U.S. Population Growth is Reaching Dangerous Heights

The U.S. population growth is increasing at a substantial pace, adding extra strain to our already-dwindling resources. Is it time to talk about population stabilization?

| June/July 2008

The U.S. population is approximately 300 million, and if the U.S. population growth keeps increasing at the current rate, we’ll reach 400 million by 2043. As Lester Brown of the Earth Policy Institute points out, this is not a good trend. “U.S. population growth is the ever expanding denominator that gives each person a shrinking share of the resource pie,” Brown says. “It contributes to water shortages, cropland conversion to non-farm uses, traffic congestion, more garbage, overfishing, a growing dependence on imported oil and other conditions that diminish the quality of our daily lives.”

In other First World countries (France, the United Kingdom, Germany, Italy and Japan), populations have either slightly dropped or stayed constant. “It may be time for the United States to establish a national population policy, one that would lead toward population stabilization sooner rather than later,” Brown says. With so much talk about conservation of declining resources, it may be important to switch the focus toward population stabilization and then decide how to stretch the resources among society.

8/18/2009 4:14:25 AM

The population explosion denialists like "Dean" remind me of the climate change denialists. For example, "Dean" believes population is a non-issue due to the countries non-developed areas? If Dean thought about this statement, than he would come to understand that more than 100 productive acres of land and natural resources are required to support each American. Every 24 hours, mankind is responsible for driving 100 animal and plant species extinct, according to the US National Academies of Science, yet during this same time period the world expereinces a net gain of 220,000 more human beings. And the denialists believe over-population is a non-issue, yeah right.

7/23/2009 9:12:06 AM

Lester Brown is correct, the U.S. does need a sustainable population policy. There are multiple reasons: 1)Overpopulation is not about space or density. It's about the resources needed to support that population. There is no question the U.S. at current population and consumption levels is using more than its share of the Earth's resources. We need to do better both on consumption and on population. 2)If nations won't take some responsibility for moving toward population stabilization and eventual decline, then who will? 3)Yes, the lion's share of U.S. population growth is due to immigration, but that immigration converts people into American-style superconsumers. So if U.S. consumption is a problem (and it is), anything above zero net immigration is irresponsible. 4)We can't import the billion starving people on the planet, so our efforts to help the impoverished are better invested in the nations where they live. It is more compassionate and humanitarian in the long run not to separate families, not to drain other nations of their most ambitious citizens, and not to exploit them so we can have cheap labor and an ever-growing GDP. 5)And we need to make sure every couple in every conceivable situation can make well-informed, responsible decisions about family size. Any questions? Dave Gardner Producing the GrowthBusters documentary Hooked on Growth: Our Misguided Quest for Prosperity

6/23/2008 10:54:04 PM

Shame on you Mother Earth news for printing such one-sided propaganda. This overpopulation myth has been exploded so many times in multiple good articles available on the web, yet the New World order folks just keep pushing it. Has the common sense of anyone who believes this every been activated when driving across the wide, empty, but inhabitable expanses of our country? We are far from overpopulated. China, Russia, Vietnam, Korea, Laos, Cambodia, here we come as well.

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