Some progress has been made in curbing global population growth, yet much remains to be done, particularly in 3rd world countries. Population growth reached its zenith between 1950-70. The growth rate then remained at 2% per annum. By the early 1970s, the pace began to slow, and by 1985 it was down to 1.7%. UN sources anticipate a further drop to 1.5% by 2000. The decline has been due primarily to falling birthrates in some developing nations. China with its 1-child policy has been responsible for a major effect, but also there have been notable declines in other Asian and in Latin American countries. One important factor is the inherent dynamic of the population process. The momentum of population growth is remarkable; world numbers are destined to increase for decade upon decade. Fertility levels and overall rates of population growth will determine when different regions of the world are likely to realize stability . Regarding the level at which the world population will stabilize eventually, the figures most commonly quoted by international agencies range from 8000-10,000 million. This total would strain the earth's carrying capacity to an unacceptable degree and produce ecological malpraxis. In 1985 the developed nations accounted for about 1/4 of the world's population. The rate of growth had been slow for over 20 years and currently is 0.6% per annum. The 2 major demographic changes in the area are continuing low birthrates and a marked rise in the relative and absolute numbers of elderly people. In 1985 the less developed world of Africa, Asia, and Latin America housed 3700 million people, about 3/4 of the world's total. During the next 15 years, 85% of the births are expected to occur in the less developed world. Developing countries show great variations with respect to such demographic indices as birthrates, death rates, and infant mortality rates, but they share with developed nations the marked increase in their numbers of old people. This trend is becoming particularly evident in Latin America. Asia, with numbers approaching 3000 million in 1985, is the most populous continent of the developing world and illustrates the variability in reproductive activity characteristic of the 3rd world. In 1985 the population of South America reached just over 400 million with a rate of growth of 2.3% per annum. As in Asia population patterns vary with the common tendency for births to fall. As of 1985 the population situation in Africa continues to be very serious. Little change has taken placed in the crude birthrate over the 1950-85 period. The average life expectancy at birth is only 50 years, and the percentage of the population under age 15 is 45%. As the 21st century nears, the salience of the world's population problem must be increasingly appreciated by national governments and by international development agencies.

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