In their article “Population and Health” (Time August 26, 2002:A9,)Jeffrey Kluger and Andrea Dorfman predicted that with the decreasing of it’s growth rate, the world population will level off at about 11 billion in the last half of this century. However, although economic development and family-planning have helped reduce birth rate, the slow down of population growth in the poorest parts of the world was because of wrong reasons: infectious diseases, especially AIDs.
They concluded that family planning and health care can help control population growth and build healthy economies as well. It is possible to reduce the world population and increase life expectancy at the same time. According to statistics published by World Watch Institute, life expectancy appears inversely propotional to fertility rate. North America, Europe and Oceania have the longest life expectancies of about 75 years and the lowest fertility rate of 2 to 3 births per woman while Africa has the shortest life expectancy of 51.
4 years and the highest fertility rate of 5 birth per woman from 1995 to 2000. Latin America and Asia are in the middle with life expectancies of about 67. 5 years and fertility rates of about 3 per woman. Considering that America, Europe and Oceania are the most developed region while Africa is the poorest continent, we can infer that the poorer the country is, the higher the fertility rate and the shorter the life expectancy it has. From the above information, we can see that economic development, population and health are closely related.
Poor families tend to ignore family planning and consequently have more children, which make the family even poorer. Children raised in these families are usually denied good health care and good education, negatively affecting economic growth. This is a vicious cycle. Family planning and health care are ways to break out of this cycle. As Kluger and Dorfman observed, efforts to provide more family planning and health care had proved effective.
Women’s fertility rates in the poorest countries have already decreased by 50% since 1969 and will continue decreasing. Another way to control population growth is through education. “Educated mothers not only have a stepladder out of poverty, but they also choose to have fewer babies. ” (Kluger and Dorfman). Therefore, it’s important to provide family planning, health care and education in the poorest part of the world in order to address population and health problems.