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Over the years, the US population has undergone through a rapid population growth. In 2011 the population of the US was estimated to be around 312,313,000, with a majority of the population living in the cities and suburbs. The urban dwellers made up 82% of the entire population.
In terms of geographical disparities, the population survey revealed that cities had high population than the rural areas, which were uninhabited. This paper will try to explain the factors that have contributed to the rapid American population growth rate in relation to social, economic and political aspects in regard to demographic change. In addition to this, the paper will examine how migration has influenced the American population (Dernbach and Environmental Law Institute 98).
According to the Census Bureau of America, the population has increased dramatically since the enactment and implementation of the immigration and nationality act of 1965. It was estimated that around that time, the number of legal immigrants entering the United States was a quarter of a million per annum.
By 1990, the figures had quadrupled to about one million immigrants per year. It is prudent to mention that the majority of the immigrants came from the South American countries. In connection to the Latin American immigrants, the census conducted by the Census Bureau in 2008-2009 established that in terms of birth rate, the number of children born in the United States belonging to the minorities constituted 48.6% forming the bigger chunk
Causes of increased population growth rate in America
There are various factors that have contributed to the population explosion in America. One of these factors is increased food production. It is estimated that after the World War II the world faced a recession in its economy especially in Europe. Availability of processed goods reduced drastically and precipitated the need by these countries to look to other countries for its raw materials.
America benefited from this scarcity by increasing land under cultivation, this undertaking did not only prove profitable in the economic sense, but also affected its population growth on a positive scale where the growth rate doubled from the census conducted in the 1900. It is believed that a society that is food sufficient is able to increase numerically.
The continued influx of immigrants, both legal as well as illegal, continues to be a major contributor to population growth rates. The United States of America has remained to be the most preferred immigration destination due to the better economic opportunities it offers to its populace.
Whereas the government of the United States of America has put elaborate measures to ensure that it controls legal immigration, the existence of the black market has aided the illegal immigrants to sustainably thrive in the country.
As noted by Kandel, (64), some unscrupulous business men opts to employ this illegal immigrants for some manual jobs so that they can pay them less than the minimum pay set by the labor laws. Since the illegal workers have no avenue to raise their grievances, they end up working in such establishment hence sustaining their livelihood in the United States. This has adversely affected the level population growth rates.
The provision of better health care services in America is estimated to have reduced mortality rate to be below one percent. Over the years, the American government has invested huge sums of millions of dollars in providing cheap and affordable health care by formulating laws that have seen improved access to health care facilities in addition to improved health care delivery.
After the World War II, many European countries embarked on a massive expedition to safeguard its population after massive lives were lost. This was precipitated by the United Nation Council formulating the Bill of Rights which stipulated that every person is entitled to the right of life and health.
These measures ensured that the American citizens got the best health care. In addition to availability of health care services, the American government has improved public health through the provision of water and sanitation, through improved public health contagious illness and diseases associated with poor sanitation have been eradicated by construction of efficient sewerage systems, separate water and gas lines and also through recycling of sewerage water through treatment.
The American population growth rate can also be associated with improved medical technology that has seen some diseases that increased the rate of child mortality like smallpox being eradicated through vaccination.
Medical technologies have also seen the war against diseases caused by bacteria being won through availability of antibiotics that have proved useful in treating almost all diseases caused by bacteria pathogens. This has translated to reduced mortality rate that has seen the American population increase drastically making America the third most populous country in the world.
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The other factor that has led to massive increase of the American population is better economic strategy. Unlike most European countries which were devastated by the World War II. America had a sound and vibrant economy which had made most of its citizen to have jobs and access to important basic needs such as food, shelter and clothing.
This precipitated the increase in population. Also, after the war, most of the European economies could not produce their own goods and services and had to rely on imports making their economies to take a plunge in the world rating. These facts also led to mass exodus of Europeans migrating to America to smart their businesses. The impact of having an improving economy was directly proportional with population growth rate (Kandel 124).
