By the year 2043, the United Nations predicts that the world population will reach a grand total of 9 million people. This is simply too big.
The importance of a growing population is widely recognized. China recently changed their one-child policy in order to allow more youth into their country, to guarantee future generations of workers. Germany has stated that they need more immigration to establish a stronger and more diverse workforce. So yes, people need to keep reproducing, immigrating, and contributing to the economies of their countries.
However, with a growing number of people on this planet, there also arise certain risks. First and foremost, many children are born into poverty - they do not have good living situations and many are raised by single parents or are under the care of a relative. An increased number of mothers are giving birth to unwanted children, which is where so many people are coming from. These are young children who will not be able to lead long, happy lives, and many are in either poor conditions or without proper care.
A rapidly growing population contributes to the faster spread of diseases, poor living standards, and increased transitional crime (ones which have effects over national borders). When these existing problems get even larger, many innocent people can be hurt in the fallout. The number of unwanted pregnancies and births increased worldwide in 2015, and is set to do so again this year. Around 38% of unexpected pregnancies which do not turn into births are ended by dangerous at home abortions. It is clear that something needs to be done.
What is that something? Well, there are many things which can be done to curve this increasing population without imposing harsh or unreasonable regulations. The most viable solution, however, seems unbelievably simple. And it is. A possible answer to the world’s problems is to increase effective contraceptive availability.
Contraceptives can be found within about five walking minutes from every house or living space in an urban area of a developed country. However, in many lower income or underdeveloped parts of the world, there are fewer places to purchase them, as well as higher price tags. In some places with no family clinics, a pill can cost hundreds of dollars, and it is still expensive even in the most populated areas. More basic prevention methods are still overpriced to the millions of people who live under the poverty line.
It is an endless cycle - the less availability, the more people born into poverty, who then cannot afford the contraceptives.
There are many actions that governments could take in just about every country. There could be subsidies on the production of the most common contraceptives, to lower the manufacturing cost, convince more people to join the market, and ignite competition between businesses, which typically leads to lower prices. Foreign agencies can take actions to create low-income family clinics in their countries. Companies can ship more overseas, with the government establishing a free trade system (no tariffs on the goods) for those specific products.
But most of all, the issue calls for recognition. Nothing can be fixed or solved if there is no publicity on the matter. There are an infinitely large number of small, simple actions that our government can take, as well as administrations all around the world, to positively impact the farthest reaches of poverty on the planet. Doing this would save lives, put a stop to much of the poverty cycle, and raise awareness of an issue which affects the entire world.
9 million people will be living on this planet soon. Let’s make sure that they can lead the best lives possible.