Introduction to Demography and Population Growth

What you’ll learn to do: describe demographic measurements, read population graphs, and describe demographic theories

World population data showing projected growth increases between 2018 and 2050. India should grow by 308.8 million, Nigeria by 214.7 million, Democratic Republic of the Congo by 131.6 million, Pakistan 106 million, Ethiopia 83.4 million, Tanzania 79 million, Egypt 69.5 million, and the United States 61.6 million.

Figure 1. The population in some countries, particularly India, Pakistan, and much of Africa, will increase tremendously in coming years.

Scholars understand demography through various analyses—Malthusian theory, Zero population growth, cornucopian theory, and demographic transition theory all help sociologists study demography. The earth’s human population has doubled in the past 43 years, especially in peripheral countries, and some are concerned that we will not have enough food and other resources to sustain the expanding population. Factors that impact population include birthrates, mortality rates, and migration, this last a term that includes immigration (entering a country to live permanently) and emigration (leaving a country). There are numerous potential outcomes of the growing population, and sociological perspectives vary in their findings regarding the potential effect of these increased numbers. From any point of view, it seems clear that the growth will put additional pressure the already taxed planet and its finite natural resources.


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