population in the next century, as in the last, will reflect starkly
different demographic trends around the world: high fertility and mortality and
rapid population growth in sub-Saharan Africa, for example, and low fertility
and mortality and population decline in parts of Europe.
What accounts for these differences? Are they likely to change? To answer
these questions, we must examine what causes population change. We
have learned a great deal about the factors linked with population change.
These include economic growth or decline; public health interventions;
investments in education and environmental protection; the status of women;
epidemics and other health threats; and access to family planning
information and services.
Some of these factors are harder to understand and predict than others.
Many are intricately interconnected-so that a change in one can cause a
change in another.
We know that the future world population will be influenced heavily by the 2
billion young people under age 20 in less developed countries today. As
these youths enter their childbearing years, their decisions about how many
children to have and when to have them will determine the size and
characteristics of the world’s population in 2050 and at the end of the 21st
century.
This Population Bulletin chronicles the demographic history of the world and
the changes in population in less developed and more developed countries.
It examines the social and economic factors that affect population change. It
also discusses the heightened international concern in the second half of the
World Population Beyond Six Billion -- Introduction
http://www.prb.org/pubs/bulletin/bu54-1/intro.htm (1 of 2) [3/28/2000 10:15:43 AM]
century about the rapid rate of growth and large in-creases in population
size. And, it looks at the ways that governments and private groups around
the world have responded to these concerns. It describes a new world vision
of what to do about population issues. This vision draws attention to
particular population groups and the importance of their well-being for the
quality of life for all people in the 21st century.
Return to Top l Table of Contents l Continue to Part I
© 1999 Population Reference Bureau
Copyright 1999 Population Reference Bureau. This text may not be reproduced or reprinted in any
form without the express written permission of the Population Reference Bureau. For information,
please call or write to Permissions, PRB, 1875 Connecticut Ave., NW, Suite 520, Washington, DC
20009; 202/483-1100. Or e-mail: popref@prb.org. See our copyright policy.
World Population Beyond Six Billion -- Introduction
http://www.prb.org/pubs/bulletin/bu54-1/intro.htm (2 of 2) [3/28/2000 10:15:43 AM]
World Population Beyond Six Billion
Table of Contents
Introduction
Population Growth Before
1900
Population Change: 1900 to
1950
Population Change: 1950 to
2000
Causes and Effects of
Population Change
Population Prospects: 2000 to
2050
Perspectives and Responses to
Growth
A New Vision
Conclusion
Population Growth Before 1900
Demographic Transition
For much of our history, humans have struggled to survive. By A.D. 1,
perhaps 300 million people lived on the Earth, a paltry total after millions of
years of human existence. For most of the next 2,000 years, population
growth was exceedingly slow. High birth rates were often offset by frightful
mortality from wars, famines, and epidemics. The bubonic plague, for
example, reduced the populations of China and Europe by one-third in the
14th century.1
The demographic history of Breteuil, France, in the 17th century, illustrates
the fragility of life in this period. Breteuil’s inhabitants depended on a single
grain crop, and crop failure meant famine and death. Evidence of a crop
crisis in Breteuil in 1694 was accompanied by records of 1,229 burials in the
parish registers. Only 73 deaths had been recorded the previous year and
only 49 were recorded the year following the crop failure.2
Despite dramatic spikes in mortality rates, the number of births exceeded the
number of deaths during the 17th and 18th centuries and population growth
proceeded at a slightly faster pace. World population was about 790 million
in 1750 and reached 1 billion around 1800 (see Figure 1).
World Population Beyond Six Billion-- Part I
http://www.prb.org/pubs/bulletin/bu54-1/part1.htm (1 of 6) [3/28/2000 10:15:45 AM]
During the next century, something new began to take place in Europe and
in a few other areas around the world. Better hygiene and public sanitation
reduced the incidence of disease. Expanded commerce made food supplies
more widely available and improved nutrition. The wild fluctuations in
mortality of previous centuries began to recede, and life expectancy began a
slow rise. Population grew more quickly and more steadily. Total world
population was nearly 1.7 billion by the beginning of the 20th century and
would reach 2 billion within the next 30 years.
The 19th-century surge of population growth occurred primarily in the more
developed countries.a The population of Europe more than doubled between
1800 and 1900, while the population of North America increased nearly 12
times-fueled by immigration from Africa and Europe. In 1800, about
one-fourth of world population lived in the now more developed regions of
Europe (including Russia), Japan, and North America, but that share
increased to about one-third by 1900 (see Table 1).
World Population Beyond Six Billion-- Part I
http://www.prb.org/pubs/bulletin/bu54-1/part1.htm (2 of 6) [3/28/2000 10:15:45 AM]
Less developed countries grew more slowly than more developed countries
in the 19th century, but they already held the bulk of the world inhabitants.
Asia, dominated by China, had 62 percent of world population in 1800, and
Africa had 11 percent. Latin America and the Caribbean accounted for only
about 2 percent of the world’s population. Like North America, Latin America
would see most of its population growth in the 20th century.
Some of the shift in regional distribution resulted from immigration, but it also
reflects fundamental shifts in population trends that began in the more
developed regions and spread to less developed regions in the 20th century.
Demographic Transition
The improvement in human survival and the consequent explosion of
population growth marked the beginning of the shift from high to low mortality
and from high to low fertility that is known as the "demographic transition."
This shift occurred throughout Europe, North America, and a number of other
areas in the 19th and early 20th centuries. It gave rise to the dominant model
of demographic change, which most demographers assume will apply to all
countries. In the classic demographic transition, the trend of high birth and
death rates (and minimal population growth) is disrupted by a long-term
decline in mortality. Mortality rates eventually stabilize at low levels. Birth
rates also begin a long-term decline and fall to about the same level as
World Population Beyond Six Billion-- Part I
http://www.prb.org/pubs/bulletin/bu54-1/part1.htm (3 of 6) [3/28/2000 10:15:45 AM]
mortality rates. With birth and death rates at similar low levels, the
equilibrium of slow population growth is regained.
The pace of change in a country will vary depending on its culture, level of
economic development, and other factors. As countries pass through the
various stages of the transition, population growth from natural increase
(birth rate minus death rate) accelerates or declines depending on the gap
between the birth rates and death rates. More developed countries such as
Sweden have "completed" the demographic transition: Fertility and mortality
are at low levels and natural increase adds little, if any, population growth.
Many less developed countries are in an intermediate stage, in which
mortality and fertility are falling at varying rates but are still high relative to
the levels in Europe and other more developed areas.
Not all countries will follow the same path to low fertility and low mortality as
did European countries. And, there may be additional stages of transition
that we have not identified-long-term population decline, for example. But the
demographic transition theory provides a useful framework for assessing
demographic trends and projecting future population size.
The volatile level of mortality at the beginning of the transition is illustrated by
the peaks and valleys of Sweden’s death rate between the 1750s and early
1800s (see Figure 2). When death rates rose sharply, population growth
slowed or even turned negative. As people grew healthier, death rates
declined, as illustrated by the path of Sweden’s death rate after 1826.
Settlement patterns changed in Sweden and other European countries
during the 18th and 19th centuries, which affected population growth. More
people moved to the cities. Trade and industrialization transformed society;
World Population Beyond Six Billion-- Part I
http://www.prb.org/pubs/bulletin/bu54-1/part1.htm (4 of 6) [3/28/2000 10:15:45 AM]
they created new merchant classes and a need for wage labor. The cost and
value of children changed. Children had been considered an asset to rural
couples, who relied on them to help produce food and income. Children were
expected to support their parents in old age. But children could not contribute
as much to families living in urban areas. Housing was often in short supply
and incomes were generally low. Each additional child meant that the
family’s resources and living quarters must be stretched even further.
New patterns of marriage and childbearing emerged during this period. In
many parts of Europe, couples began to wait longer to marry and relied on
traditional methods of birth control to limit the number of children they had. In
the 18th century, there were nearly 40 births per 1,000 population in northern
and western Europe. The rates began a lengthy descent throughout the
region in the 18th and 19th centuries, although the timing of fertility decline
differed from country to country. Birth rates began a constant decline around
1875 in Sweden. By the end of the 19th century, fertility and mortality were
falling in much of Europe and in a few other areas, including Australia and
the United States.
Return to Top l Table of Contents l Continue to Part II
Population Change: 1900 to 1950
As the 20th century began, more developed countries were entering a new
stage of the demographic transition. In 1900, life expectancy at birth was 47
years in the United States and between 45 and 50 years in Europe, Japan,
and Australia--up slightly from an average of about 40 years during the 19th
century.3 But a revolution in health had already begun, and life expectancy
would reach unimaginably high levels by mid-century. These improvements
in health reflected scientific advances of the previous century--Louis Pasteur,
Robert Koch, and others had identified disease--causing "germs," and
Joseph Lister introduced antiseptic practices that were eventually adopted by
hospitals. But mortality was also declining because of better personal
hygiene and public sanitation projects that removed garbage and sewage
from city streets and provided safer drinking water. Death rates for infectious
diseases began to fall well before vaccines and antibiotics were widely
available.
Infants and young children benefited most from this health revolution. In the
more developed countries, the infant mortality rate (IMR, number of deaths
to infants less than 1 year of age per 1,000 births) was about 200 in the
1800s--about two of every 10 babies died before their first birthday. In the
early 1900s, the IMR dropped below 100 in the United States and many
European countries and it was below 50 in nearly all these countries by the
1950s.
U.S. life expectancy at birth shot up to 56 years by 1920 and to 68 years by
1950. Average life expectancy was even higher in some European countries
by 1950.
Although birth rates had fallen during the latter part of the 19th century,
women still were having relatively large families in 1900. An American
woman had four to five children on average; a European woman had
somewhat fewer.4 Fertility decline quickened after 1900. The total fertility
rate (TFR, or average number of children a woman would have given
prevailing birth rates) would fall to about two children per woman in the
World Population Beyond Six Billion-- Part I
http://www.prb.org/pubs/bulletin/bu54-1/part1.htm (5 of 6) [3/28/2000 10:15:45 AM]
United States and even lower in Europe during the world economic crises of
the 1930s. As World War II broke out in 1939, the TFR rose. It reached 2.8
children per woman in the more developed countries by the early 1950s.5
During this same period, most of Africa, Asia, and Latin America were still in
the predemographic transition stage of high mortality and high fertility.
Around 1900, Mexico’s birth rate was 40 to 50 births annually per 1,000
population (roughly consistent with about six births during a woman’s
lifetime). But the country’s relatively high death rate kept the population
growth rate low (see Figure 2). The sharp peak in the death rate in the early
1900s is attributed to turmoil surrounding Mexico’s revolution.
Except during Mexico’s revolution, Mexico’s pattern of birth and death rates
in the 1900s is quite similar to Sweden’s during the late 18th century and
early 19th century. But the birth and death rates were much higher in Mexico
than they had been on the eve of Sweden’s demographic transition, and
Mexico’s pace of demographic change was markedly faster. In Sweden,
fertility and mortality declined gradually over 150 years. At no time did
Sweden’s rate of natural increase much exceed a modest 1 percent per
year. In contrast, Mexico’s growth rate rose from around 1 percent in the
early 1900s to 2.7 percent by 1950. The Mexican population nearly doubled,
from about 14 million to almost 28 million, in the same interval.6 With
declining mortality and high fertility, Mexico was poised for an explosion of
population growth. Mexico’s demographic history was echoed in many less
developed countries around the world and illustrates the origin of the rapid
population growth in the second half of the 20th century.
Return to Top l Table of Contents l Continue to Part II
1. Colin McEvedy and Richard Jones, Atlas of World Population (New York: Facts on File, 1978): 65;
William H. McNeil, Plagues and Peoples (New York: Anchor Books, Doubleday, 1976): 177-83; and
"The Black Death." Accessed online at http://www.geocities.com/~mohan_iyer/315.htm, on Jan. 8,
1999.
2. Edward A. Wrigley, Population and History (New York: McGraw-Hill Book Co., 1969): 62ff.
3. United Nations, Determinants and Consequences of Population Trends, Vol. I (New York: United
Nations, 1973): 110-25.
4. Ibid.: 64-72.
5. United Nations, World Population Prospects: The 1998 Revision, Vol. I (New York: United Nations,
1998): 514.
6. Francisco Alba-Hernandez, La poblacion de Mexico (Mexico City: El Colegio de Mexico, 1976): 6;
and United Nations, World Population Prospects: The 1998 Revision: 286.
© 1999 Population Reference Bureau
Copyright 1999 Population Reference Bureau. This text may not be reproduced or reprinted in any
form without the express written permission of the Population Reference Bureau. For information,
please call or write to Permissions, PRB, 1875 Connecticut Ave., NW, Suite 520, Washington, DC
20009; 202/483-1100. Or e-mail: popref@prb.org. See our copyright policy.
World Population Beyond Six Billion-- Part I
http://www.prb.org/pubs/bulletin/bu54-1/part1.htm (6 of 6) [3/28/2000 10:15:45 AM]
World Population Beyond Six Billion
Table of Contents
Introduction
Population Growth Before 1900
Population Change: 1900 to
1950
Population Change: 1950 to
2000
Causes and Effects of
Population Change
Population Prospects: 2000 to
2050
Perspectives and Responses to
Growth
A New Vision
Conclusion
Population Change: 1950 to 2000
Mortality, Fertility, and Natural Increase
Population Growth
20th-Century Migration
Urbanization
Changing Age Profiles
Box 1. Improving Health in Less Developed Countries
Box 2. The Reproductive Revolution
The second half of the century brought many new demographic trends and
patterns. The more developed countries completed their transition to low
mortality and low fertility. Population growth slowed and even turned
negative in a few countries. Populations grew older. The more developed
countries also experienced sometimes disruptive changes associated with
baby booms and baby busts, crises in health, and waves of immigrants and
refugees.
In less developed countries, the second half of the century brought decades
of rapid population growth and swelling streams of migrants from rural to
urban areas. Some countries appeared to be rushing through the various
stages of the demographic transition while others appeared to be following a
new path of demographic change.
Mortality, Fertility, and Natural Increase
In Europe, population growth accelerated as countries recovered from the
devastating effects of World War II. The rapid decline in death rates of the
early part of the century slowed considerably, in part because infant and
childhood mortality had already fallen to such low levels. By 1975, the IMR
was down to 10 in Japan, 16 in the United States, and 15 in much of Europe.
U.S. life expectancy rose by less than 10 years in the second half of the
century, from 68 years to 76 years, after increasing by more than 20 years
during the first half.7
Since 1950, the greatest gains in life expectancy at birth have been for adult
women. Lower fertility has contributed to this gain. Women had fewer
pregnancies, which lowered their risk of death from pregnancy or childbirth.
In more developed countries, average life expectancy for women rose from
69 years to 78 years between 1950 and 1995, while the average for men
rose from 64 years to 70 years.8 Life expectancy for men stagnated for
several decades in many developed countries before beginning to rise again
in the 1970s.
World Population Beyond Six Billion-- Part II
http://www.prb.org/pubs/bulletin/bu54-1/part2.htm (1 of 16) [3/28/2000 10:15:48 AM]
The growing gap between male and female life expectancy is one of the
remarkable features of the 20th-century mortality decline.9 In 1900, life
expectancy at birth was two to three years longer for women than for men in
most developed countries. Women had lower mortality than men, except
during the young adult ages when there was a high risk of death from
complications of pregnancy and childbirth. By the second half of the century,
maternal mortality had fallen and mortality from cancer and heart disease
was increasing faster for men than for women. The male-female gap in life
expectancy widened (see Table 2).
The post-1950 period also marks a stunning reversal in life expectancy in
Eastern Europe, especially in Russia. Male life expectancy began to slip
during the 1960s in Russia. After a temporary improvement attributed to
Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev’s anti-alcohol campaign in the early
1980s, life expectancy sank even faster during the late 1980s and early
1990s.10 Health conditions seriously deteriorated around the time of the
breakup of the Soviet Union in 1991. Between 1991 and 1994 Russian male
life expectancy at birth fell by six years to just under 58 years, and female life
expectancy at birth dropped by more than three years to an average of 71
years. Analysts disagree about what caused the drop, but many point to
inadequate health services, lack of prescription medicine, increased alcohol
abuse, and the long-term effects of smoking.11 In the late 1990s, however,
Russian life expectancy levels are increasing again.
After World War II, "baby booms" were commonplace in Europe, although
they were more modest than the baby boom that occurred in the United
World Population Beyond Six Billion-- Part II
http://www.prb.org/pubs/bulletin/bu54-1/part2.htm (2 of 16) [3/28/2000 10:15:48 AM]
States between 1946 and 1964. By the mid-1970s, however, TFRs in many
European countries had fallen below 2 children per woman, the level at
which a couple replaces itself in the population. A TFR must be slightly
above 2.0 (about 2.1 in low mortality countries) to reach replacement level
because some women will die before the end of their childbearing years.
When the TFR remains below 2 for a prolonged period, populations may
experience natural decrease because deaths will outnumber births.
European fertility had taken a previous nose dive during the 1930s Great
Depression, but in the mid-1980s TFRs sank to record low levels and
showed little sign of recovery. By the late 1990s, the TFR was 1.2 or less in
Belarus, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Italy, Latvia, and Spain.
