Baby Boomin': Implications of high population growth in Latin America
The demographic pressure of skyrocketing population growth is most evident today in the region’s urban areas.
Latin America is home to about 625 million people, about 1 in 11 of the world's population, which now has 7 billion inhabitants. It is expected that within a generation there will be 9 billion people in the world. This high population level, however, is very recent; less than three hundred years ago the total population of the Earth was just 1 billion people, of which only 11 million lived in the Latin America region.
Long-term demographic changes define what is often termed "demographic transition". This process is characterized by the drop in mortality rates in the first instance, so that population growth tends to accelerate, and as a result, a drop in the birth rate, thereby stabilizing the population. Such a transition is central to the process of economic development, culminating with a high but stable population density.
In regions such as Europe, population growth has stabilized for decades, but this is not the case in many countries in Latin America. Although the transition in Latin America is almost completely due to the slowdown in population growth in recent years (under 1% a year, according to United Nations data), countries such as Belize, Bolivia, Ecuador and Guatemala still have growth rates of close to or higher than 1.5%. Although a rate of 1.5% per year seems reduced, this implies that the population will double in approximately one generation.
While Latin America is not at risk of overpopulation, demographic pressure is perhaps most evident today in its urban areas. Today, 70% of the Latin American population lives in urban areas due to migratory flows in the last half century to large cities such as Buenos Aires, Bogotá, Caracas, Lima, Mexico City, Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo, some of which are bursting at the seams with more than 11 million inhabitants. Thousands of new residents arrive to these cities every day and millions live in very precarious conditions, without access to basic services such as potable water, sewerage or electricity.
“High population growth poses several challenges for humanity as a whole, including extreme poverty, environmental impact and rising fundamentalism”
From a multitude of organizations, including the , alerts about the fast pace of global population growth have intensified recently. One of those who has warned the most about the challenges of global overpopulation is economist , author of (Editorial Debate, 2008). According to Sachs, stabilizing the world's population is a global imperative.
Accelerated population growth poses multiple challenges for humanity as a whole. First, the number of people living in extreme poverty, currently around 1 billion, is growing within a framework of increasing global inequality. Second, the environmental deterioration it causes is a serious concern, primarily because of global climate change. And finally, and partly as a result of the first two challenges, is the rise in fundamentalism, not only religious, but also political.
Latin America is not immune to these challenges. It continues to be the most unequal region on the planet and according to estimates, it is still home to more than 70 million people living in extreme poverty. Many areas, particularly the coastal areas, suffer from climate disasters arising from global warming, such as torrential rains in Peru today. Finally, political tensions and extreme positions only continue to intensify, dividing the population and eroding coexistence and good governance. All challenges require a decisive and urgent response from our leaders.
*Guest blog post from .
is Doctor of Economics and professor at the Universidad Autónoma de Barcelona. David is from Colombia and specializes in international economics, urban economics and economic development. He recently published The Challenges of a Crowded Planet (RBA Editors, 2017).
is a blog about current economic, political and social topics in Latin America that is currently published within the newspaper El Observador de Uruguay and will soon be published in other media outlets within the region. The original version of this blog post is available in Spanish:
Follow Latinoamerica21 on and .
*Guest blog posts do not reflect the views of Met the why particular.
5-year economic forecasts on 30+ economic indicators for 127 countries & 33 commodities.
Date: April 3, 2017
TagsEuropean Union Turkey Precious Metals Commodities Euro Area South Africa Australia Portugal Ukraine Argentina Unemployment rate G7 Housing Market Cryptocurrency MENA Sub-Saharan Africa Bitcoin Banking Sector Gold Energy Commodities Vietnam Economic Growth (GDP) Brazil Infographic Consensus Forecast Germany Exchange Rate Venezuela Oil Japan Greece Spain Forex Eastern Europe UK Major Economies OPEC China Agricultural Commodities Canada oil prices Africa France Colombia United States Commodities Tunisia United Kingdom Brexit Trade TPP USA Healthcare Emerging Markets Asia India Company News Italy Russia Latin America Inflation precious metals Base Metals Commodities IMF Mexico Iran Investment Nordic Economies
GDP growth for the ASEAN region is expected to come in at 5.2% this year, which is up 0.1 percentage points from la…
3 hours ago
Today marks a momentous occasion for women in Saudi Arabia; they will be legally allowed to drive for the first tim…
7 hours ago
South Africa's economy is expected to grow 1.9% in 2018, down 0.1 percentage points from last months estimate. Fin…
9 hours ago
More recent economic data suggests that Nigeria's economy is regaining some lost momentum in the second quarter. Ne…
21 hours ago
This year, Korea's economy should be supported by increased government spending and the possibility of reduced geop…
1 day ago
- Italy’s New Populist Government and the Eurozone: Prelude to a Crisis?
