Population Growth



In many Economically Less Developed Countries (ELDCs) population growth rates have also fallen, but this is largely because infant mortality has remained high. Therefore the primary health-care needs of ELDCs are still seen as crucial to curbing population increase. Parents continue to produce more children than they really want but a proportion will almost certainly not survive beyond infancy. A better-educated population is more able to make health choices, choosing contraception and learning simple techniques to combat disease.

Some of the consequences of increasing populations have been unexpected, such as environmental damage and accidents resulting from inadequate safety measures as ELDCs strive to increase their output and wealth through industrialization. These have posed at least as great a threat as poor agricultural practices; the latter are leading to loss of agricultural land through soil erosion, desertification and increasing soil salinity (which we will examine in chapter 4).

Meanwhile, population growth in Africa continues at 3% per annum and there is not enough food or clean water to sustain this level of growth. So, although there may theoretically be enough food grown world-wide to feed everyone (see chapter , we will continue to hear of famine and undernourished communities in ELDCs.

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