We are pleased to announce the winners of our 2013 NPG Essay Scholarship Contest. Each year, NPG conducts an Essay Scholarship for high school and undergradute students.
Explain how population growth has negatively affected your community. What solutions do you propose to ensure a decent quality of life for your generation 30 years from now?
Projected Population Growth:
A Negative Prospect in Need of Control
By Bailey Cassidy
The population of the United States is projected to reach 438 million within the next 40 years if no critical changes are made. This is an alarming statistic considering the current population is approximately 312 million and already struggling to distribute scarce resources amongst all the people living in the country. This projected population growth will have adverse economic, social and environmental impacts on the United States.
The projected population growth will negatively impact the economy in the United States. Economics is defined as the study of how people seek to satisfy their needs and wants using scarce resources. When there are even more humans in the United States competing for these scarce resources, it will be even more difficult for people to satisfy their needs and wants than it already is. As population grows, the number of buyers in the market grows, thus increasing the demand for goods and services. Goods and services are scarce, as people have unlimited wants and limited resources available to them; therefore, when the population of buyers in the market grows, people will demand more resources than the world is able to provide.
Similarly, when more people are living in the United States, the unemployment rate will increase as more people will be in this country and looking for jobs. This is unfortunate because the current job market does not have enough jobs for all job seekers; the unemployment rate in the U.S. is currently 8.5%, which is quite high (1). This number is not expected to decrease significantly in the year to come, meaning that things are likely to get worse before they get better (2). Thus, as the population grows, there will be more job seekers in the country competing for jobs that are already in short supply. Additionally, the U.S. struggles to keep out illegal immigrants, so if they continue to cross the border successfully, they will be competing for jobs that U.S. citizens are attempting to land. Although illegal immigrants often take lower paying jobs, due to the high unemployment rate that the U.S. currently has, many U.S. citizens who have qualifications for higher paying jobs settle for lower paying ones because a small income is better than no income at all. Thus, as the U.S. population grows, it becomes more difficult for citizens to find jobs in an already challenging job market.
The adverse economic impacts likely to be caused by the projected population growth will negatively affect social conditions in the U.S. More unemployment in this country will undoubtedly lead to more families being unable to make ends meet. This can lead to lower standards of living across the country as families are unable to afford the cars, gadgets and other items that they once were able to incorporate into their lives. Also, projected population growth will lead to lower education standards across the country as students and teachers will be forced to exist in overcrowded schools, which hinders the learning experience and the quality of education. This is unfortunate because education is the foundation for each child’s future, and without a proper foundation, future generations will definitely suffer when those students enter the working world. Another negative social effect of the projected population growth is that population growth has been proven to be linked to increased warfare. The more a population grows, the more instability exists in the country, which often leads to wars (3).
Perhaps the most drastic effect of the projected population growth will be on the environment. Currently, the U.S. is responsible for 22% of the world’s carbon emissions, which is a major cause of global warming (4). If the amount of people currently living in this country are capable of generating that volume of carbon emissions, imagine how easily that quantity will increase when over 126 million more people are living in this country than there currently are. Global warming is already a severe issue for the planet and the projected population growth will only make this issue more serious.
The only way for the U.S. to prevent itself from reaching the projected population growth is through strict legislation intended to control population growth. Examples of such legislation could include measures to control illegal immigration, or monetary rewards to citizens who keep their birth rate at two children or fewer per family. Although not an easy task, population growth in the United States could most certainly be controlled through these options, and everyone in the country would benefit from that in the future.
World population, now over 7.3 billion, is predicted to rise to 9 billion by 2050, an increase of almost two billion, or 23%, in the short space of only 34 years from now.In the highly unlikely event that per capita greenhouse gas emissions could possibly be decreased by an equal percentage in such a short space of time (a blink of an eye) the total amount of worldwide emission would remain the same!
From this simple illustration it would appear that without drastically reducing the size of world population, there is no solution to the problem.None at all.So then why do our world leaders pretend that there is one?What is to be gained by pretending rather than by proposing a solution that would solve the problem – a reduction in the size of world population to not more than 1- 2 billion?
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