Many politicians, the public, and some scientists still think that economic development is a major cause of reduced birth rates in developing countries. We tested this belief empirically in a recently published long-term study of many countries (1970-2014). We found no relationships between fertility and economic growth, but a strong association with modern contraception: birth rates … Continue reading Fertility decline in developing countries does not depend on economic growth but follows contraceptive use
According to the United Nations Population Fund, reaching a global human population of 8 billion is an achievement to be celebrated. In “a world of infinite possibilities,” they state, “imagine the boundless paths 8 billion can take.” Rather than taking refuge in irresponsible fantasies, it’s time our bloated societies reckoned honesty with demographic reality. By … Continue reading Eight Billion – Our Greatest Mistake
The United States of America is becoming a theocracy. The Dobbs decision has bypassed the Congress by having the Supreme Court establish a de facto religion which forces unwilling women to become mothers. By Richard Grossman, MD © 2022 For years I have hesitated to write about the effect of religion on population. My hesitation has … Continue reading In America, reproductive rights have fallen prey to a creeping theocracy
Are many tiny ecological footprints more virtuous than fewer, larger ones? Will they be better for the Earth, or easier to accomplish? These hard questions need to be asked as humanity hurtles past 8 billion people and deeper into ecological overshoot. By Gaia Baracetti You've all heard the argument: high birth rates in poor countries … Continue reading The per capita fallacy
Recent research suggests lack of contraception and high desired family size both hinder population stabilization in Africa. We call on the newly elected Swedish government to prioritize international family planning aid, resuming a valuable Swedish tradition. By Frank Götmark, Nordhild Wetzler, Malte Andersson, Carl Wahren, Karl-Erik Norrman An Op-Ed originally published in Svenska Dagbladet … Continue reading Time for Sweden to resume focus on international family planning aid
How important were immigration issues in the recent electoral triumph of Giorgia Meloni’s Fratelli d’Italia party? TOP’s chief Italian correspondent gives us her analysis. by Gaia Baracetti History does repeat itself - but not in the obvious way. One could fear we're witnessing a second March on Rome exactly a century after the first, but … Continue reading The role of immigration in Italy’s recent election
A recent letter in Biological Conservation criticized TOP researchers for writing about how more people means less space for wildlife. We responded that without limiting our numbers, people will not be able to protect the natural world. Who’s right? Please share your thoughts and ideas in the on-line comments below. by The Overpopulation Project This … Continue reading Conserving biodiversity means limiting human numbers
We’ve all heard the aphorism ‘Lies, damned lies and statistics.’ Statistics are an invaluable tool for understanding and responding appropriately to the world, but when the numbers say one thing and the headlines say another, it’s a cause for concern. TOP takes a dive into World Population Prospects 2022. by Jane O’Sullivan The world’s population … Continue reading World population is growing faster than we thought
In TOP, we have researched what causes the birth rate and family size to fall in developing countries. A major factor has been voluntary family planning programs in countries like Costa Rica, Iran and South Korea. In current academic literature, the dominating paradigm is increased education of women. In developmental aid, “reproductive health” is often … Continue reading What do citizens of a donor country think drives fertility decline in low-income countries?
