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Report on Global Population Growth Released


The Population Reference Bureau (P.R.B.) released its annual data sheet on global population growth. The report had some interesting findings.

Experts in world population growth spoke at the National Press Club in Washington, DC recently about the Population Reference Bureau's, or P.R.B.'s annual data sheet.

Carl Haub is a demographer with the P.R.B. "The population data sheet is an annual demographic survey, in which we gather demographic population statistics from all countries in the world."

This year, the data covered a variety of issues affecting population growth, such as AIDS and clean water and sanitation. But the report's main emphasis was on the effects of migration on the world population.

While it is common for people from poorer countries to migrate to developed, wealthier nations, experts found there was also migration between developing countries -- for example, from Guatemala to Mexico.

There are any number of reasons for this trend, says Rachel Nugent of the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH). "People from very poor countries going to less poor countries. People fleeing wars and conflict. People responding to population pressures."

The economy was an important reason people chose to migrate. In China, for example, millions of people from the countryside moved to the city to find better-paying jobs.

A poor economy may discourage people from moving. In Italy, where the unemployment rate is high, many men in their 20s and 30s continue to live with their parents.

Nugent says statistics on the fertility rate were also revealing. "Most developing countries have what we call a youth bulge, which means they have a very large number of young people. That means they're going to continue to have large population growth as those young people have children."

By comparison, the fertility rate in developed countries has been stable, or falling. In Germany, the drop has been alarming. Experts predict by the year 2050, approximately 35 percent of Germany's population will be over 60. Part of the reason is high unemployment, which discourages couples from having families.