Overpopulation is a factor that cannot be ignored and has a major impact on the society. Overpopulation is the main cause of social problems.
Overpopulation always strains the available resources. Many schools are operating with overcrowded classes’ because of the large number of students but less resources to build good schools that can comfortably accommodate the growing population (Ellison & Total Education in the Total Environment, 1971). Many city and town administrations are overpowered by the wastes generated by the huge population as there is a lack of the capacity to provide adequate service. Services such as sanitation, water supply and sewerage have been drastically affected to the extent that they represent now a huge healthy risk. The supply of clean water is limited.
Diseases outbreaks like cholera and tuberculosis cannot be effectively managed due to the abnormal ratio of population to the service providers (Green, 2008). In some parts of the country there is simply not enough food to feed the entire population; this has led to people dying from hunger and malnutrition. The world will get to a situation where it cannot sustain life as we know it. Apart from the depletion of resources, overpopulation causes many environmental problems. Pollution is one of the major environmental problems the magnitude of which has been increased by overpopulation. Since much more people drive cars, throw away more trash, cut down more trees and use more electricity, the environmental problems we are already experiencing have been enhanced.
More carbon dioxide is emitted to the atmosphere; there is always a human and wildlife conflict as people try to expand residential areas and more forests are being cut down. Polluted environment therefore also leads to a loss of biodiversity since more species of plants and animals become extinct. As industrialize countries become richer, more waste is generated and hence the environment becomes more polluted (Kunzing & Broecker, 2008). In overpopulated areas it has been observed that there are more cases of crime as opposed to other areas. This can only be attributed to the fact that there are more jobless people who try to get a living. The fact is that with high unemployment rate, a high crime rate is bound to be, owing to the fact that everybody tries to survive.
Another factor is that in overpopulated areas it is very hard to maintain security and social order. It is easier to commit a crime without being noticed in overpopulated areas than in less populated areas. Overpopulation has caused the emergence of slums (informal settlements mainly in cities which appear due to lack of adequate housing facilities and/or low income) (Jakab, 2008). As family size increases parents have less time for each child, save less for school and cannot manage to adequately educate each child due to lack of sufficient funds. The overall effect is a less educated population that lacks sufficient knowledge to make sensible decisions.
This also results in a higher rate of juvenile delinquency in the society. Many children become unruly since there is no good parental care and they may be exposed to bad influence at an early age. This leads to moral degradation of the society. Politically, there is a reduced political power of the individual. Due to the population increase, each representative has to represent the interests of a wider population segment. This gives politicians a loophole that they take advantage of.
This problem was initially addressed by increasing the number of representatives (Ellison & Total Education in the Total Environment, 1971). However, when the representatives’ number becomes too big, this causes their inefficiency. A good example is that in the United States during Lincoln’s time there were 185000 residents in a congressional district. Today there are about 600000 people in each district. Governing an overpopulated country proves to be a very complicated task.
In case of civil war many countries find themselves incapable of controlling civilians. Malicious politicians use the overpopulation to their advantage. They over-use overpopulation as campaigning strategies. But when elected the same politicians abandon and ignore the electorate. With the ever growing population we only hope for the best but should be prepared for the worst.