urban overpopulationAfrica’s urbanization has been rapidly increasing. For example, sub-Saharan Africa is regarded as the world’s fastest urbanizing region. This increase in urbanization is related to the increase in people migrating into urban areas. However, urbanization often leads to overpopulation. Here is how urban overpopulation impacts sub-Saharan Africa and what African countries are doing to solve it through infrastructure development.

Rural-Urban Migration

African cities have fast-growing population growth. The UN reports that urban population growth has evolved “from about 27% in 1950 to 40% in 2015 and is projected to reach 60% by 2050.” This pressure has led to the over-exploitation of infrastructural resources like roads and markets. Many rural areas in Africa are remote, and they have fewer job opportunities. Accordingly, many people move from these regions to urban areas where they can find jobs easily. This problem causes a migration influx that leads to urban overpopulation in many African cities. Because urban areas also have advanced, easily accessible social services and facilities, people who may need or want better medical care or educational services have to move to urban areas. This kind of migration leads to increased population growth and urban overpopulation.

Urban Overpopulation

Increased population automatically increases urban areas’ population density, or the measurement of population per unit area. Overpopulation occurs when urban areas contain more people than the optimal proportion of population to land. When urban areas become overcrowded, people start building slums, the roads become very busy with high traffic, public markets and malls consistently become overcrowded and the competition for resources increases. This leads to increased pollution and the destruction of much infrastructure.

Urban Planning

African governments have started investing in solutions to accommodate this growing urban population through infrastructure. One way in which they are doing so is through urban planning. Many African nations have begun to provide urban planning education facilities and resources. This solution started preparing people who were equipped to design and plan for the overpopulated cities in Africa. For example, Nigeria established the Town Planners Registration Council. This council is in charge of determining who is capable of being the town’s planner and setting the basic requirements for people who want to enter the profession of urban planning. In 2013, Kigali City in Rwanda established the city’s master plan. This plan represented a vision the country had for organizing settlement in the city. The Building Permit Management Information System reports that this master plan is a “comprehensive long term plan intended to guide growth and development of Kigali City.”

Building Infrastructure

Most African countries have a complex topography. Some cities are hilly or close to forested areas. These natural features become a big challenge to companies seeking to build roads and skyscrapers in the most environmentally friendly ways possible. Despite these challenges, African nations are investing in building new infrastructure to support urban areas. GlobeNewswire reports that in 2019, all projects in Africa invested in building new and upgrading “54,110 km for roads, 55,345 km for railway and 599 km for bridges” in total. To include the environment in these developing cities, some countries introduced green belts in urban regions. For example, Kenya and Rwanda have started reserving some areas in cities for planting trees.

Africa’s population is growing fast. However, countries are investing in sectors that will manage to accommodate this urban population. Infrastructure has been one of the sectors that have helped cities plan for the population and the cities’ activities.

Renova Uwingabire
Photo: Flickr

Five Myths About OverpopulationOverpopulation is a topic of great controversy among environmental and humanitarian advocates. However, there are often immense amounts of misinformation spread about the scope, severity and impacts of overpopulation. With estimates determining that the population of Africa and Asia will grow by 3 billion by the end of the century, accuracy in information surrounding overpopulation is critical to make effective change. Here are four myths about overpopulation.

4 Myths About Overpopulation

  1. The Global South is Responsible for the Environmental Consequences of Overpopulation: The idea that the larger populations of the Global South place greater strain on global resources is based on the fallacy that all people have equal access to global resources. The poorest half of the global population is responsible for approximately 10% of global carbon emissions; while the richest 10% is responsible for approximately 50% of global carbon emissions. Simultaneously, Global South nations are experiencing greater consequences from increased CO2 emissions, such as natural disasters; while the Global North remains protected thanks to the development they have experienced at the expense of the Global South. Thus, the belief in equal resource distribution, combined with limited effects of carbon emissions felt by the Global North, leads to the misconception that the Global South is responsible for overpopulation and its consequences.
  2. The World Needs a Young Population for a Good Economy: While the idea that an elderly population is less economically productive is accurate, one must compare the strain of an elderly population to the strain of overpopulation. In reality, overpopulation creates more impoverishment, decreased health and education outcomes and increased conflict. Overpopulation plagues the Global South by amplifying the issues that debilitate its economies. Rather than producing a young population, a more efficient way to support the economy of countries in the Global South is by funding initiatives to lower population growth and enable low-income countries to allocate resources more effectively.
  3. The World Will Adapt to Accommodate Any Size of Population: With the emergence of green innovation, comes the argument that the world will adapt to become ecofriendly. However, David Attenborough argues that this is not the case. Attenborough outlines that Earth indisputably has a “carrying capacity” ranging from 500 million to 1 trillion depending on our resource consumption. However, Attenborough argues that even with an eco-friendly adaptation, the world will eventually reach its carrying capacity and will not be able to survive. Thus, while countries can adopt eco-friendly policies to reduce the strain on the world, population regulation needs to occur simultaneously.
  4. Overpopulation is Too Large of an Issue to Solve: Overpopulation is a complex and intimidating issue, but the world is already making progress. The global population growth rate has dropped from 1.31% in 2000 to 1.08% in 2019. The poorest two-thirds of the world are seeing birth rates dropping almost universally and at a faster speed than death rates. Furthermore, there are many organizations worldwide that have dedicated themselves to slowing population growth.