While contraception in Sub-Saharan Africa is still considered taboo in many religious settings and children are viewed as a “gift from God”, some religious leaders are actively promoting the importance of family planning and considering its role in population growth. In this last part of our series on religion, fertility and contraceptive use in Sub-Saharan … Continue reading Religion, Fertility and Contraceptive Use in Sub-Saharan Africa, Part 6: Progressive Religious Organisations
While statistical analyses of data can paint a picture of contraception and fertility trends in Sub-Saharan Africa, much can also be learned from speaking directly with citizens. In Part 5 of our series, we examine focus group discussions and in-depth interviews conducted by researchers with local groups across Sub-Saharan Africa. From such work, one gains … Continue reading Religion, Fertility and Contraception in Sub-Saharan Africa, Part 5: Views and Opinions of the Local People
8 Billion Angels is a rare full-length environmental film focused on population issues. Producer Terry Spahr joins Phil Cafaro for a discussion of the making of this fascinating film in an episode from season two of The Population Factor. by the Overpopulation Project 8 Billion Angels is both visually stunning and thought-provoking. If you haven’t … Continue reading The Making of 8 Billion Angels
The act of having children is interpersonal rather than personal, however, it has long been treated as a personal and isolated decision. This dysfunctional parent-focused model is at the heart of our ecological crises and was created by governments to ensure population growth and evade collective responsibility to invest in kids and our ecological communities. … Continue reading Humane Families: Towards Existential Justice and Freedom
Should you bring children into a crowded and ecologically declining world? More and more young people are asking themselves this question. One woman explores her personal choice in a global perspective. by Gaia Baracetti It's definitely a thing now. Here in the West at least there seems to be an almost incessant flow of articles … Continue reading The decision to forego childbearing
How does affiliation with different Christian denominations influence fertility? In a study1 from a Christian high-fertility area in Mozambique, Victor Agadjanian and Scott Yabiku examine fertility from two perspectives: dynamically, by looking at risks of births in any given year, and cumulatively, by the number of children ever born versus length of membership in a … Continue reading Religion, Religiosity, Fertility and Contraception in Sub-Saharan Africa: Part 3, A Study of Christian Denominations in Mozambique
Among the eight regional groups used for the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), only Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) is projected to sustain a rapid population growth up to 2100, while the seven other regions either have started to decline, or are projected to stabilise, by 21001. In SSA, many countries have a young population; 40-50% … Continue reading Religion and Fertility in Sub-Saharan Africa – Part 2, Differences Among Denominations
Sometime this decade, India is set to overtake China as the most populous nation on Earth. Below, a reader from India reflects on what these immense numbers mean for his country’s future. Despite being in the position of being able to have a family of his own, he chooses not to in protest. For him … Continue reading Past, present, and future population: a personal account of India
The unsustainable growth of the global population needs to be halted through informed voluntary action. Coercive population policies such as those used in China are unacceptable. On the other hand, many millions of women and couples around the world face pro-natalist forms of coercion, such as being forced to give birth to unwanted children, in … Continue reading Coercion and population policies, Part 2 – the remarkable case of Peru
The current pandemic has had many severe consequences, but it has also acted as a reminder of the need for international cooperation when facing global challenges. Continued environmental destruction will likely increase the risk for future pandemics. Population growth is one of the main driving factors of the continued encroachment into nature and needs to … Continue reading Earth Wars: Nature Strikes Back
The unsustainable growth of the global population needs to be halted through informed voluntary action, including empowerment of women, family planning and increased use of modern contraceptives. Coercive population policies such as those used for 35 years in China, in India 1975-77, and more recently in Peru, are unacceptable and must be condemned. But many … Continue reading Coercion and population policies, Part 1
Many of today's environmental problems are more due to population growth than climate change, and climate change is driven in part by continued global population growth. Development funding to make family planning and modern contraceptives universally available could make a big difference in solving these interlocking problems. By Malte Andersson, Frank Götmark, and Anders Wijkman … Continue reading Humanity needs to halt both population growth and climate change
Doctors have played a vital role in lowering mortality and increasing human life span and well-being. While representing a humanitarian success, this achievement has also contributed to a rapid increase in human numbers. In 1972, 52 physicians took responsibility for their role in this success and signed a call for action against overpopulation, through education, … Continue reading Pay Attention, Healthcare Workers!
by N.R. Baker According to the well-known metaphor, if you were to put a live frog into boiling water, it would – very wisely – leap straight out again. However, if you put the frog into tepid water that was then brought slowly to the boil, the hapless creature would be cooked before it even … Continue reading Boiling Frogs
Saturday, September 26th is World Contraception Day. This key date is a reminder that access to affordable contraception and reproductive health services is a fundamental human right across the globe. Furthermore, family planning and reproductive autonomy (particularly in the Global South), together with lowering our personal environmental impacts (particularly in the Global North) is fundamental … Continue reading Why global support for contraception is critical in the pandemic age
The Overpopulation Project is pleased to announce its most recent publication, “Population growth and climate change: Addressing the overlooked threat multiplier” published in Science of the Total Environment. Through a review of national and global studies, the paper describes the emission reduction and vulnerability reduction benefits of slowing population growth, and outlines policies that can … Continue reading Population growth and climate change: environmental threat multipliers – a new publication from TOP
Since the fall of the Eastern bloc, both Ukraine and Romania have seen their populations shrink. Driven by rural to urban migration, low fertility rates, and substantial emigration, the depopulation in the Danube Delta region has opened up large areas to rewilding efforts. With a history of irrigation and altered river dynamics, restoration and reintroduction … Continue reading A Decreasing Population Furthers Rewilding Efforts in Romania’s and Ukraine’s Danube Delta
A major media storm has erupted about a new scientific paper published in the Lancet claiming that global population will soon peak and decline. The prospect is met with doom and gloom, rather than jubilation. But Jane O’Sullivan finds many reasons to challenge both the claim and its assumed economic threat. By escalating unfounded fears … Continue reading Will global population peak below 10 billion?
