There are many issues in the world today that pose threat to our way of life including but not limited to terrorism, pollution, disease, hunger, and one of them is over population. Overpopulation is a serious problem as it has negative externalities that results into substandard conditions (health, education, housing) for the human population across the globe. My initial perspective on the issue of overpopulation was that the root cause of the phenomenon stems from the fact that people are having more children but because lesser number of people are dying due to better health situation, as a result the rate at which deceased people are being replaced (by the ones being born) by others has increased exponentially. Furthermore, healthcare has improved as a result the living standards of the people are increasing, because people are now relatively more educated and have fewer children.
The documentary by Hans Rosling highlights fascinating facts about the population growth. There are currently 7 billion people in our planet and it is expected to double by the next century. The world population was very small until 1800; most of the world’s population has been added in the last 60 years. Asia is one the fastest growing continent with exceptionally high fertility rate. One of the examples is Bangladesh; the country’s population has tripled in numbers from 50 million to 150 million in the span of 50 years. It is now one of the most densely populated countries in the world. The people in Bangladesh have already started taking measures by raising awareness amongst the masses regarding the harmful affects of overpopulation. Hans Rolling stresses that we do not need to panic because the human mankind is already taking measures to control the population growth but at the same time we need to do more in order mitigate the effects of this problem.
In the recent years the life expectancy rate has increased from 40 to over 70, this is because of better living standards as well as the average children per women has decreased from 5 to 2.5 children. Hans Rosling in his documentary states that the population growth is highest in the poorest countries; such as Africa it is because the government lacks resources to meet the desire requirement of demands and services. Poverty, gender inequality and social pressures are all the reasons for high fertility rate in the developing countries. One of the other major reasons is of male superiority, as in many areas the birth of a boy is considered to be a blessing, as he would be the breadwinner of the family. Although the birth rates have continued to decline slowly, however the large disparities exist between developed and developing regions. The documentary tells us by 2100, we will have 1billion America, 1 billion in Europe, 4 billion in Africa and 5 billion in Asia and this will be the stable state. The developed countries have high capital per rate, better living conditions; hence the population growth is controlled in such areas as compared to developing states.
The link between population and wealth is very uncontroversial. The data of last two centuries focusing on relationship between wealth and life expectancy provides us deep insight, and explicitly states that relationship between two variables, which are highly dependent on each other. Due to the rapid progression in science and technology, immense research and advancement in health, far superior infrastructure, and more importantly, increase in wealth amongst the people compared to last two centuries, have not only increased the chances of human race to survive better but also to survive for a longer periods than our ancestors (Life expectancy) . The data shows that life expectancy of citizens of wealthy countries would be significantly more than life expectancy of citizens of poor countries. The difference of life expectancy between countries with higher than USD 40,000 per annum compared to countries with less than USD 100 per annum is more than 40 years is quite evident.
Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed the documentary. Hans Rosling argues that in his lifetime alone; the world population has grown by more than 4 billion. His arguments are very convincing based on the facts and figures that he has provided in the documentary. I believe more social awareness should be created and spread across people in order to overcome the problem of overpopulation as the wants of human beings are unlimited but there are only limited resources to meet those demands. People like Shakila in Bangladesh are taking right steps by providing contraception and also education is very important which plays a vital role in raising awareness.