The fertility decline began in Western Europe during a period that saw
delayed marriage, more divorce, high inflation, and an increase in the
percentage of women going to college and working outside the home. These
same social and economic factors favored lower fertility in the United States,
where the TFR reached an all-time low in 1976 at 1.7 children per woman.
Below-replacement fertility also hit Eastern Europe and the former Soviet
Union after 1990.
Two decades of low fertility have halted population growth in nearly all of
Europe and Japan. In many cases, a decline in population was avoided only
by the flow of immigrants from abroad. In the late 1990s, 14 European
countries are experiencing natural decrease, or fewer births than deaths
each year.
Natural decrease will spread to other countries as low birth rates drastically
reduce the number of people entering the childbearing ages. Although some
countries have a net population gain from immigration, this is not expected to
generate enough growth to stave off eventual population decline. As the 20th
century ends, not one major industrialized country has fertility above
replacement level.
Europe (including Russia and some other former Soviet republics), which
accounted for 22 percent of world population in 1950, accounts for just 12
percent in 2000. This percentage will continue to drop in the foreseeable
future. Among the more developed countries, only a few traditional
immigration countries (Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the United
States) can expect significant long-term population growth. These countries
have TFRs below replacement level (ranging from 1.6 in Canada to 2.0 in
the United States). They have younger age structures and more immigration
than Europe and Japan, however, which contributes to momentum for
continued growth.
Fertility and mortality patterns have been very different among less
developed countries in the past 50 years. Gains in life expectancy
accelerated after 1950. The average life expectancy at birth in less
developed countries rose from 41 years to 62 years between 1950 and 1995,
according to UN estimates. The IMR fell from 178 deaths per 1,000 births to
68 deaths per 1,000 births over the same period.
Average life expectancy rose above 60 years in East Asia and Latin America
by the early 1970s and to about 70 years by the late 1990s. The IMR fell to
about 29 in East Asia and 36 in Latin America by 1998 (see Box 1).
Progress has been much slower in sub-Saharan Africa and South Central
World Population Beyond Six Billion-- Part II
http://www.prb.org/pubs/bulletin/bu54-1/part2.htm (3 of 16) [3/28/2000 10:15:48 AM]
Asia. In the 1950s, about 180 infants died per 1,000 births in these regions.
By the 1990s, the IMR was still close to 100 in sub-Saharan Africa and was
nearly 80 in South Central Asia.
The pace of mortality decline in some areas has been slowed by the spread
of HIV/AIDS, and many experts predict dramatic declines in life expectancy
in some countries of sub-Saharan Africa.12 Worldwide, nearly 14 million
people have died from HIV/AIDS since the beginning of the epidemic in the
1980s. An additional 33 million are infected with the virus (see Table 3). Most
will die within the next decade.13 The UN agency that tracks the AIDS
epidemic, UNAIDS, estimates there are nearly 16,000 new infections
daily-and 1,600 are to children.14
Population Growth
The general reduction in death rates after 1950 led to explosive population
growth in many less developed countries. In Mexico, for example, the
introduction of modern medical services and public health interventions
(such as antibiotics, immunization, and sanitation) caused the death rate to
drop three times more quickly than it had in Sweden. The birth rate remained
high and the rate of natural increase shot to new highs. Growth rates
exceeded 3 percent per year in the 1960s and 1970s. For the less developed
countries as a whole, growth rates peaked during the 1960s and early 1970s
at about 2 percent annually. The population total for less developed
countries rose from 1.7 billion to 4.7 billion between 1950 and 1998.
Population growth would have been even higher if fertility rates had not
started to fall in less developed countries. The pattern and pace of decline
varied tremendously, depending on economic and social development,
government policies, family planning use, and other factors (see Box 2).
In 1950, the average TFR was about 6.2 in less developed countries, a
sharp contrast to the average TFR of 2.8 in more developed countries. In
less developed regions, the TFR ranged from 6.6 in Africa to 5.9 in Asia and
in Latin America and the Caribbean.
World Population Beyond Six Billion-- Part II
http://www.prb.org/pubs/bulletin/bu54-1/part2.htm (4 of 16) [3/28/2000 10:15:48 AM]
In the late 1990s, the TFR in Asia stands at about 2.8, more than 50 percent
below the 1950 level (see Figure 3). The TFR for Latin America and the
Caribbean is down to 3.0 from 5.9 in 1950. Fertility transition is still in the
early stages in most of Africa. In sub-Saharan Africa, the TFR is 6.0.
These regional averages mask a wide variety of patterns within regions.
Fertility decline has been the most dramatic in China and in South Korea,
Taiwan, and Thailand. These countries all had below-replacement fertility in
1998. When China (which is one-third of Asia’s population) is excluded,
Asia’s TFR jumps from 2.8 to 3.3.
In the rest of Asia, fertility decline has been mixed. In some countries, the
decrease has been marked by a leveling off after an initial decline (India),
very little or no decrease (Iraq, Pakistan, Yemen), or an abrupt decline after
a period of little change (Iran).
In India, Asia’s (and the world’s) second-largest country, periods of quickly
falling fertility have been followed by periods of stable fertility levels (see
Figure 4). The TFR was about 6.0 until 1966, fell to about 4.5 in the
mid-1970s, and remained at that level until the mid-1980s. Between 1985
and 1995, the TFR dropped again to about 3.4--but it is not clear whether
India’s TFR will drop further or whether it has entered another period of
stability.
World Population Beyond Six Billion-- Part II
http://www.prb.org/pubs/bulletin/bu54-1/part2.htm (5 of 16) [3/28/2000 10:15:48 AM]
Many countries of Latin America exhibit yet another pattern of fertility
decline. In Argentina, Colombia, Costa Rica, and Jamaica, TFRs declined to
between 2.5 and 3.0 and remained at those levels for at least a decade.
TFRs have fallen to these levels more recently in Brazil and Mexico, Latin
America’s two most populous countries. Brazil’s TFR fell from nearly 6.2 in
the 1960s to about 2.5 in the early 1990s. Mexico’s TFR declined from nearly
7.0 in 1960 to about 3.1 by 1996. Still, as the 20th century ends, fertility
remains above replacement level in nearly every Central and South
American country.
In much of Africa, the transition to lower fertility is just beginning. The largest
declines have taken place at the continent’s extremes, in North and Southern
Africa, where the TFR stands at 4.0 and 3.5 respectively in the late 1990s. In
the balance of the continent, the TFR has fallen below 5.0 only in Kenya,
which has a TFR of 4.5, and in Zimbabwe, which has a TFR of 4.4.
Elsewhere, change has been slower. The TFR is still above 6.0 in some of
the continent’s largest countries, including Nigeria and Zambia. Accordingly,
Africa’s future growth is subject to a wide range of speculation. Many
demographers see the beginnings of a transition to lower fertility in the
region, but they disagree about how fast and how far fertility will decline.
Africa’s widespread poverty, high rates of illiteracy, largely rural populations,
and strong traditional preferences for large families do not favor a rapid
decline.15
The course of demographic transition also is not clear in the Middle East,
which includes North Africa and parts of Western Asia. Fertility remains high
despite impressive declines in mortality, but the situation varies throughout
the region. Mortality fell fastest and furthest in the oil-producing Persian Gulf
states, thanks to improved public health, expanded education, and higher
World Population Beyond Six Billion-- Part II
http://www.prb.org/pubs/bulletin/bu54-1/part2.htm (6 of 16) [3/28/2000 10:15:48 AM]
incomes brought by oil revenues. But the traditional culture in these
countries favors large families, and fertility remained high. In contrast, Iran’s
TFR has plummeted in last decade-from about 6.7 in 1986 to 3.0 in 1996.
Fertility decline has proceeded more slowly in Egypt, the region’s largest
country. Egypt’s TFR is about 3.6 in 1998, down from around 5.0 in 1985
and around 7.0 in 1960. Elsewhere in the Middle East, TFRs range from
extremely high (7.3 in Yemen and 7.4 in Gaza) to low (2.3 in Lebanon).16
20th-Century Migration
Fertility and mortality determine the size, composition, and growth of the
world population. Migration is the third demographic variable that causes
population change.
Throughout human history, people have moved to escape poverty and
persecution and to improve their life chances and living standards. But
pulling up roots and moving away from friends and family is a difficult and
expensive process. People tend to move only when they think the higher
income and preferred lifestyle in their destination will be worth the social and
economic costs of moving. Migration can add to or subtract from the
population total, but it has less effect on total population growth than fertility
and mortality. Migration’s greatest demographic effect is on the distribution of
the population by age, sex, cultural, racial, and other characteristics in the
countries of origin and destination.
In the past century, the largest population movements have been from rural
areas to towns and cities. Other large population movements have crossed
national borders. Both types of migration flows tend to wax and wane
depending on economic, political, and environmental conditions.
Some people seek new opportunities in another country. They form part of a
pool of about 125 million international migrants (equivalent to the population
of Japan). Each year this pool, or stock, of international migrants is
augmented by the net immigration of 2 million people (the people moving
into another country minus the number moving out). Although the immigrant
population is large, international migration involves just 2 percent of the
world’s population and affects national population growth in relatively few
countries.17
International population movements have occurred in waves in response to
political, demographic, and economic factors. European and American
colonial expansion between the 17th and 19th centuries, for example,
brought an estimated 15 million African slaves to the Americas and millions
of indentured laborers from various countries to work on plantations in Asia
and the Pacific. This mix of voluntary and involuntary immigrants introduced
ethnic diversity to the Americas and other regions. The legacies of some of
these migration streams still exist today.18
The 20th century has witnessed many of history’s largest and most dramatic
population movements, both voluntary and involuntary. More than 18 million
people immigrated to the United States between 1900 and 1930, and
another 18 million between 1970 and 1997. This century also saw massive
relocations of people because of war and political changes. Several million
people (mostly Moslems) left India for the new Islamic country of Pakistan
after India’s independence in 1947; another large group left Pakistan for
India.
World Population Beyond Six Billion-- Part II
http://www.prb.org/pubs/bulletin/bu54-1/part2.htm (7 of 16) [3/28/2000 10:15:48 AM]
About one-half of international migrants move from one less developed
country to another-from Paraguay to Brazil, from Ghana to Cote d’Ivoire, or
from Myanmar to Thailand, for example. The infusion of money and rapid
economic development in the oil-producing countries of the Middle East
attracted millions of foreign workers to the Persian Gulf region in recent
decades. Egypt, South Korea, the Philippines, Thailand, and Pakistan were
the source of many of these labor migrants. Foreigners made up the majority
of the work force in many Persian Gulf states.
In Southeast Asia, migrants from Cambodia, Indonesia, and Myanmar seek
jobs in Singapore, Thailand, South Korea, and other newly industrialized
countries in Asia.
Migration flows from the less developed to the more developed countries
include the movement from South and Central America to North America,
from North Africa and the Middle East to Europe, and from Southern and
Eastern Europe to Western Europe. The flow from Asia to North America has
also accelerated. The United States has received about 1 million legal and
illegal immigrants per year in the 1990s, more than any other country. About
42 percent of U.S. immigrants are from Latin America and the Caribbean and
33 percent are from Asia.
Germany has received the second-largest influx of immigrants in the past
two decades. Thousands of ethnic Germans poured into Germany from
former Soviet countries, augmenting a heavy flow of labor migrants and their
families from Turkey and Eastern Europe.
Labor migrants send millions of dollars of their earnings back to families in
their home countries. Some migrant-sending countries, such as Egypt and
Cape Verde, derive a significant share of their national income from these
remittances. Many labor migrants, while not intending to settle abroad, find it
hard to return to an uncertain financial situation at home once they gain work
experience in another country. Eventually, other family members join them,
adding to the flow and increasing the immigrant community in the destination
country.
Economic and political events can cause swift reversals of migration
streams. Thousands of foreign workers left Kuwait and other Arab states
during the 1990-1991 Persian Gulf War, for example, but many returned
after the war.
The 20th century has also produced many examples of forced migration.
Wars and civil unrest in areas throughout the world drove millions of people
across national borders. The number of officially recognized refugees and
asylum-seekers living outside their home countries peaked at 17.6 million in
1992, and it stood at 13.6 million in 1998. Immigrants are considered
refugees or asylees if they can demonstrate that they left their home
countries to avoid persecution because of their political, religious, or ethnic
backgrounds.19 In 1998, an estimated 5.7 million refugees lived in the Middle
East, 2.9 million lived in Africa, and 2.0 million in Europe.
Refugees often return to their home countries, but many spend years, some
the rest of their lives, in another country. They are not always welcomed by
the host community, and some host governments may be reluctant or unable
to accept responsibility for their care. But governments are obligated to
accept refugees under international law and many willingly provide them a
safe haven.
World Population Beyond Six Billion-- Part II
http://www.prb.org/pubs/bulletin/bu54-1/part2.htm (8 of 16) [3/28/2000 10:15:48 AM]
All types of immigration can provoke strong public sentiment in the receiving
countries. Immigrants may not be accepted into the communities of
native-born populations. Migrants are often of different racial or ethnic
backgrounds and they may speak different languages, practice different
religions, and come from very different cultures. Migrants tend to rely on
each other for help, and accordingly, they often live in the same
neighborhoods and work in same occupations as other migrants from the
same country. The native population may view large immigrant communities
as a threat to their jobs and ethnic balance. Businesses, however, may rely
on foreign labor to produce goods and services. Policymakers are often
caught between the interests of the public and businesses while attempting
to maintain good relations with the sending countries. These competing
interests can lead to conflicting or ineffective immigration policies.
Urbanization
Most migrants never cross national borders. The largest migration flows
within countries have been from rural to urban areas. A major movement of
population from rural to urban areas began during the late 19th century,
when Europe and North America were industrializing, and when faster and
better communication made it easier for people to move. Cities had become
more attractive to rural migrants because economic development and trade
were centered in urban areas and cities offered better job opportunities,
amenities, and public services than villages and rural areas.
In 1850, about 11 percent of the residents in what are now considered
developed countries lived in urban areas. By 1900, this percentage had
grown to 26 percent, as the urban population grew more than three times
faster than the rural population.20 By 1950, more than one-half (55 percent)
of the residents of more developed countries lived in urban areas, and in the
late 1990s, three-fourths live in urban areas (see Figure 5).
In most of Asia, Africa, and Latin America, life was still centered in the
countryside for much of this century. There were large, thriving cities
throughout the less developed regions at the beginning of the 20th
World Population Beyond Six Billion-- Part II
http://www.prb.org/pubs/bulletin/bu54-1/part2.htm (9 of 16) [3/28/2000 10:15:48 AM]
century--Buenos Aires, Shanghai, Mumbai (Bombay), and Cairo, for
example--but only about 7 percent of the population of less developed
countries lived in urban areas in 1900.21
When these countries began to industrialize after World War II, more people
moved to the cities to take advantage of the new opportunities. These rural
migrants fostered industrial development by enlarging the urban labor pool,
as had their counterparts in Europe and the United States 75 years earlier.
The flow began slowly but soon expanded into an unprecedented wave,
helped along by improved communication and transportation networks.
Between 1950 and 1975, the urban populations of less developed countries
grew at 4 percent annually, much faster than in the more developed
countries. The urban population more than doubled over that period and the
percentage of residents living in urban areas in less developed countries
rose from 18 percent to 27 percent. About 60 percent of the urban population
growth came from natural increase; 40 percent from migration.
The urban growth rate slowed after 1975, but the percentage urban keeps
expanding and is expected to reach 41 percent by 2000. By 2005, one-half
of the world’s population is projected to live in urban areas.
Urban settlement patterns changed during the century. In the early 1900s, a
few dominant "primate" cities--Mexico City, Lagos, and Calcutta, for
example--characterized the urban landscape in each region. In the past 25
years, however, urban growth has been much more diverse. Since 1975,
cities with fewer than 1 million inhabitants have grown faster than the large
cities of 1 million or more.
The population shift from rural to urban areas also stimulates other
demographic change. Urban residents usually have higher educational
levels, lower fertility, higher incomes, better health, and longer lives than
rural residents. Thus, urbanization appears to accelerate the demographic
transition to lower mortality and fertility.
Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS) in Bolivia and Cameroon in 1998
highlight these urban-rural differences. In Bolivia, rural women had 6.4
children on average, while urban women had an average of just 3.3 children.
In Cameroon, rural women had 5.8 children, compared with 3.9 children for
urban women.
Cities offer many amenities and economies of scale that lower the costs of
providing public services. The geographic concentration of population in
urban areas can also allow natural areas to be protected from development.
But the unprecedented population growth in urban areas in the past 50 years
has strained the capacity of many less developed countries to provide basic
services for all but the most privileged residents.22
Changing Age Profiles
Fertility, mortality, and migration trends are reflected in the age and sex
profiles of the world’s countries. The decades of high fertility rates in the less
developed countries meant ever- increasing numbers of young people,
illustrated by the broad base of the age-sex pyramid shown in Figure 6.