The Population Reference Bureau (PRB)

The Population Reference Bureau (PRB) is one of the largest organizations in the U.S. doing invaluable work. PRB is a private, nonprofit organization that provides information and population demographics that guide global action against overpopulation. PRB, as well as many other organizations, must continue to receive funding to further its work that effectively combats overpopulation.

The four myths about overpopulation show that overpopulation is a complex issue that requires accurate information in order to facilitate effective action. Misconceptions regarding overpopulation can be greatly damaging to our collective understanding of the causes and effects of overpopulation. Overpopulation does not just threaten the environment but eliminates the possibility of economic growth for impoverished areas, due to the strain overpopulation places on education, health and infrastructure. However, organizations like PRB are making progress.

Lily Jones
Photo: Pixabay

Facts about overpopulation and poverty Overpopulation is defined as “the presence of excessive numbers of a species, which are then unable to be sustained by the space and resources available.” While many definitions of poverty exist, the simplest is that it all but guarantees struggle, deprivation and lost opportunity.

Contemporary understandings of poverty are more holistic, rather than just quantitative measures of income. Considering factors such as health care and education helps broaden the view of poverty and its causes. Here are 7 facts about overpopulation and poverty.

7 Facts About Overpopulation and Poverty

  1. Population growth and poverty present the classic “chicken or egg” dilemma. According to Dr. Donella Meadows, “poverty causes population growth causes poverty.” Her eponymous 1986 essay explains why the classic “chicken or the egg” dilemma regarding overpopulation and poverty leads to different conclusions on how best to intervene. Dr. Meadows ultimately concludes that the question itself is less of an “either/or” and more of a “both/and” question.
  2. There is a cycle of poverty and overpopulation. One factor causes the other and vice-versa. For example, when child mortality is high (usually due to living in impoverished conditions), the overall birth rate is also high. Therefore, it is in everyone’s best interest to lower the child mortality rate by reducing poverty.
  3. There is a correlation between declining birth rates and rising living standards. Declining birth rates and rising living standards have occurred simultaneously in the developing world for decades. This relationship between fertility and economic development results in a virtuous circle, meaning “improvements in one reinforce and accelerate improvements in the other.” As a result, this pattern between fertility and economic development helps reduce poverty.
  4. By the end of this century, the population is expected to grow by 3 billion people. Over the next 80 years, the majority of the increasing population will live in Africa.
  5. Although Africa has experienced record economic growth, the much faster rate of fertility still leaves much of the population impoverished. While Africa’s economy continues to grow, the Brookings Institute notes that “Africa’s high fertility and resulting high population growth mean that even high growth translates into less income per person.” The most effective strategy to combat this is to reduce fertility rates.
  6. The number of megacities has more than tripled since 1990. Megacities are cities with more than 10 million people. Although there are currently 33 megacities in the world, that number is expected to increase to 41 by the year 2030. Of those 41 megacities, five will appear in developing countries. Megacities are susceptible to overpopulation and concerns about disease control. Furthermore, some megacities relieve poverty while others exacerbate it.
  7. A sense of taboo surrounds discussions about overpopulation. Is talking about overpopulation still taboo? Some experts believe so, citing the 17 goals and 169 targets of the UN Sustainable Development Agenda that have been silent on the issue. Luckily, philanthropists and voters are leading the way in normalizing frank discussions regarding facts about overpopulation and poverty.

