What Are the Advantages and Disadvantages of Population Growth?

advantages-disadvantages-population-growth Credit: Glowimages/Getty Images

The advantages of population growth include increased economic development, availability of labor and possibility of innovation. However, population growth may result in high unemployment rates, environmental degradation, food shortage and high dependency rates.

Advantages of Population Growth

Economic Growth
The growth of population equates to increased purchases of items such as clothing, educational material, food and other household goods. In addition, increased number of family members encourages the movement of families into larger houses. This results in increased trade, which in essence supports several sectors of the economy like manufacturing, agriculture, construction and home improvement industries.

Moreover, an increased population translates to an increase in tax revenue. This enables the government to have easy access to resources for its normal operations, security and infrastructural development.

Availability of Labor
Population growth causes an increase in labor force. This ensures efficient utilization of resources and optimal productivity in sectors such as agriculture and manufacturing. Availability of labor is an essential tool for economic development.

Population growth encourages innovations in fields such as medicine, agriculture and production. This is because more great minds results in more innovations. In addition, population growth has led to a greater consciousness for more industrial and agricultural productivity to meet the demand of the large number of people. For example, the assembly line was devised as an adaptation for the need of more industrial production.

Disadvantages of Population Growth

Environmental Degradation
Rising populations may lead to deforestation so as to create more land for human settlement and agriculture. Deforestation greatly affects the weather cycle and may lead to climate change.

An increased population translates to more environmental pollution through release of greenhouse gases from industrial machinery and improper waste disposal. This results in environmental degradation and may cause loss of biodiversity and health complications.

In some situations, rapid increase in population may surpass the number of employment opportunities created in the economy. This results in widespread unemployment. Unemployment has several negative effects in the society such as increased crime rates, political instability, reduced standards of living and a decline in economic development.

Food Shortage
Unchecked population growth without an equivalent agricultural development may lead to food shortage. Factors such as reduced agricultural land and environmental degradation contribute to reduced agricultural yields, hence food shortage.

Aging Dependency
Increased population growth coupled with high life expectancy rates results in an increase in the number of aged population. This leads to high dependency rates, hence limiting economic development.

Property Shortage
Population growth encourages rural to urban migration in search of better employment and business opportunities. This leads to overcrowding in urban areas, resulting in shortage of housing and other social amenities. The shortage of housing in some underdeveloped countries led to the growth of informal settlements and slums.

In general, there's no consensus by scientists and other relevant stakeholders on what the ideal population count in the world should be. Some individuals favor a more conservative ideal estimate while others believe the earth could support more billions of human beings. However, controlled population growth is essential for management of resources and the environment.