Improvements in infant mortality also contributed to the expanding youth
population. Children under age 15 made up one-third of the population in the
less developed countries in 1998, and even greater proportions in some
regions. In sub-Saharan Africa, children made up nearly one-half (45
World Population Beyond Six Billion-- Part II
http://www.prb.org/pubs/bulletin/bu54-1/part2.htm (10 of 16) [3/28/2000 10:15:48 AM]
percent) of the population. Elderly people ages 65 or older are only 5 percent
of the population in all less developed countries and 3 percent of the
population in sub-Saharan Africa.
The base of the population pyramid for less developed countries shows
some narrowing-the result of declining fertility in many countries beginning in
the 1980s. But even with declining fertility rates, the young age structure
creates considerable momentum for future growth because the population
reaching childbearing ages continues to expand. Women have fewer
children than women did in the past, but today there are more women having
these children.
The fertility transition in the more developed countries earlier this century
produced a very different age and sex profile. In 1900, the age and sex
structure of these countries looked similar to that of the less developed
countries today. In 1998, the profile is different in each country, but in the
aggregate, each generation born in more developed countries since 1965 is
smaller than the one that preceded it. In the late 1990s, the share of older
people is approaching the share of children in more developed countries.
The under-15 age group makes up about 19 percent of the population in
these countries, while those ages 65 or older make up about 14 percent.
Changes in the age structure also alter the "dependency" burden-that is, the
share of the population that is likely to require financial support from the
working-age population. Age dependency is measured by the ratio of those
under age 15 or ages 65 and older to those ages 15 to 64. When fertility is
high, the proportion of children in a population also tends to be high, and so
are dependency ratios. The dependency ratio in 1998 was estimated at 93 in
sub-Saharan Africa-there were 93 people less than age 15 or ages 65 and
older per 100 people ages 15 to 64. But when fertility begins to fall, the
dependency ratio also falls because the working-age population becomes a
larger share of the total. The dependency ratio was 47 in East Asia, where
fertility has fallen rapidly and substantially. In the later stages of transition,
the ratio rises again as the elderly gain a larger proportion of the population.
The ratio is about the same in Western Europe (49) as in East Asia, but the
retirement-age component is much larger in Western Europe.
The improvements in health and medical care for the elderly have extended
the life expectancy for those ages 65 and older and increased the
percentage of the oldest old--those ages 80 and older. In 1996, American
men who survived to age 65 could expect to live another 16 years on
average; American women who were age 65 could expect to live another 19
years.23 Because women live longer than men, women are a majority of the
elderly in every country. The female share increases with age. There were
81 men per 100 women ages 65 to 69 in more developed countries in 1998,
but only 50 men per 100 women ages 80 to 84, and just 20 men per 100
women ages 100 or older.
Although mortality and migration affect a population’s age and sex profile,
fertility has the largest influence. And fertility will have the greatest effect on
the pace and level of future population growth in most societies. The factors
that affect these demographic variables drive population change.
Return to Top l Table of Contents l Continue to Part III
World Population Beyond Six Billion-- Part II
http://www.prb.org/pubs/bulletin/bu54-1/part2.htm (11 of 16) [3/28/2000 10:15:48 AM]
BOX 1
Improving Health in Less Developed Countries
The remarkable improvements in life expectancy at birth since the
1950s primarily reflect better infant and child survival. One major
contributor to the decline was a massive worldwide immunization
program for children. In 1973, the World Health Organization
initiated the Expanded Programme on Immunization (EPI) against
six diseases that claimed millions of young lives: tuberculosis,
measles, diphtheria, whooping cough, tetanus, and polio. In 1981,
only about 20 percent of the world’s children were immunized
against these six diseases. By 1995, 80 percent were immunized
against them.1 Measles and other infectious diseases are still
leading causes of child mortality, but epidemics of these diseases
are less frequent and less deadly. Polio has be-come rare. Children
are much more likely to live to adulthood.2
Another advancement in child health came through the use of a
low-cost, low-technology intervention-oral rehydration therapy
(ORT)-to control life-threatening cases of diarrhea. Diarrhea is a
leading cause of infant and child mortality in the less developed
regions. Again, international agencies coordinated efforts to train
health workers around the world about ORT, which involves
administering essential salts dissolved in water.3 ORT use was
negligible in 1980, but it was used in about 80 percent of diarrheal
episodes by the 1990s.4 Diarrhea still accounts for about 2 million
deaths to children under age 5 each year, but ORT has prevented
millions of additional deaths from this cause.5
The HIV/AIDS epidemic presents new challenges to child health.
HIV-infected mothers can transmit the virus to their infants during
pregnancy, at the time of delivery, or while breastfeeding their
infants. One infant in every three born to an HIV-positive mother is
likely to acquire the virus. Sub-Saharan Africa has been hardest hit
by the epidemic-the UN estimates that 90 percent of the children
now infected with HIV were born in Africa-but the number of
affected children in India and Southeast Asia is rising as well. In
parts of the world most affected by the epidemic, child mortality
rates may double by 2010, reversing hard-won improvements in
child survival brought by immunization and public health
campaigns.
References
1. World Health Organization, The World Health Report 1998: Life in the 21st Century
(Geneva: World Health Organization, 1998).
2. UNICEF, Progress of Nations (New York: United Nations Children’s Fund, 1997).
3. World Health Organization, World Health Report 1998: 66.
4. UNICEF, Progress of Nations.
5. UNICEF, The State of the World’s Children 1998 (New York: Oxford University Press,
1998): 64-65.
Return to Top l Table of Contents l Continue to Part III
World Population Beyond Six Billion-- Part II
http://www.prb.org/pubs/bulletin/bu54-1/part2.htm (12 of 16) [3/28/2000 10:15:49 AM]
BOX 2
The Reproductive Revolution
The "reproductive revolution" has been one of the most remarkable
events of the second half of the 20th century. The development of
family planning methods such as the pill and the IUD, simpler
sterilization techniques, and contraceptives that can be injected or
implanted under the skin, made it easier and safer for women to
avoid unintended pregnancies. Increased access to these methods
and socioeconomic changes that motivated couples to limit their
family size drove the fertility declines of the last few decades.
Family planning use rose from less than 10 percent of married
women of childbearing age in the 1960s to about 50 percent of
these women in the 1990s.
Before 1960, women’s choices of family planning methods were
limited to such methods as withdrawal, rhythm, diaphragms, foams
or jellies, or such ineffective methods as herbal medicines or
douche. Women’s options improved immensely when the pill and
the modern IUD became available after 1960. In the 1990s, about
20 percent of women worldwide rely one of these two methods.
New contraceptives, including injectables and implants, became
available in many countries in the 1980s. They have become
popular methods in some African countries. Female sterilization has
been widely adopted in Asia and Latin America and is the most
popular single method worldwide. An estimated 17 percent of
married women ages 15 to 49 rely on female sterilization to prevent
pregnancy.
The dramatic increase in family planning use caused fertility to
decline much more rapidly in the less developed countries than it
had during the fertility transition in the more developed countries.
Organized family planning programs and government promotion of
family planning use were an important component of this
phenomenon. Some demographers credit family planning programs
with 40 percent to 50 percent of the fertility decline in less
developed countries since the 1960s.1
An estimated 120 million couples worldwide want to delay or
prevent another pregnancy but are not using family planning.2 If
unmarried sexually active women were included, the number would
be much higher, according to survey data.3
Family planning use varies widely around the world. Less than 10
percent of women use family planning in Mali, for example, and less
than 20 percent in Pakistan (see table). But more than 60 percent of
married women use family planning in Brazil, Mexico, Thailand, and
many other less developed countries.
World Population Beyond Six Billion-- Part II
http://www.prb.org/pubs/bulletin/bu54-1/part2.htm (13 of 16) [3/28/2000 10:15:49 AM]
The expansion of family planning services has been controversial in
some countries. And there have been a number of obstacles to their
use. Many women report that they fear adverse health effects from
specific methods.4 Others want to practice family planning but are
dissuaded by their husband’s disapproval, their limited
decisionmaking powers, or family pressures to have more children.
Some methods are opposed for religious reasons. Difficulties in
obtaining and transporting supplies and a shortage of trained
medical personnel have also restricted access to family planning
services.
Political and cultural barriers have limited access to family planning,
especially for young people. In some countries, unmarried
adolescents are denied access to family planning services on the
assumption that such access would promote promiscuity. Yet about
40 percent of girls in less developed countries give birth before age
20. The pace of fertility decline in Africa, South Asia, and other high
fertility regions will be affected by whether young couples delay
their first birth until they are in their 20s. This delay lengthens the
interval between generations and lowers average fertility. Health
analysts estimate that if all women delayed their first birth until after
age 20, at least 25 percent of pregnancy-related deaths would be
prevented. In many countries, children born to mothers under age
20 are 1.5 times more likely to die before their first birthdays than
children born to mothers in their 20s.5
A majority of less developed countries provide family planning
services. In many countries, family planning methods also are
widely available in pharmacies and private health clinics. Not all
World Population Beyond Six Billion-- Part II
http://www.prb.org/pubs/bulletin/bu54-1/part2.htm (14 of 16) [3/28/2000 10:15:49 AM]
women have easy access to family planning, but the expansion in
the choices of methods and availability of services around the world
over the past 40 years has been truly revolutionary.
References
1. John Bongaarts, "The Role of Family Planning Programs in Contemporary Fertility
Transitions," Working Paper No. 71 (New York: The Population Council, 1995): 23-24.
2. Eric R. Miller, Barbara Shane, and Elaine Murphy, Contraceptive Safety: Rumors and
Realities, 2d ed. (Washington, DC: Population Reference Bureau, 1999).
3. Barbara Shane, Family Planning Saves Lives (Washington, DC: Population Reference
Bureau, 1997).
4. Miller, Shane, and Murphy, Contraceptive Safety.
5. Shane, Family Planning Saves Lives.
Return to Top l Table of Contents l Continue to Part III
7. U.S. Bureau of the Census, Historical Statistics of the United States: Colonial Times to 1970, Part I
(Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Commerce, 1975): table B-107-115; and Carl Haub and Diana
Cornelius, 1998 World Population Data Sheet (Washington, DC: Population Reference Bureau, 1998).
8. United Nations, World Population Prospects: The 1998 Revision: 546.
9. Alan D. Lopez, "Morbidity and Mortality, Changing Patterns in the Twentieth Century," Encyclopedia
of Biostatistics, Vol. IV, eds. Peter Armitage and Theodore Colton (New York: John Wiley & Sons,
1998): 2692-94; and U.S. Bureau of the Census, An Aging World II, International Program Reports
P95-92-3, by Kevin Kinsella and Cynthia M. Taeuber (Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing
Office, 1993): 21-22.
10. Lopez, "Morbidity and Mortality."
11. Jose Louis Bobadilla and Christine A. Costello, "Overview," in Premature Death in the New
Independent States, eds. Jose Louis Bobadilla, Christine A. Costello, and Faith Mitchell (Washington,
DC: National Academy of Sciences,1997): 1-31.
12. See Thomas J. Goliber, "Population and Reproductive Health in Sub-Saharan Africa," Population
Bulletin 52, no. 4 (Washington, DC: Population Reference Bureau, 1997).
13. UNAIDS and World Health Organization, Report on the Global HIV/AIDS Epidemic (Geneva:
United Nations, June 1998): 7.
World Population Beyond Six Billion-- Part II
http://www.prb.org/pubs/bulletin/bu54-1/part2.htm (15 of 16) [3/28/2000 10:15:49 AM]
14. Ibid.
15. John C. Caldwell and Pat Caldwell, "The Cultural Context of High Fertility in Sub-Saharan Africa,"
Population and Development Review 13, no. 3 (September 1987): 409-37; and Helen Ware, "Thoughts
on the Course of Fertility Transition in Sub-Saharan Africa," in The Onset of Fertility Transition in
Sub-Saharan Africa, eds. Therese Locoh and Veronique Hertich (Liege, Belgium: Derouaux Ordina
Editions, 1994).
16. Haub and Cornelius, 1998 World Population Data Sheet; Abdel R. Omran and Farzaneh Roudi,
"The Middle East Population Puzzle," Population Bulletin 48, no. 1 (Washington, DC: Population
Reference Bureau, 1993); and United Nations, World Population Prospects: The 1998 Revision.
17. Hania Zlotnik, "International Migration 1965-96: An Overview," Population and Development
Review 24, no. 3 (September 1998): 429-68.
18. Stephen Castles and Mark J. Miller, The Age of Migration, 2d ed. (New York: Guilford Press,
1998): 48-54.
19. The two major sources of refugee statistics are the UN High Commissioner for Refugees and the
U.S. Committee for Refugees. See U.S. Committee for Refugees, World Refugee Survey 1998
(Washington, DC: Immigration and Refugee Services of America, 1998): 3-5.
20. Urban, as defined by most countries, refers to relatively small population concentrations, such as
2,000 inhabitants or more. The definition varies considerably from country to country. See Martin
Brockerhoff and Ellen Brennan, "The Poverty of Cities in Developing Regions," Population and
Development Review 24, no. 1 (March 1998): 75-114.
21. United Nations, Patterns of Urban and Rural Population Growth (New York: United Nations, 1980):
table 3.
22. Brockerhoff and Brennan, "The Poverty of Cities."
23. U.S. Bureau of the Census, Statistical Abstract of the United States 1998, 118th ed. (Washington,
DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1998): 94.
© 1999 Population Reference Bureau
Copyright 1999 Population Reference Bureau. This text may not be reproduced or reprinted in any
form without the express written permission of the Population Reference Bureau. For information,
please call or write to Permissions, PRB, 1875 Connecticut Ave., NW, Suite 520, Washington, DC
20009; 202/483-1100. Or e-mail: popref@prb.org. See our copyright policy.
World Population Beyond Six Billion-- Part II
http://www.prb.org/pubs/bulletin/bu54-1/part2.htm (16 of 16) [3/28/2000 10:15:49 AM]
World Population Beyond Six Billion
Table of Contents
Introduction
Population Growth Before 1900
Population Change: 1900 to
1950
Population Change: 1950 to
2000
Causes and Effects of
Population Change
Population Prospects: 2000 to
2050
Perspectives and Responses to
Growth
A New Vision
Conclusion
Causes and Effects of Population Change
Education
Economic Development and Environment
Box 3. Sources of Data
Box 4. Changing Marriage Patterns in the Arab Region
Box 5. Measuring Population, Development, and Environment
Relationships
The demographic processes of fertility, mortality, and migration--which
determine our future population--are influenced by biological, cultural,
economic, geographic, political, and social factors. These factors affect
demographic processes directly and indirectly through a web of
interdependent variables. Cultural traditions that encourage girls to
marry at a young age, for example, can contribute to high fertility rates
because women will spend more years exposed to the risk of becoming
pregnant. Early marriage can also lead to higher mortality because
health risks to the infant and mother are greater when childbearing starts
in adolescence.
With mounting information from vital records, surveys, and censuses,
demographers are learning a great deal about how and why fertility
changes (see Box 3). In the 1980s, demographer John Bongaarts
identified four variables that account for most differences in fertility rates.
These four "proximate determinants" of fertility are: (1) the proportion of
women married or in a sexual union; (2) the percent of women using
contraception; (3) the proportion of women who cannot conceive a
pregnancy, especially during the infertile period following childbirth
(postpartum infecundity); and (4) the level of abortion.24
The importance of each proximate determinant depends on cultural,
economic, health, and social factors within a population. The proportion
of women in a sexual union is partly determined, for example, by the age
at marriage, the proportion of women who never marry, and levels of
divorce. Cultural mores about sexual activity and childbearing outside
marriage also play a role.
In societies where women marry young, and where nearly all
childbearing takes place within marriage, changes in the age at marriage
can significantly affect fertility. In the Arab countries of the Middle East,
for example, an increase in the average marriage age for women led to
significant fertility declines in some countries (see Box 4).
The length of postpartum infecundity usually depends on how long
World Population Beyond Six Billion-- Part III
http://www.prb.org/pubs/bulletin/bu54-1/part3.htm (1 of 14) [3/28/2000 10:15:51 AM]
women breastfeed their babies. Breastfeeding releases hormones in the
nursing mother that can prevent her from becoming pregnant.
Postpartum infecundity is not a significant factor in such countries as the
United States, where women usually breastfeed their babies only for a
few months, but it is important in sub-Saharan Africa and other
traditional societies where women commonly breastfeed their babies for
two years. In most populations, contraceptive use and abortion are the
primary determinants of fertility levels.
Education and poverty are among the most important influences on the
proximate determinants and consequently have a strong indirect effect
on fertility. Low levels of education and poverty go hand in hand, and
they are related to health and to levels of economic development,
urbanization, and environmental conditions.
Education
Education affects all aspects of people’s lives and is intricately linked to
demographic processes. Although researchers cannot untangle all the
reasons why, education is associated with lower fertility and mortality
and with a greater likelihood of migrating. A formal education may act as
a catalyst for changes in values and behavior. Education may make
people more receptive to new ideas--such as family planning-and more
willing to take risks--such as moving to a new community or taking a job
outside the home. Social scientists point out that education does not
have the same effect in all cultural settings, and that many other
factors-such as women’s status-may explain much of the association.25
More educated women have higher rates of family planning use, smaller
families, and healthier children than other women in the same society.
