In the midst of international crises—Iraq, Iran, Korea, the Tsunami, HIV/AIDS in Africa—just to name a few, the central role of demographic and population concerns to the well being of the planet threatens to be forgotten, overlooked or ignored. We at Planned Parenthood tend to focus on lowering fertility and giving women the means and services to do this. Over the past two decades some researchers and policy makers in the demographic arena have tended to focus on the population and fertility decline in many countries of the world, rather than on the continuing high fertility in some developing countries. The implications of smaller families and impending population decline in Europe is by now old news, the implications being fewer workers, reduced economic growth, if any growth at all, and the need for increased immigration to pick up the slack and pay pension benefits to workers who now retire at age 60 or earlier. We are seeing the beginnings of the same story here as our President tries to drum up public support for a “social security crisis” caused by fewer workers being available to make the payroll tax payments necessary to support our elders in the years ahead. Immigration “reform” is never far from the political agenda in America or in other developed countries, nor is emigration in developing countries with its attendant brain drain and loss of productive workers but offset by cash remittances home that are a major source of local GNP. Population growth and decline are spread unevenly around the planet and in many parts of the world population growth is proceeding upwards at a rapid rate. There are also other demographic issues that cannot be overlooked—-an imbalance in the sex ratio, abnormally high death rates in some countries due to AIDS, just to name two. What is a planet to do?
You can also see a recent article on page 18 of TEEN Speak magazine.