Populations Exponential Growth And Finite Resources

Chapter 7: Populations – Exponential Growth & Finite Resources


This unit is devoted to the study of populations in nature, their growth over time, and the limits to their growth. We will also take an in-depth look at the human population of our world, how it has grown and changed over time to reach 7 billion people today, and what might be ahead of us in the future. We will focus on achieving long-term sustainability and improving the quality of life for all of mankind.

Unit Focus Question:

How and why has the human population changed over time, and is there a carrying capacity for the planet?

Packet Contents:



1.    Reading Questions 7A

2.    Reading Questions 7B

Chapter 7 Vocabulary List


science of vital and social statistics such as births, deaths, diseases, marriages etc. of a population


someone who studies the science of vital and social statistics such as births, deaths, diseases, marriages etc. of a population


movement of non-native people into a country with an intent to settle there


movement of native people into a different country with the intent to settle there

Crude Birth Rate (CBR)

number of births per 1000 people per year

Crude Death Rate (CDR)

number of deaths scaled to the size of the population per a unit of time

Total Fertility Rate

average number of children that would be born to a woman over her lifetime

Replacement-level fertility

number of children born from two parents should be equal or more than the number of parents

Developed countries

country with a highly developed economy and advanced technological infrastructure

Developing countries

country with a low standard of living, undeveloped industrial base, and low human development index

Life expectancy

probable number of years remaining in the life of an individual or a class of people

Infant mortality

death of an infant less than one year of age

Child mortality

death of a child less than five years of age

Age structure diagram

graphical illustration that shows the distribution of various age groups in a population

Population pyramid

graphical illustration that shows the distribution of various age groups in a population

Population momentum

population growth at the national level  that would occur if the levels of childbearing declined to replacement levels

Demographic transition

transition from high birth and death rates to low birth and death rates when a country develops

Family planning

planning of when to have children, prevention methods, and other important information


abundance of money, property, and material goods

IPAT Equation

formula to describe the human activity on the environment

Urban area (census


location with high human density and vast human built features, such as cities or towns

Gross domestic product


total value of all goods and services produced during a year

Reading Questions 7A 

  1. What types of environmental problems are being caused by China’s large population growth?

China is needing to produce more food and supplies to be able to supply for their growing population so they are producing more of that which is causing more smog and more land taken away to build factories on, pollution in general.

  1. In addition to population growth, economic development is increasing resource consumption in China. Which do you think plays a bigger role in achieving sustainability: addressing population growth or economic development?

I believe that in order for china to reach sustainability they would have to first address their population growth then their economic development because i believe a larger population still consumes more than a small amount of people who use up a lot of resources but both would still need to be addressed. 

  1. Considering China’s growth, do you think the strict measures taken by the country’s government to reduce growth (such as the One Child Policy) are justified? Or is this a violation of human rights?

I believe that it's justified that china implemented the One Child Policy because if they hadn't done that then china would have to import the majority of their food because their would have been a population overshoot and then their would eventually be a mass famine in Asia. 

  1. Do you think it is possible for China to meet the needs of its large (and growing) population for resources without putting it on a path of unsustainable resource consumption? If so, how can they do it? If not, why can’t they do it?

Yes, i believe their One Child Policy will eventually work to where their population will begin to decrease and they would be on track to reaching a sustainable resource consumption, however if they’d ever reach it im not sure but i do believe eventually things will get better.

  1. The population and resource problems facing China are playing out all over the world in developing countries. Do developed countries have an obligation to help solve these problems, or are they things that each country must address on their own? Explain your answer.

I don't think that developed countries have an obligation to help developing countries in solving population problems. A developing country should ask for assistance if they need it but as far as being obligated i don't think so because every country is different in some way or another so they should work things out in the way they see fit.

  1. What was Malthus’ prediction about the carrying capacity of the Earth, and why was he wrong?

Malthus’s prediction about the carrying capacity of earth was that eventually the human population would exceed the food supply. He was wrong because when there is a growing population there are more intelligent people so that then leads to more innovation and problem solving.

  1. What do you think the major constraining limits on human population growth are? (In other words, what will be the critical limiting resources that determine Earth’s carrying capacity for        humans?)

i think the major constraining limits on human population growth are going to be sense of security and sustainability, most people aren't going to have kids if they feel that their kids won't survive in the world due to a missing resource, obviously some kids will still be born that way but the majority of people won't have kids if they don't think they can thrive in the world. 