Where educational levels are high, women are likely to postpone
marriage until they finish secondary school or college. In these societies,
school attendance directly competes with marriage. But even in societies
with low levels of educational attainment, where girls are likely to leave
school well before the average age at marriage, women who have
completed a few years of schooling marry later than women with no
formal education. In 1996, the median age at first marriage was 19.5
years for Tanzanian women ages 20 to 49 who had at least a primary
level education. The median was 17.1 years for Tanzanian women with
no education.
Married women are more likely to use family planning if they have some
formal education. A 1998 survey in the Philippines showed a
contraceptive use rate of 50 percent for married women of reproductive
age who had at least some secondary education. Only 15 percent of
their counterparts with no formal education used a contraceptive
method.26
In most societies, total family size also declines as education increases.
In the early 1990s, Peruvian women with at least some secondary
education had nearly four fewer children, on average, than women with
no formal education. A similar gap was recorded in a 1998 survey in
Togo, West Africa. Togolese women with a secondary or higher
education had 2.7 children on average, while women with no education
had an average of 6.5 children.
Education usually expands employment options, and educated women
World Population Beyond Six Billion-- Part III
http://www.prb.org/pubs/bulletin/bu54-1/part3.htm (2 of 14) [3/28/2000 10:15:51 AM]
may delay marriage and childbearing to earn income. And school may
introduce young women to new ideas or values that could influence the
number of children they want and their use of family planning.27
Women’s education is also associated with better child health. Education
promotes better health, even after accounting for differences in wealth or
living standards. Educated women may have higher status within their
families and communities than women with no education, and their
higher status makes them more effective at negotiating for better care for
their children within their families and within the health care system.28
Women with some formal education are more likely to obtain care during
pregnancy, to immunize their children, and to take appropriate action
when a child becomes ill.
Education may also promote better child health indirectly because
children of mothers with some education have fewer risk factors for
infant mortality. Infants are at a higher risk of dying if they are born to
adolescents or to mothers over age 40, if they are born into large
families, or if they are born less than two years after an older sibling.29
By delaying marriage and childbearing, education reduces high-risk
births to teenage mothers. In Peru, for example, 60 percent of women
ages 20 to 29 who completed less than seven years of education had a
baby by age 20, while only 17 percent of those with seven or more years
of education had a baby by age 20. The gap was less pronounced in
Kenya, but even more stark in Egypt in the early 1990s (see Figure 7).
Women who have completed some formal education tend to wait longer
between pregnancies and births and to stop childbearing at a younger
age than less-educated women. Consequently, they have smaller
families and have fewer births after age 40.
In most societies, children of mothers with some education have a lower
risk of dying than children whose mothers had no education. In Zambia,
the IMR was 133 for the children of mothers with no education, while it
World Population Beyond Six Billion-- Part III
http://www.prb.org/pubs/bulletin/bu54-1/part3.htm (3 of 14) [3/28/2000 10:15:51 AM]
was 82 for children of women with a secondary or higher education (see
Figure 8). The difference is less pronounced in some countries, but
education nearly always has a "protective" effect on child health.
The 20th century has brought enormous improvements in literacy and
educational levels. The recent improvements in literacy rates reflect the
expansion of educational services throughout the world. The United
Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)
reports that 77 percent of people over age 15 were literate in 1995,
compared with only 56 percent in the 1950s. Basic literacy is nearly
universal among populations of Europe, North America, and other
industrialized regions, but the range is substantial throughout the rest of
the world. In 1995, an estimated 50 percent of the populations of South
Asia were literate, as were 57 percent of the populations in sub-Saharan
Africa and the Middle Eastern Arab states. More than 83 percent of the
populations are literate in East Asia and Latin America and the
Caribbean.
Trends in Education
Increasing school enrollment has been a major goal articulated in
international conferences and national agendas and by
nongovernmental organizations. Nearly all boys and girls in more
developed regions attend secondary school, but the situation is mixed in
the rest of the world. In less developed countries, enrollment rates drop
between primary and secondary school, and they fall more quickly for
girls than for boys. Overall, average school enrollments have been
rising. In 1980, 42 percent of boys and 28 percent of girls of secondary
school age in less developed countries were enrolled in secondary
school. By 1996, 55 percent of boys and 45 percent of girls were
enrolled in secondary school in less developed countries. Within regions,
enrollment levels reflect socioeconomic development as well as cultural
World Population Beyond Six Billion-- Part III
http://www.prb.org/pubs/bulletin/bu54-1/part3.htm (4 of 14) [3/28/2000 10:15:51 AM]
values about the role of women. In Southern Africa (where 86 percent of
the population resides in the country of South Africa), 73 percent of boys
and 87 percent of girls are enrolled in secondary school, compared with
only 30 percent of boys and 18 percent of girls in Middle Africa.30
Rapid population growth in some countries is undermining improvements
in educational attainment. In the sub-Saharan African countries of
Angola, Benin, and Togo, for example, economic difficulties and
burgeoning numbers of young people have caused school enrollment
ratios to level or fall in the 1980s and 1990s.31 In the mid-1990s, about
67 percent of girls and 81 percent of boys in sub-Saharan Africa were
enrolled in primary school, according to UNESCO estimates.
Economic Development and Environment
In most societies, poor families have higher mortality and fertility than
affluent families. Some of the association between poverty and
population reflects the lower educational levels and rural residence of
poor households. But the relationship among demographic variables,
poverty, and affluence is highly complex--and it is tied to the broader
question of how population size and the pace of population growth are
linked to economic development. The issue is further complicated by
nagging questions about whether economic growth and human activity
are causing irreversible damage to the natural environment.
The research into these questions has yielded contradictory results. The
extremes of these differences are characterized by two opposing camps:
"pessimists" and "cornucopians."32
The theoretical foundation of the pessimist view can be found in the
writings of the economist Thomas Malthus, published in 1798. Malthus
suggested that the potential population size is limited by the amount of
crop land--and therefore food--available for human consumption.
Malthus assumed (based on his observations of 18th-century English
society) that if population growth continued unchecked, population would
outstrip the food available and cause widespread famine and death. He
also described a natural feedback mechanism: When the population
grew too large for the available food supply, elevated mortality would
reduce the population to the level that could be sustained by the amount
of food produced.33
A neo-Malthusian view of the relationship between population, economic
growth, and resources gained credence between the 1940s and the
1960s, a period of unprecedented population growth and economic
development. In a landmark study in the 1950s, Ansley Coale and Edgar
Hoover found that population growth slowed economic development and
held down per capita incomes.34
Coale and Hoover pointed out that the young age structure created by
rapid population growth required substantial investments in education
and health care. These social expenditures diverted funds that, for
example, might have built new factories that could generate income and
trade.
These researchers also assumed that the supply of some natural
resources and capital was fixed, or that supply would grow more slowly
than population. The amount of petroleum or education funds available
World Population Beyond Six Billion-- Part III
http://www.prb.org/pubs/bulletin/bu54-1/part3.htm (5 of 14) [3/28/2000 10:15:51 AM]
for each person, for example, dwindled as population numbers grew.
Other researchers in this period expanded the idea that rapid population
growth would eventually bump up against some absolute limit on
resources. They examined the damage to the natural environment from
human activities (air pollution from factories and automobiles, for
example, and water pollution and land degradation from lumbering,
mining, and industry). Many concluded that continued population growth
accompanied by the environmental stresses associated with economic
development could cause irreversible damage to the basic natural
systems that sustain life. These concerns were popularized by such
books as The Population Bomb (1968) by Paul Ehrlich and The Limits to
Growth (1972) by Donella Meadows and colleagues.
Other researchers rejected this neo-Mathusian viewpoint. They saw
population growth as a positive influence on economic development, and
held that human ingenuity would create the technology to overcome any
environmental constraints to development. The ideological basis of this
"cornucopian" approach owes much to the writings of Ester Boserup in
the 1960s and 1970s. Boserup argued that the need for more food,
coupled with the synergy created by the concentration of intellects and
flow of ideas in dense settlements, can stimulate, for example, the
adoption of better farming techniques or the sharing of higher-yield plant
varieties.35
Economist Julian Simon, in The Ultimate Resource (1977) and other
writings, also rejected the idea that population growth was a threat to the
welfare of humans or the environment. He suggested that, although
population growth might have negative consequences in the short run, it
was beneficial in the long run.36
The scientific evidence about the effects of population size and growth
on economic development was still inconclusive in the 1980s, according
to a major study published in 1986 by the U.S. National Research
Council.37 The study left open the possibility that population did have an
effect on development, but the research methods and models available
could not measure it conclusively. Measuring the impact of population on
the economy during these years was complicated by such external
factors as economic cycles and the worldwide inflation generated by the
sudden escalation of petroleum prices in the 1970s. And a review of
research on population and economic development published in 1994
found that "the clearest evidence of negative effects of population growth
under high fertility are at the individual and household levels," but
considered the evidence less clear at national or regional levels.38
In the late 1990s, however, several new studies provided a clearer
picture of the relationship between population and development at the
national level and the links between poverty and demographic factors at
the household level. Researchers could draw on long-term data from
more countries and were developing more sophisticated econometric
models.39
Several new studies suggest that a rapid transition from high to low
fertility contributed to the economic miracles in South Korea and other
East Asia countries.40 The rapid fertility decline increased the share of
working-age people in the population, which created a "demographic
World Population Beyond Six Billion-- Part III
http://www.prb.org/pubs/bulletin/bu54-1/part3.htm (6 of 14) [3/28/2000 10:15:51 AM]
bonus." The working-age population adds more to the economy than it
consumes in services and generates taxes and savings that can be
invested in education and further economic growth. This demographic
bonus may last several decades; it recedes as the bulge of working-age
men and women reach retirement age and the dependency ratio rises
again.
The research shows that countries can benefit from this bonus only if
they increase the value of their human capital--especially the youth
entering the labor force--through education, and if governments adopt
policies favoring international trade and industrialization. The newly
industrializing Asian countries capitalized on their demographic bonus by
making these investments. They "raised millions of people from abject
poverty and transformed some of the poorest economies in the world to
some of the richest."41
East Asia’s experience might or might not be repeated in Africa or South
Asia, but it offers important examples of how population change and
government policies are linked to economic development.
Other recent research models attempt to measure the relationship
between population change, economic development, and environmental
systems (see Box 5). Such models have been plagued by the complexity
of the relationships and the difficulty of measuring such factors as
environmental quality.
Poverty and Population
The links between poverty, population growth, and environmental
problems are more obvious at the household level-although once again
they are intertwined with other factors, including educational levels, the
status of women, and job opportunities.
Poverty is often accompanied by illiteracy, poor nutrition and health, low
status of women, and exposure to environmental hazards. Poverty and a
lack of economic opportunities can lead people to exploit marginal
resources by overgrazing land or overharvesting forests--creating a
repeating cycle of environmental deterioration.
Poverty is associated with a host of health risks and problems. Families
in poverty live with inadequate sanitation, unsafe drinking water, air
pollution, and crowding. Such an environment often leads to frequent
cases of diarrhea and of pneumonia and other acute respiratory
infections, two leading causes of child mortality in less developed
countries. Recurrent bouts of disease lead to poorer nutritional status
and leave a child more susceptible to other infections.
In less developed countries, poverty is often widespread among rural
populations that rely on the land for their sustenance and income. The
lack of good transportation and communication networks in the rural
areas of less developed countries limits access to health care, schools,
and jobs, and makes it hard for poor families to improve their situations.
Poverty has been a "push factor" encouraging migration from rural to
urban areas.
Although cities offer more income opportunities, many rural migrants
cannot find jobs or housing after they arrive. In some cities, rural
World Population Beyond Six Billion-- Part III
http://www.prb.org/pubs/bulletin/bu54-1/part3.htm (7 of 14) [3/28/2000 10:15:51 AM]
residents move into makeshift shelters in urban slums that have few
public services. A 1996 international conference on human settlements
highlighted poverty as the most pressing problem facing the world’s
cities. The UN Center for Human Settlements estimates that 600 million
poor urban residents in the less developed world live in life- and
health-threatening conditions because of inadequate sanitation and
housing.
Economic growth has slowed in many world regions in the late 1990s,
which makes it harder to meet the needs of urban residents. The new
century could bring more prosperity, but some experts foresee an era of
social unrest fostered by a growing gap between the rich and poor in the
world’s cities.42
Health experts warn that dense population concentrations in cities and
lack of public services for the poor create prime opportunities for the
spread of disease.43 Inadequate public health services were implicated
in an outbreak of bubonic plague in Surat, India, in 1994, for example. A
recent study found that infant mortality was nearly as high in cities as it
was in small towns and rural areas of Latin America and North Africa,
reversing a long-standing pattern of declining mortality in urban areas.44
Poverty is clearly linked to fertility levels. Throughout the world, women
from low-income families have more children than women from wealthier
families in the same society. Women from low-income households also
have less access to family planning and other health services that might
allow them to have fewer and healthier children.
Declining poverty in conjunction with economic development tends to
favor declining fertility. South Korea’s TFR fell from 6 to 2 between 1960
and 1985, for example, and it has been below 2 at least since 1987.45
The dramatic fertility decline coincided with the investments in education
and economic development.
Other factors--including stiffer competition for jobs, housing shortages,
and government efforts to lower birth rates--also encourage fertility
decline in industrializing countries.
The number of children couples want to have tends to decrease as
incomes increase. Sociologists note that when a society’s income and
living standards are rising, parents’ aspirations for their children also
rise. Parents often opt to have just a few children so they will have more
to invest in each child and to ensure that child has a comfortable life and
bright prospects for the future.
The relatively high cost of education has been cited as a crucial reason
for couples to limit their childbearing. Education is viewed as the ticket to
a coveted white collar job in Kenya, as it is in many parts of Africa. In the
1980s, a number of Kenyan parents chose to have fewer children so
they could afford to send more of their children to school.46
Bangladesh, one of the world’s poorest countries, provides evidence that
fertility can decline even in the midst of endemic poverty. Bangladesh
had an annual per capita income of less than US $300 in 1996; about 44
percent of the population lives in poverty. At least half of all children
suffer from moderate to severe malnutrition and three-fourths of adult
women are illiterate. Women hold a low status in society and rarely work
World Population Beyond Six Billion-- Part III
http://www.prb.org/pubs/bulletin/bu54-1/part3.htm (8 of 14) [3/28/2000 10:15:51 AM]
outside the home. Yet fertility has declined in Bangladesh--from 7.0
births per woman in 1975 to about 3.3 births per woman in the late
1990s.47 Bangladesh’s fertility is now well below that of Pakistan,
another South Asian Moslem country, where the TFR was about 5.6 in
1998.
Many of the stresses of rapid population growth are exacerbated by
poverty and inequality. The inter-national community has made the
eradication of poverty a primary goal to improve child and maternal
health, ease the problems of rapid urbanization, and ensure adequate
nutrition.48
Return to Top l Table of Contents l Continue to Part IV
BOX 3
Sources of Data
Our knowledge of population characteristics and trends has
expanded during the past 25 years. Most of this improvement
reflects the growing availability of more and better data from
surveys and censuses in less developed countries.
Demographic data from more developed countries have been
available for decades. Nearly all births and deaths that occur each
year are registered, and vital statistics are published regularly.
These countries also have a relatively long history of
census-taking.1 The United States conducted its first population
census in 1790.
Very few less developed countries have complete registration of
births and deaths, but nearly all have conducted at least one
modern census and published the results. The census data were
often of poor quality, but they provided the basis for most
demographic measures in these countries until the 1980s.
Estimates of birth and death rates were derived using demographic
models and census questions on recent births and deaths.
While models often produced adequate estimates of basic
demographic rates and trends, we now have a much richer store of
information about health and childbearing behavior from
demographic surveys. These additional sources are especially
important in countries where fertility and mortality are falling.
The World Fertility Survey (WFS), launched in the 1970s, was the
first large-scale international project to administer comparable
demographic surveys in every world region. About 40 less
developed countries (and 20 more developed countries)
participated in the program. The WFS was followed by other
internationally funded survey projects. The largest project today is
the Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS), which has conducted
at least one survey in more than 50 less developed countries.2
Reproductive health surveys have been administered in less
developed countries by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention (CDC) since 1975.3
Demographic surveys usually target women of reproductive age,
World Population Beyond Six Billion-- Part III
http://www.prb.org/pubs/bulletin/bu54-1/part3.htm (9 of 14) [3/28/2000 10:15:51 AM]
although some also interview men. These surveys have become a
primary source of information about current fertility rates, infant
mortality, knowledge and use of family planning, and child
immunization. Researchers increasingly use DHS and other survey
data to develop models that investigate fertility and health trends
and the effects of education, residence, marital status, and other
factors. The results of this research have influenced
population-related policies in countries around the world.
References
1. For an explanation of demographic measures, see Arthur Haupt and Thomas T. Kane,
Population Handbook, 4th ed. (Washington, DC: Population Reference Bureau, 1997).
2. Access the DHS Web site at http://www.macroint.com/DHS.
3. Access the CDC Web site at http://www.cdc.gov/nccdphp/drh.
Return to Top l Table of Contents l Continue to Part IV
BOX 4
Changing Marriage Patterns in the Arab Region
The family has always been at the center of Arab society. Women
traditionally marry and have children at young ages-usually while
still in their teens. Social recognition and support systems revolve
around the roles of women as wives and mothers.
