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Myth of population explosion

Dear Editor:I’m confused. In his Dec. 29 letter, Doc Philip states, “The current world population growth rate of 2.1 percent would have a doubling effect in 33 more years.” However, Ben Wattenberg writes in The American Enterprise, “The ‘replacement’ level in modern countries is 2.1 children per woman. That is demography’s magic number. Why 2.1? Sooner or later a mother and father die. If the parents are not ‘replaced’ by two children – plus one-tenth of a child to account for those children who do not live to reach their own age of reproduction – the population declines.” Who do you believe? I’m inclined to go along with Wattenberg’s reasoning.Wattenberg shows a declining fertility rate for less developed countries, decreasing from 6.2 in 1950-953 to 2.9 in 2000-2005. Rates in Europe and Japan have dropped from 2.7-2.8 in 1950-1955 to 1.3-1.4 in 2000-2005. The 2002 rate for the United States was 2.0.Read more in Wattenberg’s new book, “Fewer, How the New Demography of Depopulation Will Shape Our Future.”Dick ProsenceMeeker