View Poll Results: Should the U.S. start controlling our population?

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Thread: Population Control

  1. #1
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    Population Control

    Should the U.S. start controlling our population?

    Is there a need for population control? If not, what evidence do you have that there is not? Will there be a need in the near future?

    If so to what degree? I.E. How many children should be allowed? Should control be by economic status or equal to all families?

    I want to get a sense of where people are on this topic

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    Re: Population Control

    Why?
    The U.S. population growth rate is slowing.

    Despite these large increases in the number of persons in the population, the rate of population growth, referred to as the average annual percent change,1 is projected to decrease during the next six decades by about 50 percent, from 1.10 between 1990 and 1995 to 0.54 between 2040 and 2050. The decrease in the rate of growth is predominantly due to the aging of the population and, consequently, a dramatic increase in the number of deaths. From 2030 to 2050, the United States would grow more slowly than ever before in its history.
    Population Profile of the United States

    There doesn't seem to be a need to control U.S. population growth.
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    Re: Population Control

    Quote Originally Posted by MusicAdventurer View Post
    Should the U.S. start controlling our population?

    Is there a need for population control? If not, what evidence do you have that there is not? Will there be a need in the near future?

    If so to what degree? I.E. How many children should be allowed? Should control be by economic status or equal to all families?

    I want to get a sense of where people are on this topic
    I bet most rational people, no matter their political ideology, would not advocate allowing the government to dictate the number of children we would be "allowed" to have.

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    Re: Population Control

    Quote Originally Posted by Gina View Post
    Why?


    Population Profile of the United States

    There doesn't seem to be a need to control U.S. population growth.
    Yeah, I suppose you are right for now.

    However, while it is currently slowing, it may not continue so. What about the future? Do you think there will be an equal (or close to equal) ratio of people dying to people being born? Studies have shown that when families are in times of hardship, they have more children. For example, countries that aren't developed have more children as do the poor in the U.S. and so on.

    If things were to get worse financially speaking for the vast majority of the population, we may see a rise in birth rates again.

    What would your position on it be if population proved to be a problem?

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    Re: Population Control

    Essentially there are two things that cause population growth: Births and immigration.

    The birth rate in the US is just barely above the replacement level, so it's highly unlikely that we could achieve significant results by limiting births. Even in China, with its draconian one-child policy, the ACTUAL fertility rate is 1.54 whereas ours is 2.06. So even if we believed that our overall population growth was a problem and imposing extreme birth control measures was the correct way to go about it, China's example suggests that it really wouldn't give us that much bang for our buck. To put this in perspective, Canada's fertility rate is about the same as China's, but without the one-child policy. Furthermore, China's one-child policy has had horrendous consequences: There are far more males than females who are born in China, due to the abortion of females. This is going to cause huge problems because all of these extra men are not going to be able to get married, which will have negative effects on China's social stability and the health of its citizens.

    The other way we might control our population is through immigration. Most of our population growth comes from immigration, rather than births, and I'm strongly opposed to reducing it. For one thing, the economic costs of doing so would greatly outweigh the economic benefits. As it relates to this issue, shutting off immigration wouldn't even solve the "problem" (if it were a problem) anyway, it would just push it somewhere else.

    Finally, I question why the size of our population is a problem in the first place. The United States spans an entire continent and has a mere 300 million people; if anything we are underpopulated. A larger population would allow for more economies of scale in terms of providing human services, would make public transportation much more cost-effective, and would offer additional manpower to solving the world's most pressing issues.

    Overpopulation is not a problem globally, and certainly not in the United States. There are certain PARTS of the world that are overpopulated like South Asia, but even there the solution is not direct population controls: It's to reduce poverty, reduce infant mortality, improve women's rights, make birth control widely available, and increase education. Virtually every society that has taken these actions has seen its birth rate fall dramatically.
    Last edited by Kandahar; 09-16-11 at 02:56 AM.
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    Re: Population Control

    Quote Originally Posted by MusicAdventurer View Post
    Studies have shown that when families are in times of hardship, they have more children. For example, countries that aren't developed have more children as do the poor in the U.S. and so on.
    Those have different causes though. In developing countries, there are several reasons that a family might choose to have more kids: 1) Infant mortality is higher. Families have additional children to hedge against the tragic reality that some of them will not survive into adulthood. 2) The opportunity cost is lower. If families aren't able to earn high incomes anyway, then their time simply isn't that valuable and they aren't missing out on much by spending their time raising kids. 3) Among subsistence farmers, children are a financial asset rather than a financial liability as they are here. An extra child means an extra worker to bring in income for the family, rather than an extra mouth to feed. 4) In some societies, birth control is unavailable, unaffordable, socially taboo, and/or completely unknown. Additionally, women may not have the same freedom that men do to pursue a career, and are expected to raise kids.

    Among the poor in the US, #1 and #3 don't really apply. #2 does in a way...the opportunity cost is lower for low-income people to raise extra kids, but it's still a lot higher than it is for a poor person in the developing world. I think the big issue among America's poor is #4 as it relates to birth control. Many people don't have birth control, don't really understand how it works or how effective it is, or simply choose not to use it for whatever reason.