But in recent decades, a growing proportion of Arab women are
waiting longer to marry or are remaining single. These changing
marriage patterns have led to lower fertility in some parts of the
region. And they signal some fundamental changes for Arab
society.
During the 1950s, the Arab region--which spans North Africa and
portions of Western Asia--had uniformly high fertility and mortality.
The average TFR was 7.0 children per woman. Fertility fell rapidly
in some Arab countries in the past few decades, and led to gaps in
fertility rates among countries. In 1998, TFRs in Arab countries
varied from 2.5 in Lebanon to 7.6 in Yemen.
Fertility changes in the Arab region, as in other less developed
countries, coincided with advances in contraceptive technology, the
legitimization of family planning programs, and a growing desire for
smaller families.
Increased contraceptive use is responsible for a large part of the
shift to smaller families. But changes in marriage patterns also
played a role in fertility decline. Increases in the age at marriage
and in the proportion of women who remain single accounted for
two-thirds of the fertility decline in Tunisia and Morocco and almost
all of the long-term decline in Algeria in the 1980s and 1990s.
The median age at first marriage for women ages 25 to 29 has
increased in every Arab country since the 1970s (see table). In the
Persian Gulf country Bahrain, for example, the median age rose
from 14.8 years to 22.5 years between the late 1960s and the early
World Population Beyond Six Billion-- Part III
http://www.prb.org/pubs/bulletin/bu54-1/part3.htm (10 of 14) [3/28/2000 10:15:51 AM]
1990s. The median marriage age is still below 19 years in Yemen,
United Arab Emirates, and Oman, but it is 21 or older in a number
of countries, including Morocco, Tunisia, and Jordan.
A greater share of Arab women are remaining single into their
thirties. In the 1960s and 1970s, less than 7 percent of women ages
30 to 39 had never been married. In the 1980s and 1990s, the
picture is more varied--between 7 percent and 21 percent of women
in their 30s had never married in 11 Arab countries. While some of
these women may eventually marry, the proportion who remain
single throughout their lives is likely to be higher in the 21st century
than in the last.
The future challenges for single Arab women--and for married
women who spend fewer years rearing children--are to have
fulfilling lives and the financial means to support themselves and
their families. But job opportunities for Arab women are extremely
limited. Less than 30 percent of women in this region work outside
the home in the 1990s, compared with 57 percent or more in the
United States and 71 percent in East Asia. In some countries
plagued by high unemployment, governments are encouraging
women to refocus on familial roles and responsibilities and are
discouraging them from seeking jobs, presumably to leave more
slots for men.
Education is one key to greater economic independence. Although
educational opportunities have improved for Arab boys and girls in
recent decades, about one-half of adult women are illiterate in Arab
countries, according to UNESCO estimates. Less than one-half of
the girls of secondary-school age were enrolled in school in the
1990s. For some countries of the region, the prospects for universal
education remain very slim. In others, the improvements in
World Population Beyond Six Billion-- Part III
http://www.prb.org/pubs/bulletin/bu54-1/part3.htm (11 of 14) [3/28/2000 10:15:51 AM]
education have not brought better job opportunities.
In the near term, many Arab women will live their lives fulfilling their
traditional roles of wives and mothers, but a growing share will seek
alternative roles and wider opportunities. These women will present
policymakers with new challenges in the next century.
This text was excerpted from Hoda Rashad and Zeinab Khadr, "The Demography of the
Arab Region: New Challenges and Opportunities," in Population Challenges in the Middle
East and North Africa: Towards the Twenty-First Century, ed. I. Sirageldin (forthcoming).
Additional references include Carl Haub and Diana Cornelius, 1998 World Population Data
Sheet; United Nations, World Population Prospects: The 1998 Revision (1998); and
UNESCO, World Education Report 1998: 105-08.
Return to Top l Table of Contents l Continue to Part IV
BOX 5
Measuring Population, Development, and
Environment Relationships
Research into the links among population, economic growth, and
the environment may follow one of several very different
approaches. One approach emphasizes population's direct and
indirect effects on the environment. Under this view, population size
is a "multiplier" of the effects of other factors that influence the
environment.
The IPAT equation exemplifies this approach. In this equation, total
environmental impacts (I, air pollution, for example) are a product of
population size (P), the level of affluence or per capita consumption
(A), and the level of technology (T); that is, I=PAT.1 IPAT implies
that, although population, consumption, and technology might each
have an independent effect on the environment (I), their combined
effect is probably the most important. IPAT has been criticized
because it oversimplifies the relationships among the variables.2
Other approaches highlight the social, cultural, institutional, and
political context in which population and environment relationships
occur.3 Demographer Richard Bilsborrow, for example, has studied
how poverty, government policies, and market demands in Latin
America determine whether population growth leads to
technological change in agriculture, soil degradation, or
out-migration.4 Paul Harrison has examined how cultural values
affect women's status, which ultimately affects the size and growth
rate of the population and the state of the environment.5
Many recent models look at how social, cultural, demographic, and
economic systems interact to form larger "socioecological systems"
within which population and the environment interact.
Each approach is likely to yield some useful information, but
scientists are still struggling to measure and explain many of the
basic relationships among population, development, and the
environment.6
References
World Population Beyond Six Billion-- Part III
http://www.prb.org/pubs/bulletin/bu54-1/part3.htm (12 of 14) [3/28/2000 10:15:51 AM]
1. Paul Ehrlich and John R. Holdren, "Human Population and the Global Environment,"
American Scientist 62 (1974): 282-92; and Paul Harrison, The Third Revolution:
Environment, Population and a Sustainable World (London and New York: I. B. Tauris &
Company Ltd., 1992).
2. Catherine Marquette and Richard Bilsborrow, "Population and Environment
Relationships in Developing Countries: A Select Review of Approaches and Methods," in
The Population, Environment, Security, Equation, eds. Barbara S. Baudot and William R.
Moomaw (New York: Macmillan, 1997); and Anne R. Pebley, "Demography and the
Environment," Demography 35, no. 4 (November 1998): 377-89.
3. C. Jolly, "Four Theories of Population Change and the Environment." (Paper presented
at the annual meeting of the Population Association of America, Washington, DC, March
21-23, 1991).
4. Richard Bilsborrow, "Population Growth, Internal Migration, and Environmental
Degradation in Rural Areas of Developing Countries," European Journal of Population 8
(1992): 125-48.
5. Harrison, The Third Revolution.
6. Robert Livernash and Eric Rodenburg, "Population Change, Resources, and the
Environment," Population Bulletin 53, no. 1 (Washington, DC: Population Reference
Bureau, 1998): 5-6.
Return to Top l Table of Contents l Continue to Part IV
24. John Bongaarts, "The Fertility Inhibiting Effects of the Intermediate Variables," Studies in
Family Planning 13, no. 6/7 (June/July 1982): 179-89.
25. Nancy E. Riley, "Gender, Power, and Population Change," Population Bulletin 52, no. 1
(Washington, DC: Population Reference Bureau, 1997); Roger Jeffrey and Alaka Basu,
"Schooling As Contraception?" in Girl’s Schooling, Women’s Autonomy and Fertility Change in
South Asia, eds. Roger Jeffrey and Alaka Basu (Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, 1996):
48-71; and John Knodel and Gavin W. Jones, "Does Promoting Girl’s Schooling Miss the Mark?"
Population and Development Review 22, no. 4 (1996): 683-702.
26. Tanzania Bureau of Statistics and Demographic and Health Surveys, Demographic and
Health Survey 1996 (Calverton, MD: Macro International, 1997): 77; Philippines National
Statistics Office and Macro International, Inc., Philippines National Demographic and Health
Survey 1998 (Calverton, MD: Macro International, 1998): 11; and Charles Westoff, Ann Blanc,
and Laura Nyblade, "Marriage and Entry Into Parenthood," DHS Comparative Studies No. 10
(1994): table 6.3.
27. Riley, "Gender, Power, and Population Change": 20-23.
28. Ibid.
29. Barbara Shane, Family Planning Saves Lives (Washington, DC: Population Reference
Bureau, 1997).
30. Population Reference Bureau, Women of Our World 1998 (Washington, DC: Population
Reference Bureau, 1998).
31. Dominique Meekers, "Education and Adolescent Fertility in Sub-Saharan Africa,"
International Review of Modern Sociology 24 (Spring 1994): 1-43; and Caroline Bledsoe and
Barney Cohen, eds., Social Dynamics of Adolescent Fertility in Sub-Saharan Africa (Washington,
DC: National Academy Press, 1993): 89-115.
32. Catherine Marquette and Richard Bilsborrow, "Population and Environment Relationships in
Developing Countries: A Select Review of Approaches and Methods," in The Population,
Environment, Security, Equation, eds. Barbara S. Baudot and William R. Moomaw (New York:
Macmillan, 1997); and Gayl D. Ness with Meghan Golay, Population and Strategies for
Sustainable Development (London: Earthscan Press, 1997).
33. Thomas Robert Malthus, An Essay on the Principle of Population as it Affects the Future
Improvement of Society. With Remarks on the Speculations of Mr. Godwin, M. Condorcet, and
Other Writers. Reprinted in On Population, ed. Gertrude Himmelfarb (New York: Modern Library,
1960).
World Population Beyond Six Billion-- Part III
http://www.prb.org/pubs/bulletin/bu54-1/part3.htm (13 of 14) [3/28/2000 10:15:51 AM]
34. Ansley J. Coale and Edgar M. Hoover, Population Growth and Economic Development in
Low- Income Countries: A Case Study of India’s Prospects (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University
Press, 1958).
35. Ester Boserup, "Environment, Population and Technology in Primitive Societies," Population
and Development Review 2, no. 1 (1976): 21-36; and Ester Boserup, Population and
Technological Change (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1981).
36. Dennis A. Ahlburg, "Julian Simon and the Population Growth Debate," Population and
Development Review 24, no. 2 (June 1998): 317-19.
37. National Research Council, Population Growth and Economic Development: Policy
Questions (Washington, DC: National Academy Press, 1986).
38. Robert Cassen and contributors, Population and Development: Old Debates, New
Conclusions, ODC U.S.-Third World Policy Perspectives, no. 19 (New Brunswick, NJ:
Transaction Publishers, 1994): 4.
39. Nancy Birdsall and Steven Sinding, "Chairman’s Report." Report on the Technical
Symposium on Population Growth and Economic Development, in Bellagio, Italy, Nov. 2-6, 1998
(Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and Rockefeller Foundation: forthcoming, 1999).
40. Andrew Mason, "Will Population Change Sustain the ‘Asian Economic Miracle’?" Asia Pacific
Issues: Analysis from the East-West Center, no. 33 (October 1997).
41. Ibid.: 6.
42. Brockerhoff and Brennan, "The Poverty of Cities"; and Douglas S. Massey, "The Age of
Extremes: Concentrated Affluence and Poverty in the 21st Century." (Presidential address
delivered at the annual meeting of the Population Association of America, New Orleans, May
10,1996).
43. S. Jay Olshansky, Bruce Carnes, Richard G. Rogers, and Len Smith, "Infectious
Diseases-New And Ancient Threats to World Health," Population Bulletin 52, no. 2 (Washington,
DC: Population Reference Bureau, 1997): 24-26.
44. Brockerhoff and Brennan, "The Poverty of Cities."
45. Maternal and Child Health Association of the Republic of China, ed., Fertility Control
Experiences in the Republics of Korea and China. (Proceedings of the Third Workshop on
Comparative Study of Population and Family Planning in ROK and ROC, Taiwan, July 9-17,
1991): 39.
46. Anrudh Jain, ed., Do Population Policies Matter? (New York: The Population Council, 1998):
128- 31.
47. Winthrop P. Carty, Nancy V. Yinger, and Alicia Rosov, Success in a Challenging
Environment: Fertility Decline in Bangladesh (Washington, DC: Population Reference Bureau,
1993); Haub and Cornelius, 1998 World Population Data Sheet; and UNICEF, The State of the
World’s Children 1998 (New York: Oxford University Press, 1998).
48. United Nations, The World Conferences: Developing Priorities for the 21st Century (New
York: United Nations, 1997):1-5.
© 1999 Population Reference Bureau
Copyright 1999 Population Reference Bureau. This text may not be reproduced or reprinted in
any form without the express written permission of the Population Reference Bureau. For
information, please call or write to Permissions, PRB, 1875 Connecticut Ave., NW, Suite 520,
Washington, DC 20009; 202/483-1100. Or e-mail: popref@prb.org. See our copyright policy.
World Population Beyond Six Billion-- Part III
http://www.prb.org/pubs/bulletin/bu54-1/part3.htm (14 of 14) [3/28/2000 10:15:51 AM]
World Population Beyond Six Billion
Table of Contents
Introduction
Population Growth Before 1900
Population Change: 1900 to
1950
Population Change: 1950 to
2000
Causes and Effects of
Population Change
Population Prospects: 2000
to 2050
Perspectives and Responses
to Growth
A New Vision
Conclusion
Population Prospects: 2000 to 2050
In the past century, the world’s population has undergone a sweeping
change in both its total numbers and its distribution across regions. The next
century is likely to see the second phase of that transformation--lower fertility
and an even more dramatic redistribution of population among the more
developed and less developed countries. Nearly all future world population
growth will take place in less developed countries. In short, the Earth is
reinventing itself demographically.
While we cannot know the future size of Algeria, India, or Germany, we can
assess the possibilities by creating a series of likely scenarios. Population
projections are not predictions of future population size, they are
mathematical calculations based on assumptions about current levels and
future trends. Demographers apply assumed rates of fertility, mortality, and
migration to an estimated starting population to project its size at a future
date. The assumptions about future rates may be wrong or the conditions
that affect these rates may change unexpectedly. Because of these inherent
uncertainties, demographers often create a series of projections based on a
range of likely fertility, mortality, and migration rates.
Because mortality is relatively low, fertility levels and trends will determine
future population size. In general, the higher a country’s birth rate, the
greater the uncertainty about its future population size. Projections of Brazil’s
future population, with its 1998 TFR of 2.5, are likely to be more accurate
than those of India, where the TFR is 3.4, and India’s future is more certain
than Uganda’s, where the TFR is 6.9.
When projecting population, demographers make assumptions about how
far and how quickly fertility will fall. A common issue (and a common
assumption) is when, or whether, a country will reach the "magic"
replacement-level TFR of about 2.1 children per woman. With fertility at
replacement level, a population eventually will cease growing and "stabilize"
at a given size. National rates rarely follow such an orderly pattern: Some
TFRs drop well below 2.1 (Italy at 1.2) and others remain above it (Argentina
at 2.5).
Every two years, the United Nations (UN) Population Division produces a set
of population projections for every country. These are invaluable tools for
evaluating present trends and prospects. The three main scenarios of
population growth in the latest UN series are shown in Figure 9. By 2050, the
UN suggests that total world population will grow to between 7.3 billion and
10.7 billion. In the high projection, world population will still be growing in
2050; under the low projection series, it will have begun a gradual decline.
World Population Beyond Six Billion-- Part IV
http://www.prb.org/pubs/bulletin/bu54-1/part4.htm (1 of 10) [3/28/2000 10:15:53 AM]
Regardless of the projection used, the UN shows that at least 1.3 billion
people will be added to the world’s population over the next 25 years (see
Table 4). There are three reasons for this inevitable growth. First, fertility in
less developed countries is twice as high as in more developed countries, on
average. Second, the young age structure of less developed countries
constitutes momentum for population growth for several decades no matter
what future fertility trends may be. Third, continuing improvements in
mortality will contribute to additional growth, particularly in countries where
life expectancy remains comparatively low.
What trends can we expect? It is likely, even highly probable, that fertility will
continue to fall in those less developed countries where it is already
declining and that it eventually will begin to decline in countries where fertility
World Population Beyond Six Billion-- Part IV
http://www.prb.org/pubs/bulletin/bu54-1/part4.htm (2 of 10) [3/28/2000 10:15:53 AM]
rates have remained persistently high. But future population size will depend
not only on whether fertility will fall, but how quickly it declines and to what
level it falls. The outcome will vary by country. Fertility has declined in
countries with widespread illiteracy (Bangladesh) and has remained
surprisingly high in societies in which people are relatively well educated
(Argentina).
The accuracy of population projections declines as the projection interval
extends further into the future- and the range of likely scenarios widens.
Accordingly, the UN projections for 2150 range from 4 billion (about 2 billion
fewer people than today) to 27 billion.
Often, we must look at trends below the national level to make reasonable
assumptions about future fertility trends. In India, for example, fertility has
fallen in the more educated southern states such as Kerala and Tamil Nadu,
where 1998 TFRs are 1.8 and 2.1, respectively. But the real story of India’s
future population growth will be told in the less developed states of the
northern "Hindi Belt," such as Uttar Pradesh, which has 150 million people
and a TFR of 4.8 in 1998.
Return to Top l Table of Contents l Continue to Part V
Perspectives and Responses to Growth
Population Policies
The U.S. Role
The 1994 International Conference on Population and Development
Anxiety about the negative effects of rapid population growth and excessive
population numbers has a long history.49 Long before Malthus, ancient
Greeks and Egyptians voiced concern about "overpopulation" in lean times.
