What Causes Overpopulation?

I know my questions aren't the best in the world but they are the questions I need answered even if the answers don't exactly makes sense or fit. If at all possible could you please answer them as best you can.



Dear Angel,

I appreciate your persistence, sincerity - and politeness. Understanding that "overpopulation" should be quotations, I will answer as best I can.

1. In your opinion what causes over population?

Opportunity. People are constantly leaving sparcely populated areas like Ethiopia, rural Mexico, South Dakota and provincial China for densly populated places such as Hong Kong, the Netherlands, and Seattle. They come because of opportunities - jobs, health care, recreation, etc. Most immigrants are young and dynamic; they in turn create opportunites (e.g. Seattle's fine Thai restaurants) which are economic magnets for others.

2. What can we do to stop it?

According to a recent U.N. report, it has stopped. In as many as seventy countries fertility rates have dropped below the replacement level (2.1 per woman). In other countries that rate is declining rapidly.

3. Do you think it will be come a big problem in the near future?

Yes. When you are my age (53) the majority of people in the world will be much older than the present average. Kind of a depressing thought isn't it? The economic consequences will be negative because young folks are the most dynamic part of any economy. But people like you can be part of the solution by having several children - and raising them with good moral values.

4. What country is in most danger of over population?

The countries of Europe seem to be in most danger because of their declining populations. U.S. has more immigrants and a slightly better birth rate, but we are not far behind.

5. What natural resource is being depleted the most due to over population?

All of our mineral resources (copper, iron, etc.) are abundant - prices have actually dropped in recent decades because supply is greater than demand. They are also all ultimately recyclable. Even non-recyclable energy resources are quite abundant. In the seventies many experts were saying we would run out of oil by the end of the century. Now they say we have reserves for at least 90 more years. But even if and when we run out of petroleum, energy which comes to the earth from the sun is greater than we could ever begin to harness. The most important resource of course is human intelligence, creativity. There are a trillion tons of resources - water, land, animals, plants, minerals, etc - for each human being on the planet. It takes human energy and care to manage those resources well.

God bless you,

Fr. Phil Bloom

Are We Overpopulated?

What is Overpopulation?

Is Catholic Position on Birth Control Irresponsible?

Have We Already Filled the Earth? (cf. Gen 1:28)

Are We Destroying the Environment?

Unlimited Carrying Capacity?

The "Baby Bust" and the Future of Social Security

The amazing example of Hong Kong

Population Research Institute offers an in-depth study of these questions.

Population Reference Bureau "providing timely and objective information on population"

A letter from Brian Carnell who operates a popular website which discusses both sides of this issue.

Stem Cell Research: Teaching of Bible & Catholic Church

Germaine Greer on Birth Control

Human Cloning: A Catholic Perspective (How the Unthinkable Became Inevitable)

Your comments or questions are welcome.


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