The United States, as the millennium arrives, is overcrowded. We are fast approaching 300 million inhabitants. More and more people are convinced that something must be done and this is especially evidenced by the current attention and concern given to the enormous and mostly unplanned suburban growth—or as it is generally called, “urban sprawl.” Our highways are overwhelmed; our water supplies are dangerously low in many areas; our schools are packed—the problems are endless. However, it is both surprising and disappointing that overpopulation, by itself, is seldom seen as the culprit lurking behind these countless problems. This is in large part attributable to the media’s repeated failures to put its fingers on the true and basic cause of this growth “malaise” facing our country.
A smaller and stationary (that is, having no further growth or decline) population is in the best interest of the United States. Not only would the total numbers be reduced, but we would no longer have to go through the agonies associated with sudden shifts in our demographic behavior (be it births, deaths, or moving) as we have with the baby boom that began in the late 1940s and with which we are still trying to cope as the “baby boomers” become “senior boomers” early in the twenty-first century.
Furthermore, with a smaller and stationary population, our fragile environment will be better protected. Our quality of life, however defined, will improve. Finally, we will bequeath to our children a much more sustainable population whose members can feel secure in knowing that there is “enough for all of us.” This book concentrates on the following questions: How do we achieve these goals? How do we reduce our population to a reasonable and sustainable level? How does that population’s distribution attain relative efficiency (where there are no surging “bulges” in certain age groups)? We consider these goals to be not only ideal but necessary if the United States is to maintain anything close to our current quality of life and sustainability.
In the chapters that follow, we will illustrate several population scenarios by manipulating fertility, mortality. and migration (the demographic variables) in various ways. The bottom line is positive: if we are
patient, if we have the courage to adjust these demographic variables, especially immigration, then the United States can attain a smaller total population without enormous age bulges—in other words, the United
States can become a true stationary population—one that is small enough to sustain life at a high level of quality.
World population, now over 7.3 billion, is predicted to rise to 9 billion by 2050, an increase of almost two billion, or 23%, in the short space of only 34 years from now.In the highly unlikely event that per capita greenhouse gas emissions could possibly be decreased by an equal percentage in such a short space of time (a blink of an eye) the total amount of worldwide emission would remain the same!
From this simple illustration it would appear that without drastically reducing the size of world population, there is no solution to the problem.None at all.So then why do our world leaders pretend that there is one?What is to be gained by pretending rather than by proposing a solution that would solve the problem – a reduction in the size of world population to not more than 1- 2 billion?