They also promoted population growth in times of plenty.
In the 1930s and 1940s, scientists and intellectuals in some less developed
countries such as Egypt, India, and Mexico began to express concern that
rapid population growth would hinder development in their countries.50
Widely publicized food shortages and famines in certain less developed
areas in the 1960s were also linked to rapid population growth.
These concerns sparked a number of actions around the world directed at
lowering fertility and slowing population growth. India initiated a national
policy to slow population growth in 1952. The International Planned
Parenthood Federation, the largest private-sector organization devoted to
family planning, was founded the same year.51 UN involvement in population
issues also expanded. The first UN meeting on global population was
convened in 1954, in collaboration with the International Union for the
Scientific Study of Population.52 UN agencies, including UNICEF and the
World Health Organization (WHO), incorporated reproductive health services
into their missions. In 1969, the UN Fund for Population Activities (UNFPA)
became a separate entity.
Beginning in the 1960s, governments of some wealthier countries, most
notably the United States, supported efforts to strengthen family planning
programs in less developed countries.
World Population Beyond Six Billion-- Part IV
http://www.prb.org/pubs/bulletin/bu54-1/part4.htm (3 of 10) [3/28/2000 10:15:53 AM]
Population Policies
The idea that couples should limit their family size went against cultural
mores in many societies, and some governments were loath to support a
potentially unpopular policy. Many governments embraced the more
acceptable idea that fertility would fall and that population growth would slow
as living standards rose through economic development. This view was
expressed at the 1974 UN World Population Conference when an Indian
delegate declared that "development is the best contraceptive."
During the late 1970s and 1980s, concern about the negative effects of
population growth on economic development broadened. Increasing
numbers of countries accepted the idea that government actions could slow
population growth.53 An important factor contributing to this change in
attitude was the increasing availability of data and research findings
documenting high rates of population growth, high rates of infant and
maternal death, stagnant economic and social development, and a
widespread desire by women to limit childbearing. The research has also
demonstrated the interrelationships among these variables. Regional
meetings on population and development in the 1980s heightened
awareness of the challenges of rapid population growth as well.
Many sub-Saharan African countries adopted regional declarations on
population and development in the 1980s54 and adopted national population
policies in the early 1990s. By 1994, more than one-half of less developed
countries had national population policies to slow growth. Most of the rest
reported in a UN survey that they planned to develop population policies in
the near future.
Most national population policies include support for family planning and
maternal and child health programs to improve health, slow population
growth, or both.55
National efforts to influence population growth include incentives to have
more or fewer children, disincentives for having more than a given number of
children, and measures to encourage or discourage migration.
These efforts have met with mixed success. Some argue that China’s
population policies initiated in the 1970s were a success from a demographic
perspective. China’s TFR fell from about 6.0 in the 1960s to less than 2.0 in
the 1990s, in part because of government policies and programs. However,
China’s stringent "one-child family" policy introduced in 1979 was widely
criticized for violating human rights.56 Between 1975 and 1977, Indira
Ghandi’s government in India promoted male sterilization campaigns that
sometimes led to coercion. Public outrage about the reported abuses
contributed to the downfall of Ghandi’s government and created a backlash
against family planning programs in India that took years to overcome.57
In 1997, 155 countries subsidized family planning services, and 68 stated
explicitly that they wanted to slow their population growth. In Africa, the
world’s fastest growing region, 40 countries saw their fertility levels as too
high and 36 had policies to lower fertility.
A few countries, in contrast, view their fertility rates as too low and would
welcome faster population growth. In 1997, 23 countries reported to the UN
that they had explicit policies to increase birth rates.58 Many governments in
Europe and the former Soviet Union worry that their continued low fertility
World Population Beyond Six Billion-- Part IV
http://www.prb.org/pubs/bulletin/bu54-1/part4.htm (4 of 10) [3/28/2000 10:15:53 AM]
will cause rapid population aging and an eventual decline in population size.
Some small oil-rich countries in the Persian Gulf also want to increase, or at
least maintain, current levels of population growth. They see population
growth as a way to spur socioeconomic development and reduce their
reliance on foreign labor. Labor migrants make up one-half or more of the
labor force of most Persian Gulf states.59 Israel also has policies to increase
its fertility and rate of population growth.
Policies to stem rural-to-urban migration, or to redirect migration streams to
less-populated areas, also have had mixed success. China prohibits rural
residents from moving to urban areas, for example, yet large "floating
populations" of rural migrants live and work illegally in China’s cities. Efforts
to control immigration often have been overwhelmed by political
events--such as the breakup of the Soviet Union and civil wars in Africa--and
by economic disparities-between Thailand and Myanmar, for example-that
render legal and border controls ineffective in stopping people who want to
move.
The U.S. Role
Industrialized countries took steps during the 1960s to help less developed
countries slow population growth. Sweden, the United States, and several
other industrialized nations began to develop population assistance
programs aimed at slowing growth.
By the late 1960s, the United States began to play a strong leadership role in
international efforts to reduce population growth. The primary motives were
to reduce the threat of rapid population growth to economic and social
development in less developed countries and to U.S. national security
interests affected by international trade, political conflict, the environment,
and international migration.60 The U.S. Agency for International
Development (USAID) funded demographic work abroad as early as 1965.
Since then, the United States has been the largest government donor for
international population programs and for technical expertise to help
countries develop programs to slow population growth.61
The U.S. program focused on family planning as a means of slowing
population growth and was criticized by governments of some less
developed countries. Many critics favored greater investments in social and
economic development and less emphasis on family planning. Some felt that
population growth did not affect economic growth and did not warrant the
attention and resources it was receiving. Certain religious groups opposed
the U.S. approach, arguing that it intruded into religious and individual
beliefs. The United States and many other countries, however, continued to
support family planning specifically to slow population growth. They felt their
approach was justified by studies showing that many women wanted to limit
or space births, but were not practicing family planning.62
By the mid-1970s, USAID supported family planning to improve maternal
and child health as well as to reduce population growth rates. This broader
approach was spurred by research showing that women and their children
gained substantial health benefits when high-risk births are avoided.
"High-risk" births included those occurring less than two years apart, to very
young or older mothers (women below age 20 or above age 35), and to
mothers who already have many children.
During the 1980s, support for family planning by the United States
World Population Beyond Six Billion-- Part IV
http://www.prb.org/pubs/bulletin/bu54-1/part4.htm (5 of 10) [3/28/2000 10:15:53 AM]
continued, but this support generated more controversy than in earlier
decades. Economists in the Reagan administration viewed population
growth as a neutral factor in economic development. Many U.S.
policymakers also strongly opposed using U.S. funds on abortion-related
activities, which they saw as linked to family planning programs. In 1984, a
stunning reversal in U.S. policy took place in an international forum-the
International Conference on Population, in Mexico City. U.S. delegates at the
meeting declared that population growth had no effect on the economic
development of poor countries. In what became known as the "Mexico City
Policy," delegates announced that the United States would withdraw support
from any organization that provided abortion services, even with non-U.S.
funding.63
The decline in U.S. support for family planning was countered by less
developed countries participating in the conference. By 1984, many of these
countries had reversed their previous opposition to organized family planning
programs and lauded the benefits of smaller families and slower population
growth. Their views prevailed. The Mexico City declaration called on
governments "as a matter of urgency" to make family planning services
"universally available."64
Despite the Reagan administration’s position, the U.S. Congress still
allocated funds to support family planning, primarily to slow population
growth in less developed countries. Many national programs shared this
primary goal; a few included demographic quotas or targets and incentives
to motivate couples to have fewer children.
Women’s rights activists, among others, generally opposed the demographic
rationale for family planning as an infringement on individual rights. They
argued that women’s rights and well-being should take precedence over
national interests.65 Many criticized the family planning programs’ lack of
integration with other health services.66
During the 1970s and 1980s, women around the world began forming small
nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) to lobby for improvements in their
social, economic, and political circumstances. By the 1990s, women’s NGOs
in less developed countries were advocating for improvements in family
planning programs by better informing clients about various contraceptive
methods, expanding the range of methods available, and encouraging
service providers to treat clients with greater respect.
The 1994 International Conference on Population and
Development
The opposition by women’s groups to existing family planning programs, and
ethical and scientific debates about population, development, and
environment, formed the backdrop for the fifth UN conference on population,
which was held in Cairo in September 1994. These factors helped shape the
content and goals of the final conference document. The Programme of
Action of the 1994 International Conference on Population and Development
(ICPD) redefined the world’s view of population growth and the best way to
address this growth. The Cairo document placed population within the
context of sustainable development and argued for investments in human
development, especially improvements in women’s status, as key to
stabilizing population growth. It rejected the use of demographic targets by
family planning programs and it integrated family planning into a broader
World Population Beyond Six Billion-- Part IV
http://www.prb.org/pubs/bulletin/bu54-1/part4.htm (6 of 10) [3/28/2000 10:15:53 AM]
women’s health agenda.
The level of participation by NGOs at the ICPD was unprecedented. Over
1,200 NGOs participated as delegates or observers and worked closely with
government officials to craft the ICPD Programme of Action. For the first
time, conference deliberations were informed by a wide range of interests,
from the grassroots level to the highest levels of government. Women’s
groups were a driving force behind the strong emphasis on women’s
empowerment as part of human development. This focus was also driven,
however, by research from the past 30 years that linked fertility declines with
reductions in infant mortality, increased use of family planning, and
improvements in women’s education and other aspects of women’s status.
Despite the consensus, the ICPD engendered dissent and debate.
Ideological and religious tensions characterized discussions leading up to
the conference, deliberations during the conference, and the follow-up after
the conference. Abortion generated the most highly publicized ideological
splits. Debate also swirled around definitions of reproductive health and
family and adolescent reproductive rights and responsibilities. None of the
180 or so nations rejected the central premises and goals of the ICPD,
despite the range of political structures, cultures, and religions they
represented. This marked the first time in the history of UN population
conferences that no official delegation rejected the entire document.
The final ICPD document defined reproductive health to encompass a broad
range of services, including family planning, prenatal and postnatal care,
medical attention at birth, cancer screening, and protection from sexually
transmitted diseases. It also supported access to safe abortion where it is
legal, but it stated that abortion should not be used as a method of family
planning.67
The ICPD Programme of Action specified five goals for 2015 to improve
individual and family well-being and enhance women’s status. These include
universal access to family planning and other reproductive health services,
universal access to primary school education, increased access by girls and
women to secondary and higher education, and reductions in infant, child,
and maternal mortality.68 The ICPD document also called for government
and private sector actions to alleviate poverty, protect the environment,
encourage greater male involvement in the family, and address the specific
health needs of adolescents.
The historic agreements reached at the ICPD were reaffirmed at subsequent
UN conferences in the 1990s. These conferences included the World
Summit for Social Development, in Copenhagen, Denmark, in 1995; the
Fourth World Conference on Women, in Beijing, also in 1995; the UN
Conference on Human Settlements (or Habitat II), in Ankara in 1996; and the
World Food Summit, in Rome, also in 1996.69
In the late 1990s, countries are reviewing how the Cairo Programme of
Action is being implemented. The reviews identify successes, obstacles, and
future challenges.70
Governments in some less developed countries have changed their policies
and institutions to reflect the broader emphasis on women’s status and
health. Many of the changes were already underway before 1994, while
others involved a dramatic departure from previous policies. India eliminated
demographic targets from its population program, which shifts the program’s
World Population Beyond Six Billion-- Part IV
http://www.prb.org/pubs/bulletin/bu54-1/part4.htm (7 of 10) [3/28/2000 10:15:53 AM]
emphasis to reproductive health rather than limiting family size.71 Algeria,
Belize, Brazil, Paraguay, Tajikistan, and some other countries have created
national institutions to address population and development issues using the
ICPD framework.72
At the program level, most countries have tried to integrate family planning
more fully with other reproductive health services and to offer women a
greater choice of family planning methods. In Brazil and India, service
providers are reducing their reliance on sterilization and expanding access to
other methods.73 Countries are also taking steps to improve other aspects of
women’s lives. Bolivia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Panama, and several other
less developed countries have new legislation to combat domestic
violence.74
Changes are visible among donor countries as well. The United States
supported the integration of family planning and other reproductive health
services prior to the Cairo conference, but it has strengthened this
commitment since 1994. USAID has spearheaded efforts to find the best
way to integrate services, to involve men in reproductive health, and to
promote better health programs for adolescents. In 1996, USAID adopted a
Gender Action Plan that includes initiatives to expand women’s education,
legal and political rights, and access to credit. The 26 member countries of
the Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD) are
committed to eliminating the gender gap in secondary school enrollment by
2005, along with other social development goals.75
The review process has also highlighted potential obstacles to
implementation, including entrenched bureaucratic structures, insufficiently
trained personnel, and inadequate funding, especially among international
donors. ICPD participants estimated that US$17 billion dollars would be
needed annually by 2000 to cover the costs of reproductive health services,
including family planning. Less developed countries would cover up to
two-thirds of the costs and international donors would pay the remaining
one-third. Overall, less developed countries are closer to meeting the ICPD
goals than the international donors. In 1997, more developed countries spent
less than US$2 billion on aid for reproductive health services and are
unlikely to meet their goal of US$5.7 billion annually by 2000. "Donor fatigue"
has plagued efforts to boost development assistance from many
industrialized countries since the 1994 conference.76 In the United States,
political opposition to abortion and family planning have also contributed to
cuts in international family planning assistance.
Return to Top l Table of Contents l Continue to Part V
49. Robert Livernash and Eric Rodenburg, "Population Change, Resources, and the Environment,"
Population Bulletin 53, no. 1 (Washington, DC: Population Reference Bureau, 1998): 4-5.
50. Jain, Do Population Policies Matter?
51. Lori S. Ashford, "New Perspectives on Population: Lessons from Cairo," Population Bulletin 50, no.
1 (Washington, DC: Population Reference Bureau, 1995): 5.
52. International meetings on population had convened periodically since the late 19th century, but
these were mostly discussions of population censuses and statistics. Policymakers and the public
were largely unaware of population growth trends. See Ashford, "New Perspectives on Population": 5;
and Rafael Salas, International Population Assistance: The First Decade (Oxford, UK: Pergamon
Press, 1979): xvi-xvii.
World Population Beyond Six Billion-- Part IV
http://www.prb.org/pubs/bulletin/bu54-1/part4.htm (8 of 10) [3/28/2000 10:15:53 AM]
53. Stephen L. Isaacs, Gail S. Cairns, and Nancy I. Heckel, Population Policy: A Manual for
Policymakers and Planners, 2d ed. (New York: Center for Population and Family Health, Columbia
University, and The Futures Group, 1991): 2; and Omran and Roudi, "The Middle East Population
Puzzle": 32.
54. Goliber, "Population and Reproductive Health": 4-5.
55. Isaacs, Cairns, and Heckel, Population Policy.
56. H. Juan Tien, with Zhang Tianlu, Ping Yu, Li Jingneng, and Liang Zhongtang, "China’s
Demographic Dilemmas," Population Bulletin 47, no. 1 (Washington, DC: Population Reference
Bureau, 1992): 9-11; and Judith Banister, China’s Changing Population (Stanford, CA: Stanford
University Press, 1987): 183-226.
57. Leela Visaria and Pravin Visaria, "India’s Population in Transition," Population Bulletin 50, no. 3
(Washington, DC: Population Reference Bureau, 1995): 39.
58. Jean-Claude Chesnais, "The Demographic Sunset of the West?," Population Today 25, no. 1
(January 1997): 4-5; R.L. Cliquet, ed., Desirabilities and Possibilities of A Fertility Recovery at
Replacement Level in Europe, NIDI CBGS Publications 21 (Amsterdam, Netherlands: Swets and
Zeitlinger, 1991): 83-90; and United Nations, Global Population Policy Database, 1997 (New York:
United Nations, 1998).
59. Omran and Roudi, "The Middle East Population Puzzle": 32.
60. Peter Donaldson, Nature Against Us: The United States and the World Population Crisis:
1965-1980 (Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina, 1990); and Craig Lasher, "U.S. Population
Policy Since the Cairo Conference," Environmental Change and Security Project Report no. 4 (Spring
1998): 18.
61. Lasher, "U.S. Population Policy Since the Cairo Conference."
62. John Bongaarts, "Population Policy Options in the Developing World," Science 263, no. 5148 (Feb.
11, 1994): 771-76.
63. Peter J. Donaldson and Amy Ong Tsui, "The International Family Planning Movement," Population
Bulletin 45, no. 3 (Washington, DC: Population Reference Bureau, 1990); and Jason L. Finkle and
Barbara B. Crane, "Ideology and Politics at Mexico City: The United States at the 1984 International
Conference on Population," Population and Development Review 11, no. 1 (March 1985):1-28.
64. Ashford, "New Perspectives on Population."
65. Claudia Garcia-Moreno and Amparo Claro, "Challenges from the Women’s Health Movement," in
Population Policies Reconsidered: Health, Empowerment, and Rights, eds. Gita Sen, Adrienne
Germain, and Lincoln C. Chen (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1994): 47.
66. Gita Sen, Adrienne Germain, and Lincoln C. Chen, "Reconsidering Population Policies: Ethics,
Development, and Strategies for Change," in Population Policies Reconsidered, eds. Sen, Germain,
and Chen: 4.