Despite gradually increasing developments, global overpopulation and poverty continue to remain prevalent. Steps such as viewing poverty holistically and working to end the stigmatization and taboo surrounding discussions about overpopulation help further the much-needed improvements for overpopulation and poverty.

– Sarah Wright 
Photo: Flickr

Facts About Overpopulation in Brazil

Overpopulation in Brazil has resulted in a widening gap with respect to age, gender and well-being for a large percentage of its populace.​ Around one-fourth of Brazil’s population suffer from inadequate housing. While efforts are underway to change the status quo, there is still much to be done in order to control important overpopulation factors. These are the 10 facts about overpopulation in Brazil.

10 Facts About Overpopulation in Brazil

  1. Population total: Brazil is the 5th most populous country in the world — equivalent to nearly 3 percent of the total world population. It is estimated that the population of Brazil will reach 225 million by 2025, an increase from 200 million.
  2. Population based on region: More than 80 million people are concentrated in Southeast Brazil. The second-largest populated area is the Northeast with over 53 million inhabitants. The third-largest populated area is the South which ranks in at over 27 million people. The North and Central-West regions have the least population.
  3. Population by age: The birth rate in Brazil has changed since the 50s and 60s and shows a decrease, with an average of fewer than two children per couple. Due to a decrease in mortality, the number of adults and the elderly are greater than the number of children. Children 14 and under make up 21.3 percent of Brazil’s population. Nearly 80 percent of Brazil’s total population are between the ages of 15 and 64. Of note, life expectancy has increased from 66 years in the 90s to 73 years in 2010.
  4. Population by gender: There are slightly more women than men with 51 percent of Brazilians being female and 49 percent being men; however, women are still struggling to find equality. Women, on average, earn 23 percent less than men, even if they have a higher education.
  5. Most costly city: With a population of more than 12 million, Sao Paulo is the most expensive city in South America and the 27th most costly in the world. One-quarter of San Paulo’s population is living in poverty. To have a comfortable life in Sao Paulo, it is estimated that citizens make around $1,500 per person; however, the average salary is $675 per month.
  6. Housing deficit: More than 50 million Brazilians live in inadequate housing conditions. Pernambuco has the highest housing deficit in Brazil. Of those who lack satisfactory housing, 66 percent live below the poverty line and have limited to no access to banking facilities. It is estimated that Brazil has a housing deficit between 6 and 8 million houses, with the greatest need being in the southeast and northeast.
  7. Organizations that help: Habitat for Humanity is one group that is working toward solving the housing crisis. The organization helps people living in San Paulo, Rio de Janeiro and other small cities. Habitat for Humanity provides aid by building new homes, repairing homes and improving access to sanitation. In San Paulo, 100 people will have their houses improved by Habitat for Humanity through community projects. Habitat for Humanity is in the process of building more than 1,600 houses in Pernambuco.
  8. Sanitation: Around 4 million of Brazil’s population lack access to safe water. Inadequate sanitation plagues 24 million of Brazil’s populous. In addition to a  clean water deficit, 45 percent of the population lacks adequate sewage which caused approximately 35 percent of Brazilian cities to break out in disease due to poor sanitation.
  9. WaterCredit to the rescue: Water.org helped establish WaterCredit as a solution to Brazil’s sanitation woes. Loans of $2.2 million have been disbursed by its partners, benefitting 9,000 people in Brazil to date. Water.org is in the process of certifying other financial institutions with the goal of expanding its reach in Brazil.

A lack of sanitation and housing are just a few consequences of Brazil’s overpopulation issue. However, by empowering women and supporting organizations that help aid in financial and social equality, Brazil’s population could see an end to the issues that its overpopulation has caused.

– Lisa Di Nuzzo
Photo: Flickr

10 Facts About Overpopulation in AfricaAfrica as a continent is growing in many ways. Many of its countries’ economies are growing quickly, lifting people out of extreme poverty. As economies grow and escape extreme poverty, several countries are developing issues with overpopulation. Though the issues exist for many reasons, there are viable solutions that, in some cases, are already being implemented. Hopefully, some solutions will provide a path for the future of the developing continent. Below are the top 10 facts about overpopulation in Africa. They describe how the issue came about and what is being done to solve it.