Societies can avoid a world population of 10.8 billion and related disasters – with education, contraception and emphasis on sustainability. by Joe Bish Human civilization faces a severe long-range mismatch between sustainable food yields and global population size. Some experts suggest a population sized at approximately two people per arable hectare would be ecologically sustainable. … Continue reading Addressing Population Challenge Is Not Impossible
In the Croatian alps, declining human populations have gone hand in hand with expansions of protected lands and resurgent wildlife populations. Large predators are finding their way back to the region now that the anthropogenic pressures have lightened, and rewilding efforts have ensured the comeback of both mountain-dwelling herbivores and large grazers on the adjacent … Continue reading Fewer People = More Wild Nature in Croatia’s Velebit Mountains
With decreasing populations in parts of rural Europe and marginal agricultural lands being abandoned, Europe is in a strong position to return land to wilderness. At the northern end of the border between Poland and Germany lies the Oder delta, where rewilding efforts on land and in water have contributed to a quick recovery of … Continue reading Restoring Abandoned Land in the Oder Delta Gives New Opportunities for Wildlife in Germany and Poland
Population growth depends strongly on fertility rates, so it is important to study factors that determine fertility. Despite much research, there is no consensus about the most important factors involved, except that contraceptive use can be effective. Factors correlated with declining as well as increasing or high fertility should be studied simultaneously. Religiosity is potentially … Continue reading Fertility levels in global regions and countries: what is the role of religion?
Depopulation has led to abandonment of less fertile agricultural lands throughout Europe. Portugal, with its declining population, is a prime example. In the Côa Valley, the abandonment of farmland has been turned into an opportunity for rewilding efforts to create new wilderness. Already the valley has seen the return of many endangered species, such as … Continue reading Fewer people leads the way to rewilding in Portugal
by Philip Cafaro In my experience teaching environmental ethics to college students and advocating for sustainable policies in the United States, the biggest obstacle to good discussions about population matters is ignorance about the numbers. How many people live in the United States? My students don’t know. Many environmentalists don’t know. What will the US … Continue reading Know the Numbers! TOP unveils new interactive population projections for the European Union
Promoting contraceptives in fun ways achieved tremendous success towards breaking taboos and clarifying misconceptions. Together with creative community development programs, family planning programs increased the wellbeing of all Thais.
Researchers at TOP have published new population projections for all twenty-eight member countries of the European Union and for the EU as a whole. These projections differ from the 2019 United Nations’ Population Division projections and other recent projections in two main ways. First, they project a wider range of fertility and migration scenarios farther … Continue reading New EU population projections published
Planet earth’s future cannot be bright with 8 billion people: our future depends on how seriously and quickly we change our materialist culture, social organization and technologies. An immediate action plan is offered for the generation centered around Greta Thunberg: young women, and just as importantly young men, should avow not to have children until their … Continue reading A potential pledge: no change, no grandchildren
Empty Planet: The Shock of Global Population Decline claims that (a) life on earth is stressed but coping with the present level of human impact; (b) global population will peak in 2050; (c) subsequent population decline will alleviate ecological problems; and (d) countries with populations that are only slowly growing should act now to boost … Continue reading Part 2 Review of “Empty Planet: The Shock of Global Population Decline”
Rwanda has experienced a 40% increase in contraception use within only the past 15 years. The country is located in Sub-Saharan Africa, a region typically known for its high population growth.1 Despite the large rural population, traditional large family norms and strong influence of the religious institutions, Rwanda is slowly becoming known for its efficient, ongoing … Continue reading Rwanda: A pioneer of family planning in Sub-Saharan Africa
A new international billboard campaign encourages the public and policymakers to “Celebrate Low Birthrates!” and “Shrink Towards Abundance!” The goals of the campaign are to draw attention to the benefits of declining populations and encourage politicians to rethink and reorganize the current economic system to take advantage of depopulation dividends. The environmental benefits of declining … Continue reading The Greatness of The Great Decrease
In April, TOP researchers organized a climate change seminar as part of the Gothenburg International Science Festival. Guest speakers were invited to discuss the role of population, affluence and technology in climate change solutions. The first presentation highlights how addressing population is a necessary measure to successfully mitigate and adapt to climate disruption. A recording … Continue reading An integrated climate change response: the role of population