FOCUS ON FLORIDA:
POPULATION, RESOURCES, and QUALITY OF LIFE
Floridas fledgling growth management efforts are likely to be overwhelmed by the states projected population increase of more than 5.5 million in the next 25 years. Unless immediate steps are taken, population growth will further strain already overcrowded schools and highways, swallow up the states farmland and valued open space, and have a dire effect on water supplies.
Thats the conclusion of noted population policy experts Dr. Leon Bouvier and Sharon McCloe Stein, in a new Negative Population Growth (NPG) report on the likely impact of Floridas population trends.
In the report Focus on Florida: Population, Resources, and Quality of Life, Bouvier and Stein look at how Florida is bearing up under the pressure for more housing, roads, and schools. In recent years, Floridians have begun to address growth issues, but growth control efforts cannot succeed without addressing population increases. Because Florida has no plan to limit population growth, Bouvier and Stein warn, current population trends will generate even more traffic congestion and sprawl, open space will continue to vanish, and 16,000 new teachers will have to be hired every year to keep up with growing enrollments. Diminishing water quality and availability, air pollution, traffic congestion, and an overwhelmed infrastructure will cause a rapid deterioration of quality of life in Florida.
Escaping this fate, say Bouvier and Stein, depends on a unified state commitment to stop rewarding development combined with strong incentives to reduce the states future population size. They propose a variety of approaches for Florida residents to pursue at the federal, state, and local level, including:
Polls show that most Florida voters believe continued population growth will worsen the quality of life in the state. Over 70 percent believe Floridas overcrowding and overpopulation is a major problem. Nearly 60 percent believe that adding another five million people to Floridas population is a serious problem. Forty percent say Florida has become a less comfortable place to live over the past five years. And 68 percent agree that Florida would be better-off in the long term with a smaller population to maintain a sound economy and a healthy environment.
Permission to reprint is granted in advance. Please acknowledge source and author, and notify NPG.
In addition to this report, NPG also publishes:
NPG Forums, articles about population, immigration, natural resources, and the environment;
NPG Footnotes, shorter articles on topical issues; and
NPG Position Papers.
Founded in 1972, NPG is a national membership organization advocating a gradual and voluntary reduction of world and U.S. populations to more sustainable levels.
Florida Survey Results
NPG Special Report: Focus on Florida: Population, Resources, and Quality of Life
Florida Population Facts & Figures