10 Facts About Overpopulation in Africa

  1. By 2050 Africa’s population is predicted to double. With so many countries having such a high birth rate, the populations of African countries are rising very quickly. Africa’s current population of more than 1.1 billion is expected to exceed 2 billion in the next 30 years. The population is growing at a rate faster than any other continent.
  2. By 2100, five of the top 10 most populous countries will be in Africa. Currently, Nigeria is the only country in Africa with a population in the top 10. Its population is expected to grow by another 527 million people by that time. With African countries growing at such fast rates, it is estimated that by 2100 the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Tanzania and Egypt will join Nigeria in the top 10.
  3. Africa holds 27 out of 30 of the countries with the highest birth rates. An overwhelming majority of the countries with the highest birth rates reside in Africa. Niger, Angola and Mali all have an average of around six births per woman. These rates are much higher than in developed nations. To compare, the U.S. has a birth rate of 1.88. Other developing countries such as Bangladesh and Sri Lanka have birth rates around 2.1.
  4. Seventy percent of Africans are under 30 years old. The African population is the youngest in the world. As this younger population reaches working age, the demand for jobs will increase. Jobs will need to be developed to satisfy this job market.
  5. Africa is urbanizing quickly. Around 80 percent of Africa’s massive population growth will occur in cities. This is in addition to the massive rush to urbanization that has already occurred in Africa. While Africa may not be lacking land, its population is crowded into cities. In 2010, 90 percent of the continent’s population was living on only 21 percent of the land.
  6. Forty-seven percent of Sub-Saharan Africa’s urban population lives in slums. The influx of people into African cities is putting stress on the housing and living situations within the cities. Close to half of all people on the continent are living in slums. They live in conditions that are crowded, lacking proper sanitation and often poorly constructed.
  7. One cause of overpopulation is actually positive for Africa as a whole. One of the major causes for population increase is actually increased quality of life. More children surviving into adulthood and healthier adults have lowered the death rate in several African countries. The impact of healthcare is a major positive. However, if fertility rates do not fall while death rates continue to decrease, the population will boom and lead to overpopulation.
  8. There are known solutions to overpopulation. Education is one of the key ingredients to reducing overpopulation. Educating people on how to properly family plan can help them to keep families smaller. Along with this, people must be provided with the resources to implement what they have learned.
  9. Kenya serves as a model for other countries. In 2009, Kenya started a program called Vision 2030. this vision aimed to lower the country’s birth rate from five in 2009 to three by 2030. By 2018, Kenya had already achieved its goal with a fertility rate of 2.81. Vision 2030 accomplished this with funding from USAID along with education programs and policies that informed people about family planning.
  10. There are active organizations helping to reduce overpopulation. An organization called Rutgers is already active in Africa to fight overpopulation. This organization works to raise awareness about sexual reproductive health. It recently opened an office in Uganda to carry out its mission through partnerships with schools, government advocacy and local authorities.

These 10 facts about overpopulation in Africa show that it is an issue that continues to plague the continent. Despite the prevalence of the issue, however, there are known solutions that are being implemented to solve the problem.

Josh Fritzjunker
Photo: Flickr

ethnically and culturally diverse country

Brazil is located in South America and neighbors every country within the continent except for Chile and Ecuador. It has the largest number of Portuguese speakers in the world and is known as one of the most ethnically and culturally diverse countries in the world. Since the 1930s, immigrants from many countries have become the backbone of Brazil. Although the country’s growth does not necessarily cause poverty, there is a correlation between overcrowdedness and population growth in specific regions of the country that are poor. Here are seven facts about overpopulation in Brazil.

