We are pleased to announce the winners of our 2017 NPG Essay Scholarship Contest. Each year, NPG conducts an Essay or Written Scholarship for high school and undergradute students.
President Donald Trump and the more than 50 new Members of the 115th Congress should learn about the critical issue of U.S. population size and growth. Students are requested to provide NPG with a three- to five-point plan to educate these freshmen legislators about the sources of U.S. population growth, as well as policy suggestions to slow, halt, and eventually reverse our growth in order to preserve America’s environment, economy, natural resources, and quality of life.
by Caitlin Stock – Brigham Young University, Provo, UT
It is disheartening to hear rampant crime rates, natural disasters, and environmental pollution are on the rise. It is painful to imagine thousands of people born into poverty every year with little chance of success. It is uncomfortable to picture overburdened infrastructure in overcrowded cities, inadequate living conditions for families, and few educational opportunities for children. These disasters are not the result of poorly designed cities or ignored social policies; rather, these are the direct results of human overpopulation. While the issue is pushed to the back of political hot topics, human overpopulation stands as the root of most political problems. If the population growth in the United States remains unchecked, the domestic and environmental issues will only worsen over time. The United States can no longer afford to destroy itself and the planet by allowing this problem to continue. However, through a concentrated effort of all Americans, population growth can be slowed, halted, and eventually reversed.
To understand population growth, it is best to examine its sources. There are two main sources of US population growth: immigration and births. Immigration is the largest source, with over 1 million people legally entering the US each year. The second largest source is births to American mothers, totaling roughly 3.95 million per year. Of these births, about 295,000 belong to undocumented immigrants. With these numbers, the nation will face problems in providing for an exponentially-increasing population. Three policies must be made by US representatives as a solution to this problem.
The first point to reverse the constant growth requires heavy restrictions on immigration. Stricter rules and policies must be implemented to discourage illegal entrance and visa-overstaying in the US. Funding for immigration agents needs to be increased so that immigrants who overstay visas are sent back when they expire. Businesses and industries that knowingly hire undocumented immigrants must face heavy fines and criminal charges per immigrant. Border security must be tightened and funded to keep immigrants from entering the US on foot. The process of deportation must be streamlined; immigration courts should not have an appeal process. The rules of citizenship need to change such that babies born to two US citizens enjoy full citizenship. Babies born to illegal immigrants as a means to stay in the US are further contributing to the US population base.
To curb births per year is to provide better education about reproduction. About 1.6 million births in the US belong to unwed mothers, equaling about 40% of the total US birth count. To reduce this number, education about contraception and family planning needs to be properly funded and widely accessible. Schools that teach sexual education must present medically accurate information about reproduction and contraception. Contraceptive methods must be available, especially to those living in low-income areas. Abortion must be legalized and accessible to women in all areas of the United States.
The third point to stop excessive growth is to educate young men and women while promoting the small family size. Colleges and universities should aim to educate young people to enter the workforce and earn a decent living before starting families. Along with funding family planning programs, the two-child family size must be advocated. Families that have more than two children should not receive tax benefits or government assistance for the third child, the fourth child, and so on. Government assistance programs should reorganize their focus to prioritize small families over large families.
The US stands at the cusp of an enormous problem. The number of people coming into and being born in the US is on the rise, and the constant increase is burdening our environment, infrastructure, and our social services. Policy makers, representatives, and politicians can reverse this trend to bring a positive change to the US demographic. Curtailing immigration, rethinking family size and benefit programs, and providing quality education are the means by which the US can lead the world in population reduction. Now is the time to make a collective, concentrated effort to slow and reverse the harmful trend. Acting now can save the United States and future generations from the disasters, issues, and national fears far too common today.
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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