67. Alene H. Gelbard, "The Empowerment of Women, Population Growth, and Development: A
Consensus?" (Paper presented at ITEST Workshop "Population Issues: Cairo, Copenhagen, Beijing,"
St. Louis, Oct. 13-15, 1995 (updated 1996).
68. Ashford, "New Perspectives on Population": 33.
69. United Nations, The World Conferences; Harold N. Burdett, "Food for Thought: Population and the
World Food Summit," Toward the 21st Century no. 4 (Washington, DC: Population Institute, 1996);
and "UN Conference Reaffirms Reproductive Rights," Reproductive Freedom News 5, no. 13 (July 26,
1996): 8.
70. UNFPA, The State of World Population 1997 (New York: UNFPA, 1997).
71. Jain, Do Population Policies Matter?; Lori Ashford and Carolyn Makinson, Reproductive Health in
Policy and Practice: Case Studies from Brazil, India, Morocco, and Uganda (Washington, DC:
Population Reference Bureau, 1999); and Karen Hardee, Kokila Agarwal, Nancy Luke, Ellen Wilson,
Margaret Pendzich, and Harry Cross, "Post-Cairo Reproductive Health Policies: A Comparative Study
of Eight Countries." (Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Population Association of America,
Chicago, April 2-4, 1998).
72. UNFPA, The State of World Population 1997.
World Population Beyond Six Billion-- Part IV
http://www.prb.org/pubs/bulletin/bu54-1/part4.htm (9 of 10) [3/28/2000 10:15:53 AM]
73. Ashford and Makinson, Reproductive Health in Policy and Practice: Case Studies.
74. UNFPA, The State of World Population 1997.
75. Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD), "Shaping the 21st Century:
The Contribution of Development Co-Operation: Summary of Development Co-Operation Efforts and
Policies of the Members of the Development Assistance Committee" (Paris: OECD, 1996).
76. Carl Wahren, Supporting Reproductive Health Services: Low Cost/High Yield (Paris: OECD,
September 1997): 20-24.
© 1999 Population Reference Bureau
Copyright 1999 Population Reference Bureau. This text may not be reproduced or reprinted in any
form without the express written permission of the Population Reference Bureau. For information,
please call or write to Permissions, PRB, 1875 Connecticut Ave., NW, Suite 520, Washington, DC
20009; 202/483-1100. Or e-mail: popref@prb.org. See our copyright policy.
World Population Beyond Six Billion-- Part IV
http://www.prb.org/pubs/bulletin/bu54-1/part4.htm (10 of 10) [3/28/2000 10:15:53 AM]
World Population Beyond Six Billion
Table of Contents
Introduction
Population Growth Before 1900
Population Change: 1900 to
1950
Population Change: 1950 to
2000
Causes and Effects of
Population Change
Population Prospects: 2000 to
2050
Perspectives and Responses to
Growth
A New Vision
Conclusion
A New Vision
Children
Adolescents
Women
Elderly
Migrants
Populations at High Risk of HIV/AIDS
At the end of the 20th century, the world community has articulated a new
vision of population and its links to other global concerns. This vision places
human development at the center of efforts to improve the quality of lives
and to stabilize global population growth, improve the natural environment,
and promote sustainable economic development. The new vision calls for
greater equality between men and women, stronger partnerships between
governments and the private sector, and greater involvement by
communities. It singles out the following population groups as having
particular needs and problems that have profound implications for the quality
of life for all people. These groups include children, adolescents, women, the
elderly, people at a high risk of HIV/AIDS, and migrants.
Children
Remarkable improvements in the survival and education of children in this
century showed the world how much better life is for children when they have
adequate health care and education. At the 1990 World Summit for Children,
representatives from more than 150 nations specified 27 critical goals for
2000, including cutting infant and child mortality by one-third and maternal
mortality by one-half.77 These goals encompassed expanding immunization
coverage, improving nutrition, and ensuring safe drinking water. Education
goals set at the Children’s Summit included boosting primary school
enrollment to 80 percent.
By 1996, nearly three-fifths of all countries had achieved or were likely to
achieve the overall goal of improved child survival by 2000. The most
progress has been in stabilizing deaths from neonatal tetanus and drastically
reducing the incidence of polio.78
New approaches to children’s health promote interventions that reduce
several risk factors simultaneously, such as improving household sanitation
and hygiene. Reducing malnutrition, which affects 200 million children
worldwide, is another important goal. Governments can work to prevent crop
failures leading to famines, reduce parasite infestation, and promote
World Population Beyond Six Billion-- Part V
http://www.prb.org/pubs/bulletin/bu54-1/part5.htm (1 of 6) [3/28/2000 10:15:55 AM]
breastfeeding and better nutrition. Improving child nutrition also involves
increasing the incomes of poor families.
This holistic approach also reflects the growing understanding that an
individual’s health as a child is linked to his or her health in later life. Some
causes of poor health in later life--including diabetes, cardiovascular disease,
stroke, and high blood pressure--may originate before birth from
undernourishment of the developing fetus.79
The education of the children today and in the next century will be key to
improving the quality of their lives and, by extension, the future society. Most
countries promote the goal of universal education at the primary level and
closing the gap between girls’ and boys’ educational levels. Because of rapid
increases in the number of children in many countries, coupled with
economic stagnation or even decline, meeting these goals will require a
much greater commitment by national governments and international donors.
Although illiteracy rates are declining, UNICEF estimates that the number of
illiterate people is increasing and will near 1 billion by 2000. Two-thirds of
these people will be women.
Adolescents
The health, education, and well-being of future generations will be reflected
in the opportunities open for adolescents. Meeting the health, education, and
employment needs of the nearly 1 billion teenagers in the world today will be
one of the most important policy challenges in coming decades. Their
decisions about when to have children and how many to have will determine
the future size and quality of life of the world’s population. Providing young
people access to reproductive health information and services is a
controversial issue in many countries, but whether or not they gain this
access will determine their ability to make those decisions and to act on
them.
Women
Expanding access to reproductive health services, narrowing the literacy gap
between men and women, and providing income opportunities for women
will not only enrich their lives but will reduce the inequities between men and
women that perpetuate women’s lower status in many societies. Better
health and higher educational levels will position women to contribute more
actively in the economic and political arenas in the future.
Although the last 50 years have brought extraordinary increases in literacy,
worldwide literacy for women has lagged far behind that of men, especially in
some regions. Worldwide, 71 percent of women can read and write a simple
statement, compared with 84 percent of men. The gender gap is greatest in
regions where overall literacy rates are low. In India, for example, 66 percent
of men but only 38 percent of women were literate in 1995.80 Narrowing the
gender gap in literacy and educational levels was a major goal identified in
international conferences of the 1990s.
Ensuring access to reproductive health services was a major goal of the UN
conferences of the 1990s. Some activists view this access as a human rights
issue. Many analysts also support it for economic reasons. Family planning
and maternal health services are the most cost-effective health services
available for women of reproductive age in less developed countries.81 Such
services reduce maternal mortality and morbidity by helping women avoid
World Population Beyond Six Billion-- Part V
http://www.prb.org/pubs/bulletin/bu54-1/part5.htm (2 of 6) [3/28/2000 10:15:55 AM]
unintended pregnancies, and they lower health risks associated with
pregnancy, childbirth, and abortion. Improving maternal health services also
strengthens a country’s overall health system.82
Elderly
The 20th-century transition to lower fertility and mortality ignited an
unprecedented growth in the numbers and percentages of elderly. That
growth will accelerate in the next century. There will be more than 1 billion
people ages 60 and older by 2025, and nearly 2 billion by 2050.
Three-fourths of these elderly people will live in the less developed world.
The largest percentage increases in the elderly population will occur in the
world’s poorest regions: South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa.
Population aging is a growing challenge throughout the world. The OECD
estimates that the wave of retirees leaving the work force in industrialized
countries over the next three decades will fuel a massive outflow of savings
from pension funds and a global shortage in capital for investment.83
Less developed countries face the greatest challenge from population aging.
Most of these countries are not equipped to meet the financial, health, and
housing needs of older people. Many have minimal public pension programs
for the elderly and many people entering retirement age in these countries
over the next 25 years will have little income from private pensions or
savings.
Policymakers in many less developed countries have relied on families to
support aging family members.84 Traditional support systems for the elderly
are deteriorating in many areas just as the need for support is growing.
Widespread fertility declines mean there are fewer children to care for elderly
parents. The imbalance between the ratio of older individuals to working-age
family members is especially stark in areas where fertility fell rapidly.
Urbanization, industrialization, and other aspects of development are
disrupting family structures. People are less likely to live near older parents.
More working-age women have jobs outside the home and cannot provide
the daily care needed by some elderly parents.
The health and financial needs of the elderly sometimes conflict with the
needs of children. National governments will face difficult decisions about
how to spend public funds so that neither group benefits at the expense of
the other.
Migrants
Migrants will play an increasingly important role in population change in the
next century as travel becomes more affordable and national economies
become more interdependent. Migrants are increasing in number and in
diversity. They move from and to more countries and for more varied
reasons. In some countries, for example, family reunification has surpassed
employment as a leading reason for immigration.85
The political controversy and debate engendered by migration flows are
likely to accelerate in the next century. Migration challenges nations to
control their borders and maintain national sovereignty. Migration often
brings ethnic diversity to immigration countries, which can foment
anti-immigrant sentiments. Refugees often arrive without means of support
and must look for help from host countries and international agencies.
World Population Beyond Six Billion-- Part V
http://www.prb.org/pubs/bulletin/bu54-1/part5.htm (3 of 6) [3/28/2000 10:15:55 AM]
European countries have adopted treaties and laws to control immigration,
but they have not resolved how to treat immigrants who settle within their
borders. Many immigrants and children of immigrants in Germany and other
European countries have limited political rights, for example. In general,
these countries welcome temporary foreign workers but not permanent
settlers. The United States grapples with some of the same issues, despite
its tradition of integrating immigrants into its society. In 1991, the seven
largest industrial powers (the G-7 countries) declared that "international
migration has made and can make a valuable contribution to economic and
social development [and that] … there is now a growing concern about
worldwide migratory pressures, which are due to a variety of political, social,
and economic factors."86 These concerns will heighten in the next century.
Refugees and other involuntary migrants face special problems because
they are cut off from traditional networks that provide economic and social
support and they are especially vulnerable to persecution and exploitation.
The number of refugees worldwide has declined from 18.2 million in 1993 to
13.2 million in 1997, but the number of internally displaced people has risen
to 25 million.87 There will be a growing need for national and international
agencies, such as the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, to address the
needs of refugees and other displaced people around the world.
Populations at High Risk of HIV/AIDS
People at a high risk of contracting HIV/AIDS present extraordinary
challenges for the next century.
Sub-Saharan Africa and South and Southeast Asia have suffered the brunt
of the epidemic so far (see Figure 10), but the disease threatens health in all
regions. This disease primarily strikes the most sexually active segments of
the population, and it has produced alarming increases in death rates among
younger adults just when they are most likely to be building families and
raising children. Around the world, 8.2 million children have lost their mothers
to AIDS since the start of the epidemic. Many have lost both parents to the
disease. The overwhelming majority of AIDS orphans live in sub-Saharan
Africa. Increasing urbanization and labor migration in Africa is taxing the
ability of extended family structures to care for AIDS orphans. The number of
children infected with HIV/AIDS is likely to increase in the beginning of the
next century.
World Population Beyond Six Billion-- Part V
http://www.prb.org/pubs/bulletin/bu54-1/part5.htm (4 of 6) [3/28/2000 10:15:55 AM]
Some African countries have slowed the HIV/AIDS epidemic and offer hope
for other countries. Uganda cut HIV prevalence by more than a quarter in
just three years--from 13.0 percent in 1994 to 9.5 percent in 1997. In the
urban area of Bukoba, Tanzania, HIV prevalence for women ages 15 to 24
fell from 28 percent in 1987 to 11 percent in 1993.88 While few people
infected with HIV in less developed countries can afford the life-extending
drugs used in more developed countries, the transmission of HIV can be
prevented. Surveillance, education, expanded reproductive health services,
and safer health-care practices have helped stem the epidemic.
Return to Top l Table of Contents
Conclusion
Population change has been one of the most significant events of the 20th
century. Since 1900, the world population has more than tripled in size and
average life expectancy has increased by two-thirds. Declines in childbearing
and shifts in population distribution are more striking than at any time in
history. Along with these population changes, the world has witnessed
extraordinary improvements in technology, communication, education, and
agriculture. These changes have undermined the dire predictions of Thomas
Malthus and his successors that population growth would lead to worldwide
famine and disease. Yet, these predictions may come true for some areas of
the world. More than one-fifth of today’s population lives in poverty,
subsisting on less than US$1 a day.89 The HIV/AIDS pandemic threatens the
health and well-being--and the very survival--of large portions of the
population in many countries.
Under all likely scenarios, the next century will see continued population
increases--at least during the first few decades. This is because of the
built-in momentum of growth associated with the very young age structures
of most less developed countries. The growth will also be fueled by
World Population Beyond Six Billion-- Part V
http://www.prb.org/pubs/bulletin/bu54-1/part5.htm (5 of 6) [3/28/2000 10:15:55 AM]
childbearing levels that are still above replacement levels. Not all countries
will experience this growth, but they will all be affected by it. One of the
greatest success stories of the 20th century has been the dramatic decline in
childbearing brought about by investments in family planning and other
health programs, in education, and in greater social and economic
opportunities, especially for women. In the 1990s, the world community
made financial and program commitments to continue investments in these
areas. Both the future size of the world’s population and the quality of
people’s lives will be closely linked to the extent to which these commitments
are met.
Return to Top l Table of Contents
77. United Nations, The World Conferences: 71.
78. Ibid.: 72.
79. David J.P. Barker, "Maternal Nutrition, Fetal Nutrition, and Disease in Later Life," Nutrition 13, no. 9
(1997): 807-13.
80. UNESCO, World Education Report 1998 (Paris: UNESCO, 1998): table 3.
81. Anne Tinker, "Safe Motherhood as a Social and Economic Investment." (Paper prepared for the
Technical Consultation on Safe Motherhood, in Sri Lanka, October, 1997); Ann G. Tinker and Marjorie
A Koblinsky, "Making Motherhood Safe," World Bank Discussion Paper no. 202 (Washington, DC: The
World Bank, 1993); and United Nations, World Population Monitoring, Health and Mortality: Selected
Aspects. Draft, Dec. 22, 1997, UN ESA/P/WP.142.
82. Tinker, "Safe Motherhood": 6-7
83. Paul Hewitt and Bradley Belt, "Staying Afloat as the World Ages," The Washington Post, Feb. 12,
1998, sec. A: p. 23.
84. Constance Holden, "New Populations of Old Add to Poor Nations’ Burdens," Science 273 (July 5,
1996): 46-47.
85. Castles and Miller, The Age of Migration: 8-9.
86. Philip Martin, "Trade, Aid, and Migration," International Migration Review 26, no. 1 (Spring 1992):
162-72.
87. UN High Commissioner for Refugees, State of the World’s Refugees 1997-1998: A Humanitarian
Approach (New York: Oxford University Press, 1998).
88. UNAIDS and WHO, Report on the Global HIV/AIDS Epidemic: 12; and Lawrence K. Altman, "Parts
of Africa Showing HIV in 1 in 4 Adults," The New York Times, June 24, 1998, sec. A: p. 1.
89. United Nations, Report on the World Social Situation 1997 (New York: United Nations, 1997): 68.
© 1999 Population Reference Bureau
Copyright 1999 Population Reference Bureau. This text may not be reproduced or reprinted in any
form without the express written permission of the Population Reference Bureau. For information,
please call or write to Permissions, PRB, 1875 Connecticut Ave., NW, Suite 520, Washington, DC
20009; 202/483-1100. Or e-mail: popref@prb.org. See our copyright policy.
World Population Beyond Six Billion-- Part V
http://www.prb.org/pubs/bulletin/bu54-1/part5.htm (6 of 6) [3/28/2000 10:15:55 AM]
POPULATION BULLETIN
Vol.53 No. 3
September 1998
Population: A Lively Introduction
By Joseph A. McFalls, Jr.
This Population Bulletin, published in September 1998, presents the basic
what, why, and how of the study of demography. Just updated with latest
data, this bulletin discusses the basic forces of demographic
change—fertility, mortality, and migration—and common assessment
measures. It also introduces major population-related issues such as
environmental degradation and poverty in the developing world.
order the complete 48-page bulletin
view a list of related publications
Table of Contents
Introduction
Fertility
Mortality
Migration
Population Size and Growth
Population Composition
Population Distribution
Population Growth Issues
Concern About Population
Conclusion
TablesThe 15 Major Causes of Death: United States, 1995
U.S. Population by Residence One Year Ago, March 1997
Figures
U.S. Birth Rates by Age of Mother, Selected Age Groups, 1955 to
Population: A Lively Introduction
http://www.prb.org/pubs/bulletin/bu53-3.htm (1 of 4) [3/28/2000 10:15:55 AM]
1996
Age Patterns of Fertility: Japan, the United States, and Zambia, 1996Life Expectancy at Selected Ages for Males and Females: Japan,
1995
U.S. Death Rates by Age for Males, 1900 and 1996Percentage of People Who Moved Last Year, by Age: Japan and the
United States, 1996
Population Pyramids: Kenya, United States, and Italy, 1995Germany's Population by Age and Sex, 1996Population of the United Arab Emirates, by Age and Sex, 1995Changing Distribution of World Population, 1950, 1998, and 2050Population Growth or Decline in U.S. Counties, 1990 to 1997World Population Growth Through HistoryThe Classic Stages of Demographic Transition
BoxesThe Intermediate Variables That Affect Fertility
Fertility Measures
How Often Do People Move?
