Re: Miss Pop Ulation (was: population, homosexuality)

Robert J. Bradbury (
Fri, 3 Dec 1999 03:27:25 -0800 (PST)

On Fri, 3 Dec 1999, Harvey Newstrom wrote:

> <> wrote on Friday, December 03, 1999 2:08 am,
> > yup....ZPG has been attained in the US for quiet some time now. The
> > population increase is due to immigration. I understand the same is true
> of
> > other technicaly advanced countries...
> Where do you get this stuff?
> According to <>:
> Birth rate: 14.3 births/1,000 population (1999 est.)
> Death rate: 8.8 deaths/1,000 population (1999 est.)
> Net migration rate: 3 migrant(s)/1,000 population (1999 est.)
> (These terms are defined at
> This is another one of those urban legends.

Harvey, I have to disagree here. You cannot use the these statistics alone to discuss something like ZPG, you have to use the demographics profile in its entirety. Right now the baby-boomer generation is in the middle of its reproductive years, so the births are exceeding deaths. The figure you *really* need is the population doubling time.

For example, see "Technology Needs of Aging Boomers", by Joseph F. Coughlin (from the Age Lab at MIT), in the Fall, 1999 "ISSUES in Science and Technology", Figure 2, shows a relatively uniform population-age distribution around 2030 with an est. U.S. population of ~304 million, not too much larger than the 2000 population of ~268 million. While not ZPG, the doubling time is very long (probably hundreds of years). As Fig 1 of the article points out, the estimates are that in 2040, 77 million of the U.S. population will be over 65 (these people usually aren't having many children...). You have to take into account some very complicated rates of change in offspring produced per individual when you discuss ZPG. My impression is that in Western economies, Mick's claim is correct (that educated middle-upper class individuals are producing ~2 children/couple). Perhaps this may be due to an awareness of the relative costs of producing and educating a child likely to be successful in the anticipated environment (this runs upwards of half a million dollars I believe).

All of this says that education and awareness lowers population growth rates. Why invest in children when you can invest in oneself [other than to satisfy subconscious genetic drives]? Organizations, such as The Hunger Project are well aware of this and that is why they place an emphasis on educating women, increasing their earning potential, etc. so that they can put themselves in a position of being something other than a baby manufacturing facility. { None of these comments are intended to deny the pleasures associated with having or raising children so long as it is realized that those pleasures are "pre-programmed" into your being. }

Now of course, all of these predictions are *ABSOLUTELY WORTHLESS* (loud shouting *intended*) because they fail to take into account technological progress for things like extending lifespans (which will bump the population growth rate) or uploading (which will decrease the "physical" population growth rate).

You *really* don't want to get me started on the issues involved in predicting population levels, social security economics, economic growth unrelated to knowledge growth, etc.

Razzzum, frazzum, incompetent, illinformed, moronic, diluted salt-water for brains, sub-octopodes, unworthy of being uplifted or uploaded, ........