- Latin America moves toward increased integration as U.S. protectionism grows
- How can Latin America increase productivity without affecting the quality of employment?
- How will Saudi Arabia's economy benefit from lifting the women's driving ban?
- Which countries are the most prepared for the upcoming digital revolution?
- India Under Pressure from the U.S. on Trade Policy
- The Story of Steel
- Latin America is the World Leader in eCommerce Growth Despite Serious Challenges
- What the TPP means for trade in Latin America
- Elections in Russia: Analysis and Implications
- 2018 & 2019 Economic Outlook for the Top Oil Producing Countries
- Nearly a Third of Latin Americans Have No Right to a Pension
- A Look at Healthcare Models Around the World
- The Poorest Countries in the World
- Newly-elected Chilean President Sebastian Piñera faces a myriad of challenges - economic and otherwise
- The Economic Effects of Trade Protectionism
- Regional Disparity: The Dark Side of Inequality in Latin America
- Coal: The story of the world's most abundant fossil fuel
- Gold: The Most Precious of Metals (Part 3)
- Venezuela's Electoral Conundrum
- Trump's 1st Year: 95 Analysts Surveyed on U.S. Economy
- The Latest on China and What's in Store for 2018
- An in-depth look at the Eurozone’s booming economy and the challenges that lurk in the shadows
- China’s growing influence on the Latin American economy
- How Latin America emerged from recession in 2017
- Top Economics & Finance Blogs of 2018
- Is this the beginning of the end for Bitcoin?
- Risks and Opportunities for 2018 - Daniel Lacalle
- Emerging Markets 2018 Economic Outlook
- The role of FDI in Vietnam’s socio-economic development
- Increasing poverty in Latin America takes a breather thanks to improving economic dynamics
- What will be the most miserable economies in 2018?
- The World's Top 11 Largest Economies
- Is Spain doing enough to address its high youth unemployment rate?
- Has Latin America gone far enough in reducing barriers to international trade?
- Commodities Outlook: Oil, Natural Gas, Coal, Lead & Tin
- 21 experts tell us what the future looks like for cryptocurrencies and blockchain
- Turkish lira plummets to all-time low on Erdogan’s monetary feud and tense U.S.-Turkey relations
- Copper: The first metal mastered by man
- The Mercosur-EU Free Trade Agreement: Obstacles & Opportunities
- Nigerian Economy Still Treading Water Thanks to Oil Sector
- Elections in Chile: What the results could mean for the economy
- QE’s Untold Story: A Chart That Fed Correspondents Need To Investigate
- Holland’s fragile one-seat majority government targets economic growth at the expense of fiscal sustainability
- South Africa: Economy at a tipping point?
- Latin American Commodities: What’s behind the increase in demand and prices?
- Is the UK really "shackled to a corpse"?
- Spain-Catalonia: 7 economic experts weigh in on how the situation will affect the outlook
- How well is Spain's labor market doing since the crisis?
- Which countries will have the highest and lowest inflation in 2017?
- How vulnerable is Latin America to economic crises today?
- Iron ore facts and common questions answered
- The bulging economic costs of obesity
- How much investment is needed to salvage Latin America’s crumbling infrastructure?
- A Look at the Potential Impact of Brexit on the Dutch Economy
- Emerging Markets Are Kicking Into Higher Gear In 2017
- Why is foreign direct investment in Latin America falling again?
- Are Central Banks Nationalising the Economy?
