Population Matters Update - May 2016


Population growth in the UK will drive up the future cost of living, according to our briefing. The UK is already among the top 10 most expensive countries in the world, but a coming scarcity of construction and energy resources is likely to increase this still further.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon

Population data is crucial to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, according to United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon. Mr. Ban emphasized that governments should keep track of demography within their countries, and work to secure the reproductive rights of their citizens.

Ongoing population growth in Africa should not be misinterpreted as a demographic dividend, according to the International Union for the Scientific Study of Population. A demographic dividend requires the workforce and materials available to be effectively utilized, whereas the current population growth will result in reduced economic development.

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Our briefing shows that population growth in the UK is putting public services under untenable strain. We argue that, while technological improvements and better lifestyle choices can improve the situation, ultimately, population size needs to stabilize.

UK Houses of Parliament

The launch event for the new All-Party Parliamentary Group on Limits to Growth was held on 19 April. We found it greatly encouraging that population growth was mentioned numerous times as a global problem, and are seeking opportunities to collaborate.

Millennials are now the largest current generation in the US, according to the US Census Bureau. This means that even the renowned baby boomer generation, those aged 55 - 65, now contains fewer people than the generation born in the late 1980s - 2000s.

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We celebrated Earth Day on 22 April, as the COP21 Agreement was officially signed and thousands of people took the time for Acts of Green to show their appreciation for our planet.

Human population growth is already eroding natural habitats and wildlife in the UK

Population growth is eroding natural amenities in the UK, according to our briefing. The resultant increase in housing demand and waste production has already greatly reduced natural habitats and wildlife.

A new BBC video report explores the reasons why Lake Chad, one of the world’s largest lakes, is disappearing. Changing weather patterns, a result of climate change, and increasing water extraction for irrigation are said to be the causes.

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The story of Ana, a 19-year-old Guatemalan girl given access to family planning for the first time, is now available online. Ana was one of 150 vulnerable young women to make use of a mobile family planning clinic operated by WINGS, and funded by Pop Offsets, in Guatemala.

Ireland’s next government may block a vote on abortion law reform

Ireland’s next government may block a vote on abortion law reform, according to Irish pro-choice campaigners. In Irish law, abortion is currently only legal in cases where continuing with a pregnancy would result in the mother’s death, or in cases where the woman is suicidal.

A British woman who has chosen to be sterilized has had to defend her decision never to become a mother. Viewers of daytime television programme This Morning attacked Holly Brockwell’s choice as “upsetting” and “ridiculous”.

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Population Matters Update is edited by Lily Chamberlain.


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With elections for the Northern Ireland and Welsh Assemblies, Scottish Parliament, London Mayor and some councils approaching on 5 May 2016, we have written two template letters that you can send to candidates to ask them how they would tackle population growth.

Look out on 25 May for the UK subnational population projections from the Office for National Statistics to see what is expected for your area — we’ll be making a bit of noise about them.

We wish our patron Sir David Attenborough many happy returns on the occasion of his 90th birthday.

Thanks to all who answered our survey. We shall move to the preferred frequency of a monthly Update, and will consider your other feedback carefully.


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