BlessWorld Foundation International

Affecting the World Through Health
A Global Health Initiative

Global Health and Population Growth



Population growth is defined as the increase in the number of individuals in a population. Globally, human population grows up to 75 million or 1.1% annually. Since 1800, world population has grown from 1 billion to 7.4 billion in 2016 and is expected to keep growing. Estimates show that the total population will reach 8.4 billion by mid-2030, and 9.6 billion by mid-2050.

Growth and changes in the characteristics of a population are factors that influence health, the quality of life as well as the scope and significance of public health programs. The rate at which a population grows affects the availability of basic needs required to sustain life. It also affects health care costs, short-term and long term planning of community health and medical facilities. Specific changes such as alterations in age composition, internal migration of racial or industrial groups, population density and urban-rural movement call for modification of related health programs so as to address current and existing problems created by these changes. The social and economic effects of a growing and changing population have long been recognized and are well documented in research.

As the world’s population continues to grow and humans exploit nature to meet their present needs, natural resources are depleted at a much faster rate than they are replenished. This invariable confers pressure on these resources, threatening public health as well as social and economic development. Although most developed economies consume resources at a rate faster than they can regenerate, developing countries- with rapid population growths, endanger natural resources on which they depend and pose irreparable harm. Many nations with rapid population growth have continuously demonstrated low standards of living, whereas nations with lower rates of population growth have shown high standards of living.

If the world population continues to grow at this rate, the world’s population is projected to reach 8 billion by the year 2025- in less than ten years. At that time, it is also projected that about 48 countries with 3 billion people will be faced with problems such as chronic water shortage. Moreover, in 25 years, human beings alone could be using up to 90 percent of all available freshwater and only 10 percent will be left for the remaining living things namely plants and animals. Recently, 64 of 105 developing countries have documented a population growth that is much more than the availability of food supplies. To meet the food demands of population pressures, these countries resort to over-cultivation, which unfortunately has degraded an overwhelming 2 billion hectares of arable land.

To preserve the earth and her resources for future generations, humans must practice sustainable development which requires slower population growth. Without this, humanity would potentially face deteriorating environments and ecological disasters including water shortage, soil exhaustion, trees and forest loss, air and water pollution, and degradation of coastlines. The following are steps in the right direction for a more sustainable environment:

  • Efficient use of energy
  • Better city management
  • Water resource management and fresh water protection
  • Harvesting of forest products
  • Preservation of arable land and increase in food production
  • Better management of coastal zones and ocean fisheries
  • Protection of biodiversity hotspots
  • The adoption of a climate change convention among nations
  • Stabilization of the population through good quality family planning services

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