Current population, rural/urban population shifts, rates of growth age levels, and population control help determine today’s demand for various categories of goods. Although not the only determinant, the existence of sheer numbers of people is significant in appraising potential consumer markets. Changes in the composition ad distribution of population among the world’s countries will profoundly affect future demand.
Recent estimates place world population at more than 6 billion people, and this is expected to grow to 9 billion by 2050. Further, 98 percent of the projected growth for 2050 will occur in less developed regions. Exhibits show that 84 % of the population will be concentrated in less developed regions by 2025 and, if growth rates continue, 86 % by 2050. The International labor Organization estimates that 1.2 billion jobs must be created worldwide by 2025 to accommodate these new entrants. Further most of the new jobs will need to be created in urban areas where most of the population will reside.
Controlling Population Growth:
Faced with the ominous consequences of the population explosion it would seem logical for countries to take appropriate steps to reduce growth to manageable rates, but procreation is one of the most culturally sensitive uncontrollable factor. Economics self esteem religion, politics ad education all play a critical role in attitudes about family size.
The prerequisites to population control are adequate incomes, higher literacy levels, education for women, universal access the health care, family planning, improved nutrition, and perhaps most important, a change in basic cultural beliefs regarding he importance of large families. Unfortunately, minimum progress in providing improved living conditions and changing beliefs has occurred. India serves as a good example of what is happening in much of the world. India’s population was once stable but with improved health conditions lading to greater longevity and lower infant mortality its population will exceed that of China by 2050 and the two will account for about 50 percent of the world’s inhabitants. The government’s attempts to institute change are hampered by a variety of factors, including political ineptitude and slow change in cultural norms. Nevertheless the government continues to pass laws with the intended purpose of limiting the number of births. The most recent attempt is a law that bars those with more than two children from election to the national Parliament and state assemblies. This would mean that many now in office could not seek reelection based on family size.
Perhaps the most important deterrent to population control is cultural attitudes about the importance of large families. In many cultures, the prestige of man, whether alive or dead, depends on the number of his progeny, and a family’s only wealth is its children. Such feelings are strong, Prime Minister Indira Gandhi found out how strong when she attempted mass sterilization of males which reportedly was the main cause of her defeat in a subsequent election. Additionally many religious discourage or ban family planning and thus serve as a deterrent to control. Nigeria has a strong Muslim tradition in the North and a strong Roman Catholic tradition in the east, and both faiths favor large families. Most traditional religious in Africa encourage large families in fact the principal deity for many is the goddess of land and fertility.
Family planning and all that it entails is by far the most universal means governments use to control birthrates but some economists believe that decline in the fertility arte is a function of economic prosperity and will come only with economists development. Ample anecdotal evidence suggests that fertility rates decline as economies proper. For example, before Spain’s economy began its rapid growth in the 1980s families had six or more children; now Spain has one of the lowest birth rates in Europe, an average 1.24 children per woman. Similar patterns have followed in other European countries as economies have prospered.