    If things were to get worse financially speaking for the vast majority of the population, we may see a rise in birth rates again.
    I think that's questionable, at least as it relates to the US. Merely putting people in a worse financial situation would not make them unlearn what they know about birth control, or cause it to no longer be available. That's more of a cultural thing then anything else, stemming from long-term poverty. From a global perspective, another economic downturn might or might not cause an increase in birth rates, depending on what policies the governments in question pursued. There is no reason that a recession should inevitably result in higher birth rates.
    Last edited by Kandahar; 09-16-11 at 03:07 AM.
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    Re: Population Control

    Quote Originally Posted by Kandahar View Post
    Overpopulation is not a problem globally, and certainly not in the United States.
    I disagree, but I'm not gonna debate that now. I wanted to comment on the below.

    the solution is not direct population controls: It's to reduce poverty, reduce infant mortality, improve women's rights, make birth control widely available, and increase education. Virtually every society that has taken these actions has seen its birth rate fall dramatically.
    That's true.

    Demographic transition - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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    Re: Population Control

    Quote Originally Posted by Kandahar View Post
    Essentially there are two things that cause population growth: Births and immigration.

    The birth rate in the US is just barely above the replacement level, so it's highly unlikely that we could achieve significant results by limiting births. Even in China, with its draconian one-child policy, the ACTUAL fertility rate is 1.54 whereas ours is 2.06. So even if we believed that our overall population growth was a problem and imposing extreme birth control measures was the correct way to go about it, China's example suggests that it really wouldn't give us that much bang for our buck. To put this in perspective, Canada's fertility rate is about the same as China's, but without the one-child policy. Furthermore, China's one-child policy has had horrendous consequences: There are far more males than females who are born in China, due to the abortion of females. This is going to cause huge problems because all of these extra men are not going to be able to get married, which will have negative effects on China's social stability and the health of its citizens.
    Point taken (not that population control may not be necessary at some point in the future though)

    Quote Originally Posted by Kandahar View Post
    The other way we might control our population is through immigration. Most of our population growth comes from immigration, rather than births, and I'm strongly opposed to reducing it. For one thing, the economic costs of doing so would greatly outweigh the economic benefits. As it relates to this issue, shutting off immigration wouldn't even solve the "problem" (if it were a problem) anyway, it would just push it somewhere else.
    Personally, if poverty levels were at all related to immigration, I would cut immigration off. The problem is that, in the U.S., people want equal opportunity and living wages. As I understand it, immigrants will usually work for less than a living wage as it would still be better than their country of origin and thus those without jobs that are taken, make it so that fewer American born citizens can find a job with a living wage. This is because, as long as there are people willing to work for less than a living wage, companies will not pay a living wage.

    Instead of completely cutting off immigration, I could compromise at enforcing living wages and disallowing hiring immigrants under the table (this is of course only part of a much larger plan).

    Quote Originally Posted by Kandahar View Post
    Finally, I question why the size of our population is a problem in the first place. The United States spans an entire continent and has a mere 300 million people; if anything we are underpopulated. A larger population would allow for more economies of scale in terms of providing human services, would make public transportation much more cost-effective, and would offer additional manpower to solving the world's most pressing issues.
    I believe in the right to property at birth (without property tax if that person has no income) .. therefore, you would have to prove to me that there is enough land for every person in the U.S. to live on if they so chose.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kandahar View Post
    Overpopulation is not a problem globally, and certainly not in the United States. There are certain PARTS of the world that are overpopulated like South Asia, but even there the solution is not direct population controls: It's to reduce poverty, reduce infant mortality, improve women's rights, make birth control widely available, and increase education. Virtually every society that has taken these actions has seen its birth rate fall dramatically.
    Are you saying that overall, our world population is over 2 per family?

    I agree that education is associated with an decrease in population (which is likely in some portion due to learning about birth control). However, as sited before, places that have education are likely to experience less hardship than those without and thus the simple fact that life is not as hard in areas with education could be a contributing factor to reduced birth rates. It makes biological sense and there are many articles and findings that support this idea. The idea is that instinctively, parents hedge their bets when times get tough by having more children in hopes (unconsciously) that they will have at least one child that bears a child that gives them grandchildren and so on. This is why improving infant immortality rates works as well.

    I am for improving women's rights; we've made large strides in this, right now, the average single female in young adulthood makes more than the average young single male and as I understand it, most differences between male and female income are due to the most wealthy individuals being male. Therefore, many women make handsome incomes, many more than is suggested in some misleading statistical representations. I.E. The few extremely high income makers at the top (the top 5%) who are male, throw the statistics off because they make such a disproportionately higher wage. Another factor is that woman take pregnancy leaves which can throw off their career path (there are more factors of course bu I'm getting off topic). So things aren't perfect, but much much better; we have done a good job in this regard.

    Still, if immigrants are allowed to take jobs that do not pay minimum wage, I do not see how an influx of immigrants is going to help us - it seems it may only increase our population and as a good portion of our big cities are overpopulated, I do not see how this would help .. ??
    Last edited by MusicAdventurer; 09-16-11 at 03:18 AM.

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    Re: Population Control

    Without a doubt, YES.

    Liberals are always complaining about poverty and wealth disparity. Well when real estate scarcity drives up prices for homes and rentals, who do you think gets hit the hardest? Where do you families go to get a foothold? Far away from city center and they trade commuting time for cheaper real estate. How are environmentalists liking that?

  10. #10
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    Re: Population Control

    I agree with what Kandahar said. Population controls are never the answer. If you do that, you end up like China. The answer is reducing poverty and improving education. Anyway, we're nowhere near having a population problem in the US yet. We're up to our ears in food.
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