  1. Provide the formula for calculating the change in population size over a given period of time:

global population rate =(CBR-CDR)


national population growth rate ={(CBR+immigration) - (CDR+emmigration)}


  1. What does the TFR of a country measure, and why is it an important demographic measurement?

TRF measure the average number of children each woman will bear throughout her childbearing years, it is important because it is one of the factors that helps give an idea of an increase, decrease, or population maintaining its size

  1. Which regions of the world have SHORT life expectancies, which ones have LONG life expectancies, and what are the major factors that influence this?

Developed countries have longer life expectancies while less developed countries have shorter life expectancies. This is influenced by economic and social development of an area.

  1. What information do population pyramids show, and why are they important demographic information?

population pyramids show the age groups and how many people in thousands belong to each age group, this is important when you think of supplies for people and planning for the future.

Reading Questions 7B ( pg 188-198)

  1. What is underlying cause of the demographic transition that most countries go through as they develop?

The underlying cause of demographic transition that most countries  go through as  they develop is population growth.

  1. Complete the following chart regarding the demographic transition:

Stage I

Stage II

Stage III

Stage IV

What happens?

slow or no growth

rapid growth

population stabilization

population declines


birth and death

higher birth rate

low birth and

higher death rate

rate almost equal, disease, war etc.

than death rate, birth control

death rate

than birth rate, more old people than young

Impact on population?



very little ch



  1. What major factors tend to reduce the number of children families have?

The major factors that affect the number of children is birth control and the education level of women, because the more schooling they get, the later they get married so then they’ll have children later which means less time to have children so less children over all.

  1. Based on the experiences of Thailand, Kenya and China in promoting family planning, what do you think the key is to reducing population growth in developing countries? Is this goal beneficial or harmful?

I think the key for reducing population growth in developing countries is education for all the people.I think a goal like education can only be beneficial if done correctly.

Development, Consumption, IPAT

  1. How do the annual population growth rates of developed countries compare to developing countries?

The annual population growth rate is lower in developed countries and higher in developing countries.

  1. Where is most of the future growth in the human population expected to happen?

in china and india

  1. Why does calculating the per-capita ecological footprint for a country allow us to approximate the affluence level of the society?

Calculating the ecological footprint  for a country is important because it would help a country know the affluence level and this tells us the amount of resources needed to support the people.

  1. What are the 3 terms in the IPAT equation that affect a society’s impact on its environment? Give an example of how a change in each would cause a change in the society’s impact.
    1. population, the more people there are the more resources that are used up
    2. affluence, better jobs and less farm work so less children needed
    3. technology, help in advancements that could help people live longer
  1. How can the technology factor of the IPAT equation work to either increase OR decrease the impact of a society on the environment?

There could be an increase in the number of people which would in turn increase the amount of technological advancement and resource usage although more people could mean more innovation which would  lead to more efficient technology which would be good for the environment

  1. As a country develops economically, its impact on the environment shifts from local to global scales. Using your knowledge of the industrial revolution, explain why this is.

its impact on the environment shifts from locally to globally because of the mass amounts of destruction and pollution created by the industrial revolution and everything that follows

  1. Contrast the types of environmental problems which occur from local environmental impacts (typically in developing countries) and global environmental impacts (typically from developed countries).

The types of environmental problems that occur in developed countries are much more damaging and harmful to the world than the environmental problems that occur in developing countries because developed countries do things on much larger scales.

  1. How does the percentage of people living in urban areas in developed countries compare to developing countries? How is this expected to change in the next 20 years?

People who live in developing countries in the cities are much harder on the environment compared to people who live in developed countries. in the next 20 years it's expected to go up 56%

  1. We find that countries with very low GDPs per capita have little impact on the environment, then the impact rises as GDP increases, until eventually the impact begins to decrease. What causes this pattern (low impactà rising impact à           falling impact)?

This pattern is caused by the fact that countries with low GDP have little efficiency, so less efficiency means more pollution and high GDP means more efficiency and less pollution and other types of negative impacts on the environment

  1. Some environmental scientists have argued that increasing the GDP of developing nations is the        best way to decrease their impact on the environment. Explain why this might work.

the higher GDP that a country has then the more efficient they are which means less pollution

  1. The status and rights of women varies widely around the world; in some nations, they have surpassed men in educational attainment, while in other countries women remain second-class citizens or victims of violence and poverty. How do women’s rights and societal development interact? Consider demographics, economics, politics, and sustainability in your response.

The more societal development a country has the more womens rights it has, so the more developed a country is then the more rights women will have, its just the way it is. 

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