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By Dr. Jeff Mirus, Catholic Culture, Aug 19, 2019
Today our news team highlighted a report in Foreign Affairs which argues that the world is on the verge of a population bust. Here are seven things you need to know about current demographic trends:
1. Both population growth and the impact of population growth are hard to predict:
Population growth is hard to predict because it is often affected by unpredictable factors. For example, after about two thousand years of relative population stability in Europe, dramatic improvements in the field of medicine, including increasing life-spans and a rapid drop in infant morality, ushered in rapid increases in population beginning in the eighteenth century. This led to fears of mass starvation arising from a catastrophic “population explosion”, fears which were proven groundless by rapid improvements in agricultural techniques.
2. Complex social attitudes are a huge factor in population growth and decline:
As we now know, social influences that encourage or discourage families and children play a huge role in population growth. Things like the need for larger families to work the family farm or pressure on both men and women to work outside the home; social approval or disapproval of large families; the influence of religion on procreation; and the tension between material desires and strong family life—all these and more fuel culture-wide tendencies which affect population growth. In a technological era in which conception and birth are far easier to control, and in a hedonistic age in which sex and marriage are regarded as completely separable, family sizes are often determined by our natural and supernatural commitments. ….