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Population growth is the change in population over time, and can be quantified as the change in the number of individuals in a population using "per unit time" for measurement. The term population growth can technically refer to any species, but almost always refers to humans, and it is often used informally for the more specific demographic term population growth rate (see below), and is often used to refer specifically to the growth of the population of the world.

Simple models of population growth include the Malthusian Growth Model and the logistic model.

Population growth rate

In demographics and ecology, Population growth rate (PGR) is the fraction rate at which the number of individuals in a population increases. Specifically, PGR ordinarily refers to the change in population over a unit time period, often expressed as a percentage of the number of individuals in the population at the beginning of that period. This can be written as the formula:

\mathrm{Growth\ rate} = \frac{(\mathrm{population\ at\ end\ of\ period}\ -\ \mathrm{population\ at\ beginning\ of\ period})} {\mathrm{population\ at\ beginning\ of\ period}}


(In the limit of a sufficiently small time period.)

The above formula can be expanded to: growth rate = crude birth rate - crude death rate + net immigration rate, or ∆P/P = (B/P) - (D/P) + (I/P) - (E/P), where P is the total population, B is the number of births, D is the number of deaths, I is the number of immigrants, and E is the number of emigrants.

This formula allows for the identification of the source of population growth, whether due to natural increase or an increase in the net immigration rate. Natural increase is an increase in the native-born population, stemming from either a higher birth rate, a lower death rate, or a combination of the two. Net immigration rate is the difference between the number of immigrants and the number of emigrants.

The most common way to express population growth is as a ratio, not as a rate. The change in population over a unit time period is expressed as a percentage of the population at the beginning of the time period. That is:

\mathrm{Growth\ ratio} = \mathrm{Growth\ rate} \times 100%.


A positive growth ratio (or rate) indicates that the population is increasing, while a negative growth ratio (or rate) indicates population decline. A growth ratio of zero indicates that there were the same number of people at the two times -- net difference between births, deaths and migration is zero. However, a growth rate may be zero even when there are significant changes in the birth rates, death rates, immigration rates, and age distribution between the two times.

Equivalently, percent death rate = the average number of deaths in a year for every 100 people in the total population.

A related measure is the net reproduction rate. In the absence of migration, a net reproduction rate of more than one indicates that the population of women is increasing, while a net reproduction rate less than one (sub-replacement fertility) indicates that the population of women is decreasing.

Human population growth rate

[[Image:Population growth rate world.PNG|thumb|400px|right|Annual population growth rate in percent, as listed in the CIA World Factbook (2006 estimate).]]
Growth rate of world population (1950-2000)


Globally, the growth rate of the human population has been steadily declining since peaking in 1962 and 1963 at 2.20% per annum. In 2007 the growth rate was 1.19% per annum. The last one hundred years have seen a rapid increase in population due to medical advances and massive increase in agricultural productivity made possible by the Green Revolution.

The actual annual growth in the number of humans fell from its peak of 87.8 million per annum in 1989, to a low of 74.6 million per annum in 2003, after which it has been rising again, to 76.6 million per annum in 2007, and 77.0 million per annum in 2009. The growth rate is expected to peak in 2010 at 77.2 million per annum, then decline steadily to about 43 million per annum in 2050, at which time the population will have increased to about 9.3 billion. Growth remains high especially in the Middle East and Sub-Saharan Africa, and also in South Asia, Southeast Asia, and Latin America.

Some countries experience negative population growth, especially in Eastern Europe (mainly due to low fertility rates and emigration). In Southern Africa, growth is slowing due to the high number of HIV-related deaths. Some Western Europe countries might also encounter negative population growth. Japanmarker's population began decreasing in 2005

Excessive growth and decline

Main articles: Overpopulation and population decline

Population exceeding the carrying capacity of an area or environment is called overpopulation. It may be caused by growth in population or by reduction in capacity. Spikes in human population can cause problems such as pollution and traffic congestion, these might be resolved or worsened by technological and economic changes. Conversely, such areas may be considered "underpopulated" if the population is not large enough to maintain an economic system (see population decline).

See also

Estimated population growth from 10000 BCE–2000 CE.


References

  1. Association of Public Health Epidemiologists in Ontario
  2. Population growth rate
  3. BBC NEWS | The end of India's green revolution?
  4. Food First/Institute for Food and Development Policy
  5. Rising food prices curb aid to global poor
  6. Record rise in wheat price prompts UN official to warn that surge in food prices may trigger social unrest in developing countries
  7. U.S. Census Bureau, June 2009, [1]
  8. UN population projections
  9. Japan sees biggest population fall


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