Overpopulation In China

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Overpopulation is defined as the condition of being populated with excessively large numbers. Some will say that the world we are living in, in fact, is in the state of human overpopulation as there are around 7.8 billion of us humans living and thriving on it. To support the previous statement, roughly 83 million new-borns are being brought to the world, adding more load to the burden than thinking of a solution. Thus, people are starting to worry if humans are in need to discover another suitable planet that can be called as humanity’s new home, or to build a spaceship with very advanced technology that includes a large capacity that can support and sustain the human race to be living in space, like the Disney Pixar movie Wall- E. Most of the scientist mentioned that some problems that are occurring now may be caused by overpopulation. For example, climate change, global warming, rising sea level, flash flood and more. Not only that, but they also mentioned that food supplies will probably decrease, thus the human population might fall into the crisis of food shortage where there will be more mouths to feed than food to be bought and harvest. This might cause inflation to the world’s economy. Furthermore, if the increasing human population is not being maintained at a sustainable level, there will be more problems that will eventually arise and not being able to solve. Humans may not be able to cope with the rising rates of environmental problems soon if there are little to no actions to be made to solve the situations.

On the other hand, some argue that overpopulation is a minor problem and most media outlets and scientists have made it seem like a big deal. A few even called out regarding this situation, mentioning that it is a myth or a hoax. This is because highly trained natural scientists are trained thinking that with calculations of the growth of population, with the concept that populations must have a limit to achieve the ultimate balance with the environment to avoid negative impacts on the environment, the so-called ecological balance. Some claimed to have freed themselves from the box where most of the scientists are still stuck in, mentioning that they do not understand the environment as well as they think they do.

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If we were to mention overpopulation, the first country that comes to the mind of most is China. At 1.44 billion, China’s population makes up 18% of the world’s population. It is estimated that the numbers will continue to rise until the early 2030s with the control of the Chinese government.

Leading causes of overpopulation in China

According to Onwutalobi (2014), China’s population began to increase massively in 1949 after Second World War when Chairman Mao Zedong urge families in China to have as many children as possible. Thinking about generating more wealth in terms of money for the country, the government thought that working towards increasing population would achieve this goal. When the country has more money, China then would be able to form a better military force, to produce more food, to develop water control as well as setting up communication systems. Since 1949, China’s population rise in millions every year, from 118 million to 712 million in 1970 (Onwutalobi, 2014).

Another reason that cause overpopulation in China is individuals having poor knowledge of birth control and are lacking family planning concepts (Renewable Resources Coalition, 2016). During the time when chairman Mao encouraged families to have as many children as they could, China’s illiteracy rate is very high. In 1949, there was approximately 80 per cent of Chinese who are illiterate (Jia, 2011). For your information, illiterate means people who are uneducated and do not have the ability to read and write. Jia (2011) claimed that according to a report released by UNESCO, China ranks at the ninth worst country who has the greatest number of illiterate adults among the ten sample countries chosen from all over the world. Most illiterate people are living in mountainous or rural area, so not being able to get information as well as knowledge about available and correct contraceptive usage resulted in adult females living in rural areas giving birth to more children compared to women in cities. China became an overpopulated country very much because of lacking the knowledge of birth control (Renewable Resources Coalition, 2016).

On the other hand, poverty is another major cause of overpopulation (Renewable Resources Coalition, 2016). As there is a high unemployment rate in China stated in (Brown, 2012), parents of many families are not able to get a job to sustain the family expenses, thus young children have to work as child labour to assist with respective family financial difficulties (China Labour Bulletin, 2003). Children who have to work as child labour often lose educational opportunities (China Labour Bulletin, 2003). On average, child labour worked for 6.75 hours per day and spent 6.42 hours less to study daily compared to other children (Burkert, 2019). When children work as child labour and cannot attend school, they again will become illiterate and this will create a cycle that had caused overpopulation as mentioned in the paragraph above.

In the past few years, studies have shown that advanced medical technology greatly reduces mortality rates which in return contributed to the population in China (Renewable Resources Coalition, 2016). Moreover, research had also revealed that China had been focusing on increasing healthcare in rural areas and had successfully reduces under-five mortality rate (U5MR) (Siyuan Liang, 2019). Data on China’s mortality rate had shown that from 23.366 deaths per 1000 people in the year 1950 to 7.261 deaths per 1000 people in year 2019 (Macrotrends, 2019).

To sum up, it was until the year 1979, when China’s leader Deng Xiaoping came to realize that China’s rapidly growing population should be controlled, he implemented the one-child policy, resulting in significant population decline (Connett, 2019).

Problems associated with overpopulation in China

Overpopulation causes a major impact to the citizens of China. One of the problems caused is the increase in unemployment rate. When the populations in China increases, the number of jobs available decreases because the number of applicants is more than the number of jobs available. This scenario leads to the severe rise in unemployment rate in China. As shown in Figure 3, China’s unemployment rate in 1991 was 2.40%, but in 2018, the rate of unemployment went up to 4.42% (Unemployment, 2019). This situation also leads to crime rates growing rapidly. Being jobless with no income, they might be forced to turn their backs on the society and choose to commit crime in order to survive or support their family.

Moreover, problems that are also caused by the overcrowded population in China is traffic congestion. This is because of the excessive numbers of cars on the road nowadays. The roads are crowded with cars and vehicles get stuck easily in traffic jams. With more cars on the road, road traffic will be more frequent during the morning and evening where people will be driving to work or back home. In China, Chongqing is currently the most jam-packed city. According to Buchholz (2020), Congestion in Chongqing can also reach a morning peak of 80 per cent and an evening peak of 86 per cent (Buchholz, 2020). This problem not only causes inconvenience to the residents of China, but it may also lead to higher possibilities of road accidents. This is because when there are more vehicles on the road, the chances of road accidents like car crashes to happen is also higher.

Furthermore, overpopulation in China also causes degradation of the environment. When a country becomes overpopulated, the usage of coal, oil and natural gas exceeds its usual usage and produces more outcome that negatively impacts Mother Earth greatly. According to Albert & Xu (2016), China is the world’s largest emitter of greenhouse gases, having overtaken the United States in 2007, and was responsible for 27 per cent of global emissions in 2014 (Albert & Xu, 2016). As stated above, the addition of vehicles on the road is also a major contributor to environmental degradation. This is because vehicles emit harmful substances like nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxide, and other substances which lead to global warming. Outcomes like climate changes and greenhouse gasses lead to the melting of polar ice caps and the rise in sea levels.

To summarize, overpopulation causes various problems from different aspects like environment, traffic and unemployment rates. These issues cause significant impacts to the pleasant lives of the citizens of China.  


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