Shrinking the Footprint Ecotheology of human fertility and population

31 August 2013

USA births and deaths

Filed under: Population — John @ 5:56 pm

I like this graph from “The Changing Demographic Profile of the United States” by Laura B. Shrestha and Elayne J. Heisler, a Congressional Research Service report in 2011.

The Changing Demographic Profile of the United States 2011

The future projection is enlightening. Regarding the past, I knew already that for decades U.S. births have greatly exceeded deaths, despite forty years of having a “Total Fertility Rate” fluctuating around the “replacement rate” (a misleading phrase since most people I ask assume that “replacement” means births equal deaths, which is not what demographers mean when they use the term).

But I had been assuming that quite soon the annual number of births would dip below deaths, given the recent media hype about falling U.S. birth rates. However, this graph indicates that the U.S. Census Bureau expect the number of U.S. births each year will continue to be larger than the number of deaths for decades to come, at least until 2050.

The full report is accessible online:

31 July 2012

History of overpopulation concern in USA

Filed under: Population — John @ 6:49 pm

This short video from PBS looks back to a time (in the 1960s and 1970s) when many Americans had economic and ecological concerns about “overpopulation” in the USA and overseas. It suggests that early efforts to make family planning easily accessible were scuppered by a mix of contrarians including big-business interests that saw population growth as necessary for economic growth, and religious opponents of contraception.

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