7 Facts About Overpopulation in Brazil

  1. Brazil is currently the most populous country in South America and the fifth-most populated country in the world with 212.41 million people. The current growth rate is 0.75 percent per year. Although the population is dense on the east coast, the central and western parts of Brazil are vastly less populated than these regions. Brazil is ranked sixth in the world in population density with about 24 people per unit area.
  2. Brazil is home to the most expensive cities in the Americas. In addition, São Paulo is ranked as the world’s 10th most expensive city and Rio de Janeiro is ranked as the 12th most expensive city in the world. Of note, 81 percent of Brazil’s population lives in urban areas. Purchasing an apartment in urban Brazil is estimated at $4,370 per square meter. Owning an apartment in these areas is more expensive than owning one in New York City, which is ranked as the 32nd most expensive city.
  3. More than 50 million Brazilians live in inadequate housing. São Paulo is the most populous city in Brazil, South America, the western hemisphere and is even the 12th most populous city in the world. Forty percent of Sao Paulo’s population experience poor living conditions and the poverty rate stands at 19 percent.
  4. There are about 1,600 favelas, or slums, in São Paulo and more than 1,000 in Rio de Janeiro. Rocinha is the largest favela community within Rio de Janeiro. Although the 2010 census reports only 69,000 people living in Rocinha, there are actually between 150,000 and 300,000 inhabitants. The population density in Rocinha is crammed with 100,000 people per square kilometer compared to Rio de Janeiro’s city proper 5,377 people per square kilometer.
  5. Communities like Rocinha in Rio de Janeiro also have high crime rates. There are roughly 37 murders per 100,000 people. In comparison, cities such as London have less than two murders per 100,000 people.
  6. In Brasilia, there are 25 million people who lack access to improved sanitation. Although the country possesses 20 percent of the world’s water, there are still 5 million people who lack access to safe drinking water. In addition, 83 million people who are not connected to sewage systems which have caused many odors and health risks. Habitat Brazil has been working to improve access to clean water for those families who live in extreme poverty. In order to solve this problem, Habitat Brazil is repairing and enlarging roofs and building cisterns for collecting and storing water. This will provide access to safe and usable water for hundreds of families. In addition, Habitat Brazil has constructed 30 water reservoirs. Each reservoir stores 16,000 liters of water. This makes it possible to capture the 200mm of rainwater that falls during the year.
  7. One of the top facts about overpopulation in Brazil happens to be the housing deficit which stands at between 6 and 8 million houses. Low-income families account for 73.6 percent of the housing deficit population. Projects such as the Sustainable Social Housing Initiative Project (SUSHI) and the My House, My Life Brazil Project (Habitat for Humanity) are fighting the country’s sustainability crisis. My House, My Life has already provided 2.6 million housing units for 10.5 million low-income Brazilians. It is currently building 685 houses in two states of Brazil. It is also expected that 100 families in Sao Paolo will have their houses repaired and improved through Habitat Brazil.

– Francisco Benitez
Photo: Flickr

Healthcare system in Angola

The Republic of Angola is a large country in Central Africa with a continuously growing population of 31 million people. Angola is on the west coast of Sub-Saharan Africa and is one of the continent’s largest countries with 1.2 million square kilometers. As a comparison, it is a little less than twice the size of the state of Texas. With the current growth, Angola‘s population will triple in less than 50 years. This could pose a problem for the healthcare system in Angola as overpopulation is already becoming an issue.

Overpopulation

Angola has one of the world’s highest fertility rates as the average woman will have more than five children in her lifetime. However, the country also has the highest child mortality rate in the world with 187 per 1,000 live births. For those who do survive infancy, one in five children will die before reaching their fifth birthday. Angola ranks 23rd in the world due to its high maternal mortality rates with 477 deaths per 100,000 births.

But how exactly does the mortality rate result in overpopulation? It is all about the odds. Since one in five children on average die before they reach the age of five, families are more inclined to have more children so they have a higher chance to have at least one child reaching adulthood. A number of causes are responsible for the deaths in Angola. Among them are malaria, acute respiratory and diarrhoeal diseases, tetanus, malnutrition and more. More than just because of these initial causes, the mortality rate is so high due to the inadequate health system still being rebuilt.

A weak healthcare system

The healthcare system in Angola is split into two parts: private and public. A majority of the hospitals and clinics are close to the capital, Luanda, and very few are located in other parts of the country. Although treatment at the public level is free, the majority of the population is still limited when it comes to medical care. Due to the understaffed, underfunded and underprepared personnel, often times locals and visitors alike choose to receive treatment at the private level instead. While private clinics are considered to be better than public clinics, there is still much to improve. Pharmacies are mostly in the capital and are often extremely understocked. Hospitals will sometimes lack the necessary equipment or funds for important procedures. Angola also faces a significant shortage of physicians, with only 2,000 in the entire country.

By improving the healthcare system in Angola, the mortality rate would decrease enough to stabilize the fertility rates. Vaccines can heavily improve the current health of Angola’s population and prevent diseases from spreading. Currently, 929 health facilities out of 2409 perform routine vaccination activities. With access to sustainable clinics that provide vaccines throughout the country, the healthcare system in Angola would start to improve the lives of the citizens and lower the mortality rates.

Through strategic planning and patience, the healthcare system in Angola will be able to stabilize the current health status of its residents and help slow the overpopulation process in the country.

– Madeline Oden
Photo: Wikimedia Commons