Consequence of a rapid population growth rate in America
Although increased population growth reflects a thriving society, it has negative consequences in various facets of life and the economy. One of the negative attributes in having a rapid population growth rate especially in America is increased pressure on the environment, with an estimated 82% of the American population living in the urban areas especially in cities.
These has translated to increased environmental degradation in terms of air pollution leading to global warming that has resulted to most states in the south coast experiencing level three typhoons that have been increasing over the years. The southern states have had their share of environment calamities ranging from high-level tornadoes to increased levels of floods.
Also, it is prudent to mention that the increased population has led to increased pressure on land in terms of fertility and crop production. Fertility has reduced with over cultivation causing people to relay on fertilizers that pollute the soil as they destroy microorganisms that are necessary for aeration of the soil (United Nations Human Settlements Programme 68).
In the economic sense, an increase in population results to unemployment especially if the rate of population growth is not proportional to economic growth, which results to increased levels of poverty. In America, the government is tasked with the mandate of looking after its citizen in terms of providing shelter, clothing and meals to the homeless and the poor.
This provision has made the government to incur a lot of expenditure in facilitating such undertakings. In the economic perspective, these measures are expensive considering that at the moment, the world is coming from a global recession that has seen the American economy adversely affected.
Solution to the rapid population growth rate in America
Over the years, analyst of the American population growth rate have grappled with the question of how to have a viable population growth rate that is both environmentally and economically sustainable, having in mind that the problem that is facing China and Europe where majority of the population comprises of the old rather than the youth translating to both economic and social disparities, where in the future there will be no working class and the government will have to invest in taking care of its ageing population.
Some American analyst and organizations like the United Nations have come up with various proposals in line to having a sustainable population, one of the measures is through family planning and spacing of children. This has been facilitated by the provision of scientific family planning methods and availability of contraceptives in the market.
This will reduce the cases of unplanned pregnancies as well as juvenile pregnancies that have over the years experienced a dramatic increase, which has resulted to increased population growth as well as increasing the poverty rate as most of these young adults are unemployed (Hartman 36).
The other solution given by some analyst in regard to having a viable population that is environmental friendly is by reducing over reliance on some economic resources that have contributed to economic degradation like oil.
Oil causes a lot of emission into the atmosphere causing global warming that is associated with all the environmental catastrophes that the world faces today. Also, toxic gas emission associated with oil have led to increased rates of bronchitis associated with diseases that eventually lead to death or poor respiration among the youth causing both economic and social problems.
The need to adopt environment friendly alternatives to these resources has been spearheaded by the United Nation Environmental Program (UNEP). Also, land pressure should be reduced by coming up with improved means of soil conservation through using environment friendly fertilizers and by the American government developing the rural areas to ease the pressure on cities (Northrup 148).
Another solution that is advocated for is the need to sensitize the American population, especially the immigrant communities, to understand how a rapid population limits their chances of accessing basic needs. Most migrant communities have the notion that by having their children born in America, they automatically become citizens. Even those who are aliens in America have resulted to this measure to ensure they remain as citizens in America.
This is in disregard to the fact that most of them do not possess the right qualifications to guarantee them a job. These people have to result to manual work to sustain their livelihood and those of their children, but with the prevailing economic challenges, the end result is having a lot of poor and not so well educated migrants that have become a burden to society and the government (Louis 89).
Dernbach, C. John and Environmental Law Institute. Stumbling toward sustainability. New York: Environmental Law Institute. Print.
Hartman, C. Edward. The Population Fix: Breaking America’s Addiction to Population Growth. New York: Edward C. Hartman, 2006. Print.
Kandel, A.William. U.S. ForeignBorn Population: Trends and Selected Characteristics. Chicago: DIANE Publishing. 2011. Print.
Louis, Arner George. Consanguineous Marriages in the American Population. New York: Echo Library. 2007. Print.
Northrup, Cynthia. The American economy: a historical encyclopedia. New York: ABC- CLIO, 2003. Print.
United Nations Human Settlements Programme. Planning sustainable cities: global report on human settlements 2009. Nairobi: UN-HABITAT, 2009. Print
Environmental Law Institute, 2002