The Dynamics of Socio-Economic Development

by Adam Szirmai,


CHAPTER 5: Population and Development

This chapter focuses on the relationships between population growth and economic development. The chapter opens with a discussion of global demographic trends. Subsequently, it discusses the economic consequences of population growth and demographic change. Malthusian perspectives, which argue that population growth is a threat to sustainable development are contrasted with more optimistic assessments which indicate that technological change has the potential to outpace the growth of population.

The second half of the chapter focuses on explanations of why families in developing countries have so many children. These explanations serve as guidelines for the formulation of population policies. The chapter contains four tables on demographic indicators.

List of Tables



5.1: Growth of World Population, 10.000 BC - 2200


5.2: Population growth in selected developing countries, 1820-2010


5.3: Indicators of demographic changes, 1950‑2010, by region


5.4: Unemployment and informal employment

Grandmother, Ladakh, India

(Photo: R. Luiten)




copyright 2004: Adam Szirmai - design: Rik Luiten - last update: 03/02/2015