The Demographic Balancing Equation
Households and Families
Where Do Demographic Data Come From?
Suggested Resources
General Texts and References
Cohen, Joel E. How Many People Can the Earth Support? New York: W.W. Norton & Co., 1995.
Daugherty, Helen Ginn, and Kenneth C.W. Kammeyer. An Introduction to Population, 2d ed. New
York: Guilford Press, 1995.
Farley, Reynolds, ed. State of the Union: America in the 1990s, Vols. 1 and 2. New York: Russell Sage
Foundation, 1995.
Haupt, Arthur, and Thomas T. Kane. Population Handbook, 4th ed. Washington, DC: Population
Reference Bureau, 1997.
Jones, Brian J., Bernard J. Gallagher, and Joseph A. McFalls. Sociology: Micro, Macro, and Mega
Structures. Ft. Worth, TX: Harcourt-Brace, 1995.
McFalls, Joseph A., Jr. "Population: A Lively Introduction." Revised 3d ed. Population Bulletin 53, no.
3. Washington, DC: Population Reference Bureau, 1998.
Nam, Charles B. Understanding Population Change. Itasca, IL: R.E. Peacock Publishers, Inc., 1994.
Weeks, John R. Population: An Introduction to Concepts and Issues, 6th ed. San Francisco:
Wadsworth Publishing Company, 1996.
Web Sites
National Center for Health Statistics, reports and statistics
http://www.cdc.gov/nchswww/products/pubs/pubd/netpubs.htm
PopNet (Population Reference Bureau), links to population-related web sites
Population: A Lively Introduction
http://www.prb.org/pubs/bulletin/bu53-3.htm (2 of 4) [3/28/2000 10:15:55 AM]
http://www.popnet.org
Population Index (Princeton University), bibliographic database
http://popindex.princeton.edu
Population Reference Bureau, statistics and information
http://www.prb.org
U.S. Bureau of the Census, reports and statistics
http://www.census.gov
Selected Population Bulletins
U.S. Population Trends and Issues
De Vita, Carol J. "The United States at Mid-Decade." Vol. 50, no. 4 (1995).
Migration/Immigration
Gober, Patricia. "Americans on the Move." Vol. 43, no. 3 (1993).
Martin, Philip, and Elizabeth Midgley. "Immigration to the United States: Journey to an Unknown
Destination." Vol. 49, no. 2 (1994).
Martin, Philip, and Jonas Widgren. "International Migration: A Global Challenge." Vol. 51, no. 1 (1996).
Race and Ethnicity
Del Pinal, Jorge, and Audrey Singer. "Generations of Diversity: Latinos in the United States." Vol. 52,
no. 3 (1997).
Lee, Sharon M. "Asian Americans: Diverse and Growing." Vol. 53, no. 2 (1998).
Family and Social Welfare
Bianchi, Suzanne M., and Daphne Spain. "Women, Work, and Family in America." Vol. 51, no. 3
(1996).
O’Hare, William P. "A New Look at Poverty in America." Vol. 51, no. 2 (1996).
World Population Trends and Issues
Ashford, Lori S. "New Perspectives on Population—Lessons from Cairo," Vol. 50, no. 1 (1995).
Livernash, Robert, and Eric Rodenburg. "Population Change, Resources, and the Environment," Vol.
53, no. 1 (1998).
Related PRB Publications
Here are several more PRB publications that complement the information in
this Bulletin on population issues:
1999 World Population Data Sheet and Book Edition
PRB’s popular World Population Data Sheet, in a wallchart format and a
12-page book edition, contains the latest population estimates, projections,
and other key indicators for 200 countries, including births, deaths, natural
increase, infant mortality, total fertility, life expectancy, urban population,
contraceptive use, GNP per capita, land area, and population per square
mile. This year's special essay is "The Century of Population."
1999 United States Population Data Sheet
In addition to a state-by-state rundown on population, projected
Population: A Lively Introduction
http://www.prb.org/pubs/bulletin/bu53-3.htm (3 of 4) [3/28/2000 10:15:55 AM]
growth in 2015, age structure, and other demographic variables, the data
sheet lists current and projected population by race and Hispanic origin and
the racial/ethnic share of the total child
1998 Women of Our World
This wallchart provides the latest data available for more than 150
countries on the quality of women’s lives around the world—their health,
education, work, and participation in politics.
Population Handbook, U.S. edition
This handbook is a quick guide to population dynamics. The
handbook explains how to calculate and use major rates, ratios, and other
measures of demography. Also includes a guide to major population
organizations (including their World Wide Web addresses).
© 1998 Population Reference Bureau
Copyright 1998 Population Reference Bureau. This text may not be reproduced or reprinted in any
form without the express written permission of the Population Reference Bureau. For information,
please call or write to Permissions, PRB, 1875 Connecticut Ave., NW, Suite 520, Washington, DC
20009; 202/483-1100. Or e-mail: popref@prb.org. See our copyright policy.
Population: A Lively Introduction
http://www.prb.org/pubs/bulletin/bu53-3.htm (4 of 4) [3/28/2000 10:15:55 AM]
POPULATION BULLETIN
Vol.53 No. 1
March 1998
Population Change, Resources, and
the Environment
By Robert Livernash and Eric Rodenburg
This Population Bulletin, published in March 1998, examines the likely global
impacts of population growth and distribution on food supply, energy
consumption, emission of greenhouse gases, forests, oceans, and other
environmental factors. The authors review various models developed to
explore the complex relationships among population change, consumption
levels, resources, and environmental health, and they discuss the various
philosophical perspectives that affect the interpretation of model results.
order the complete 40-page bulletin
view a list of related publications
Table of Contents
Introduction
The Population-Environment Debate
Population Trends and Development Pressures
Poverty and Wealth
Renewable Resources
Nonrenewable Resources
Meeting Future Needs
TablesProjections of Energy Consumption Growth Under Various Scenarios,
1990-2010
Figures
Three Scenarios of World Population Growth, 1900-2150Population Growth by Region, 1995-2050Urban and Rural Population Growth, 1950-2030Recycling of Paper Products and Glass in the United States,
Germany, and the United Kingdom, 1980 and 1995
Increase in Motor Vehicles, 1970-2010World Marine Harvest, 1950-1995World Copper Reserves and Annual Consumption, 1980s to 1994
Population Change, Resources, and the Environment
http://www.prb.org/pubs/bulletin/bu53-1.htm (1 of 3) [3/28/2000 10:15:56 AM]
World Production of Fossil Fuels by Type, 1950-1995Commercial Energy Consumption per Capita by World Region, 1995
BoxesThe Mauritius Model
Greenhouse Gases and Climate Change
Tracking Natural Resource Material Flows
Suggested Readings
Cassen, Robert, and contributors. Population and Development: Old Debates, New Conclusions. New
Brunswick, ME and Oxford, UK: Transaction Publishers, 1994.
Clark, William C., and Robert W. Kates, eds. The Earth as Transformed by Human Action. Cambridge,
UK: Cambridge University Press, 1990.
Clarke, John I., and Líon Tabah, eds. Population-Environment-Development Interactions. Paris:
CICRED, 1995.
Cohen, Joel E. How Many People Can the Earth Support? New York: W.W. Norton & Co., 1995.
Davis, Kingsley, and Mikhail S. Bernstam, eds. Resources, Environment, and Population: Present
Knowledge, Future Options. Special Supplement to Population and Development Review 19. New
York: Oxford University Press, 1991.
Ness, Gayl, William D. Drake, and Steven R. Brechin, eds. Population-Environment Dynamics: Ideas
and Observations. Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Press, 1993.
UNEP, Global Environment Outlook. New York: Oxford University Press, 1997.
Zaba, Basia, and John I. Clarke, eds. Environment and Population Change. Liege, Belgium: Derouaux
Ordina Editions, 1994.
Discussion Questions
1. The authors state that as societies grow wealthier, some environmental problems are expected to
lessen, while others will get worse. Explain this statement using concrete examples.
2. Which world regions are most likely to face water scarcity in the future? What new or different
policies could alleviate water scarcity?
3. Discuss the impact of the continued increase in motor vehicles on resource use, habitat, and local
and global ecosystems.
4. If you were advising the president of the United States on environmental issues, which two issues
would you recommend he or she give top priority? Defend your selections and outline your policy
recommendations.
5. Outline the major factors contributing to global warming in industrialized and less industrialized
countries. Suggest several steps each can take to slow the accumulation of carbon dioxide in the
atmosphere.
Discussion questions prepared by Kimberly A. Crews
Related PRB Publications
Here are several more PRB publications that complement the information in
this Bulletin on population and the environment:
Population & Environment Dynamics
A colorful wallchart highlighting 11 population and environment
indicators for most developing countries.
Population Change, Resources, and the Environment
http://www.prb.org/pubs/bulletin/bu53-1.htm (2 of 3) [3/28/2000 10:15:56 AM]
Water and Population Dynamics: Local Approaches to a Global Challenge
A report of the findings of the World Conservation Conference, held in
Montreal in 1996.
Population, Food, and Nutrition
Population Bulletin that discusses worldwide food supply and
demand.
Adventures on Earth: Exploring Our Global Links
A classroom guide for educating students about the environment.
© 1998 Population Reference Bureau
Copyright 1998 Population Reference Bureau. This text may not be reproduced or reprinted in any
form without the express written permission of the Population Reference Bureau. For information,
please call or write to Permissions, PRB, 1875 Connecticut Ave., NW, Suite 520, Washington, DC
20009; 202/483-1100. Or e-mail: popref@prb.org. See our copyright policy.
Population Change, Resources, and the Environment
http://www.prb.org/pubs/bulletin/bu53-1.htm (3 of 3) [3/28/2000 10:15:56 AM]
... This further confirmed that young women are affected by poverty due to their single marital status (Utaminingsih et al., 2021;Anggarwal, 2012) because they they do not have a husband to depend on. The causes of poverty among younger and older women are almost similar, except the latter older women are much more likely to live independently (McLanahan & Kelly, 2006;Treas, 1995). Nevertheless, generally, women tend to be associated with poverty (Oyekanmi & Moliki, 2021;Masud & Zainalaludin, 2018) and are poorer than men (Holmes & Jones, 2011). ...
Article
Full-text available
This paper mainly aims to show the poverty incidents among elderly Malaysians by sex disaggregation. In detail, this paper aims (RO-1) to profile the economic background of the respondents by age categories and sex disaggregation; (RO-2) to differentiate the mean of household income by poverty level, age categories, and sex of the respondents; and (RO-3) to measure the relationship between the level of poverty and age categories by sex disaggregation. A total of n=4428 respondents participated in this study, drawn from 100 districts with 20,000 population of the elderly. Descriptive analyses, t-tests, and chi-square tests were conducted to achieve the objectives. Under RO-2, four null hypotheses were tested (there was no difference of mean household income among-poor and younger (Ho 1), non-poor and younger (Ho 2), poor and older (Ho 3), and non-poor and older (Ho 4); respondents by sex disaggregation respectively). Only Ho 3 shows a significant (p<0.05) difference in mean household income among poor and older male and female respondents. Therefore, only Ho 3 was rejected whilst Ho 1 , Ho 2 , Ho 4 was failed to be rejected. Under RO-3, three null hypotheses were tested (there was no relationship between poverty levels and age categories among male respondents (Ho 5) and among female respondents (Ho 7), respectively). The Ho 5 and Ho 6 revealed significant (p<0.05) relationships between level of poverty and age categories among male and female respondents through Chi-square. Thus, Ho 5 and Ho 6 were rejected. This study concludes that older men and women are poorer than younger ones. Therefore, poverty is not only a gender issue but also an age-related issue.
... Many studies advocate that majority of the aged people choose to live independently and age in place (Chappell et al. 2004;Karuppannan & Sivam2013;Sivam 2011). However, it is often restricted due to provision of facilities that vary with age (Treas 1995) and its attainment will rely on the degree to which occupants are contented with the physical components of their house, neighbourhood and social environment (Karuppannan & Sivam 2008). ...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
The population of aged people is increasing dramatically throughout the world and this demographic variation is generating different challenges for societies, families and individuals in many ways. One of the effective approaches for responding towards demographic ageing is to have more evidences on creating age-friendly communities. Despite of having number of researches on ageing, there is limited knowledge on identifying components for developing age-friendly communities and cities. This research therefore, aims at discovering the benefits of properly designed age-friendly communities and interrelationships of key related concepts. To accomplish this aim, relevant research papers have been reviewed and subjected to thematic analysis. This study emphasizes on improving the overall wellbeing of elderly not only by finding out the improvement strategies on the health care facilities but also by finding strong evidences on benefits of designing their housing and immediate outdoor environment. Therefore, this study recommends future research directions on developing built environments responsive to the aspirations and requirements of aged population which can not only assist the adoption and maintenance of an active lifestyle, but it can also be beneficial to the physical and psychological overall well-being of aged population. More studies on planning urban environmental settings targeting aged population can be beneficial to not only aged people but for people from every age group. Thus, these settings will be advantageous for anyone with varying requirements with changing generational needs and lifestyles from a child to a couple to aged people.
... Studies suggest that there may be differences within the older age group. They may not be a homogenous group Treas (1995) suggests that age 65 is now ju st an arbitrary marker for entry into old age. She suggests that it is those over 75 or 85 who are most vulnerable to the problems o f old age. ...
Thesis
Attachment Theory is regarded as relevant from 'cradle to grave' but little research has focused on older people. It has also been established as an important framework within which to understand individual reactions to the death of a loved one. The reactions to grief are wide ranging and for some people can be extremely long lasting and have detrimental effects on physical and mental health. Research on younger adults has identified a number of common risk factors (mode of death, relationship to the deceased, previous mental health difficulties and social support) after a death. The primary aim of the current study was to explore the effects of attachment and the identified risk factors in younger people, in a sample of older people who had lost a significant other. The study utilised a retrospective non-randomised post-test only design with thirty two people aged over sixty-five. The participants were drawn from four sources (bereavement support groups, bereavement counselling service, psychologists for older people, the community) and had been bereaved for between nine months and thirty years. Only two people were interviewed from the community and thus these two were not included in sub-group comparisons. There were no systematic differences between the other three source groups in terms of gender, marital status or occupation. All participants were assisted in completing a number of self-report questionnaires relating to their psychological well-being, attachment style, relationship with their parents during childhood, social support and questions about the bereavement Despite the length of time that some people had been bereaved, the death of a significant other had a lasting impact on all the participants. The findings indicated that attachment style and quality of parenting did not have any significant relationship with psychological well-being. Further findings indicated that the other risk factors identified in younger people after a bereavement were important in an older sample. Older people experienced less psychological well-being if the death had been sudden, if the death was of an adult-child, if they had experienced a number of deaths within a short time frame, if they were not satisfied with their social support and if they had few social supports. The measure of psychological well-being used had a strong effect on the importance of the various risk factors. The findings of the study are limited by the possible biases of a retrospective, non- randomised design and also by the measures of attachment and quality of parenting that were used These measures were not validated with the current sample (i.e. older and bereaved) in mind Despite these limitations the findings offer some support that after a death of a significant other, older people suffer from the same factors of risk as younger people. There is also a strong indication that the impact of the death of a significant other has a lifelong effect on psychological well-being which is not easily altered by the experience of receiving psychological or supportive help. These findings will be discussed in relation to the experiences of older people and the implications for health professional.
... Well-coordinated individual health care should include professional services and family support. Even though, for a long time it has been estimated that care is increasingly shifting towards non-family assistance (Treas, 1995) and therefore results in increasing healthcare budgets, family members and friends still provide most long-term care for older people for free (Rechel et al., 2013). Integrating and training family, friends and neighbours in health care of older adults is regarded as important for better social inclusion. ...
Article
Cities need to adapt to ageing societies because the average age of habitants is increasing rapidly alongside the global trend of urbanisation. Apparent effects on both society and individual livelihoods will continue to increase in the coming decades. Great hopes are projected on technology to support solutions for the ageing society and urban planning. Smart city strategies and the field of ambient assisted living are two concepts sharing the assumption that technology will make our lives more independent, more efficient and safer with a higher quality of life. This paper presents a case study of a participatory foresight project that investigates how transdisciplinary agenda setting through the means of including citizens, experts and stakeholders can provide orientation for long-term planning on the future of ageing in the city. Results enforce the argument that urban governance needs to address additional tasks whilst adapting to challenges arising from ageing societies and urbanisation. Alongside mere technological innovation, human factors gain importance. Future-oriented urban development strategies need to incorporate this fact and should not predominantly be drafted on the paradigm of technological progress.