Understanding Population and the Environment
Basic Population Facts
- The world’s population has doubled since 1965 and is currently growing by nearly 80 million people per year. (See the U.S. Census Bureau's real-time U.S. and world population clocks.)
- If current fertility rates continue, world population could reach 9 billion by 2050. (Click here to see Human Numbers Through Time on PBS's NOVA Web site.)
- 98% of population growth occurs in developing countries.
- The U.S. has 1/20 of the world's population, yet consumes almost 1/4 of the world's natural resources.
In the last 40 years, forest area
Wildlife and Habitat
Almost half of the world's land-based plant and animal species live on just 2% of the world's land.
Half the world's annual available
fresh water is being used, mostly for
agriculture. By 2025, that number could
rise to 70%
Since 1970, total global emissions of greenhouse gases have increased by 61%, largely due to population growth.
What Should I Do?
- Stay informed about population trends and
their related effects.
– Additional Resources
– Library of Publications
- Support integrated development so environmental, economic, and social needs are all addressed, including advocating for increased funding of population and development programs.
- Support increased educational and economic opportunities, especially for women.
- Support increased access to reproductive health care, including voluntary family planning.
Resources for Journalists
The Izaak Walton League of America has been working for the past few years with outdoor journalists to explore the linkages between population growth and resource conservation.
We’ve created a set of resources to aid journalists, students and researchers, including a database of sample articles and background materials. Click here to see them.