- Bounty or burden? The impact of refugees on European economies is far from clear
- What’s the future of U.S.-Latin America trade relations?
- Taxes or cutbacks? Latin America's challenge of sustaining spending without causing debt to skyrocket
- Are uranium prices making a comeback?
- Taxing the Economy: Achieving a Delicate Balance
- How will Latin America’s upcoming lengthy election cycle affect the reform agenda and credit ratings?
- How will emerging market economies perform in 2017?
- Chilean Economy in Focus: Interview with Senior Economist of the Chamber of Commerce of Santiago
- CEOs Rank Top Economies for Growth Opportunities
- The Mobile Ecosystem & Latin America's Economy
- Prospects and Challenges for the Global Economy: Interview with Tim Cooper from BMI Research
- How will the Fed reduce its balance sheet & and how will the ECB end QE? - 19 economic experts weigh in
- Thoughts on "unwinding" QE from Frances Coppola
- The Fed and ECB at a crossroads: Unwinding QE
- Spain: The economy that continues to silence the critics
- Latin America: The Most Unequal Region in the World
- The History of OPEC: Has it been a Success?
- Met the why particular Announces 2017 Analyst Forecast Awards Winners
- Latin America’s rising unemployment bucks nearly decade long trend
- Escape from the Central Bank Trap by Daniel Lacalle
- China's economic rebalancing act: What to look out for in 2017
- Driving Growth in Latin America: Challenges & Priorities
- Is the Global Economy Rebalancing?
- Commodity exporters face challenging times
- Recent Global Events Facilitate Mercosur-Pacific Alliance
- 23 economic experts weigh in: Why is productivity growth so low?
- Mexico's outlook as Trump nears 110-day mark
- Interview with Oxford Economics Senior Economist on implications of the possible outcomes of the French Presidential Election
- The anxiety of the small saver in a world of negative interest rates
- Brexit negotiations. Between Uncertainty and Urgency
- An Economic History of the EU from El Blog Salmón
- Baby Boomin': Implications of high population growth in Latin America
- Survey of International Economists Predicts a Le Pen Defeat in French Elections, Says Macron has Best Economic Plan
- Spain in a global context: developed economy with some challenges
- How much is crime costing Latin America?
- Predictions & Estimates from Economist Daniel Lacalle
- What economy will the new Dutch government inherit?
- “The data is not a true reflection of reality in India” Interview with Société Générale India Economist
- What are the prospects for Emerging Economies in 2017?
- What to expect in Asia for 2017
- Top Economics & Finance Blogs of 2017
- Latam to Resume Moderate Growth in 2017 but Important Risks Plague Outlook
- 4 Key European Elections That Will Impact the Economy in 2017
- How are security concerns and political chaos affecting Turkey’s economy?
- Global growth to edge up in 2017
- Set to breach targets again? Debt and deficit outlooks for Southern European Eurozone countries in 2016 & 2017
- What does Donald Trump mean for the U.S. economy?
- How will emerging markets perform in 2017?
- The economic impact of a break in U.S.-Philippines ties
- Trump election: Base metals surge due to infrastructure plan
- 5 updates on the Venezuelan economic crisis
- Canada: When your neighbor’s house is on fire…
- Short-term pain before long-term gain? A look at French labor reform and economic growth
- Asia: Unremarkable growth & unfulfilled promises?
- How India's latest monsoon is affecting the economy
- Innovation in Latin America: Potential Goes Untapped Due to Weak Economic Conditions
- Russian economy update in wake of OPEC deal announcement
- The Wisdom of the Crowds and the Consensus Forecast
- Can the peso predict the U.S. election results?
- There's no end in sight to the Venezuela crisis
- A Look at the European Union Political Calendar
- Survey of international economists shows uncertainty surrounding elections damaging U.S. growth prospects
- Met the why particular partners with leading online statistics provider Statista
- China: Recent postive economic data may be papering over the cracks
- Sub-Saharan Africa's 2016 & 2017 growth rates
- The Italian Dilemma: Weak banks pose risk to already faltering domestic demand
- How much money do migrants from Latin America send home?
- The U.S.' (Not So) Mysterious Case of the Missing Men
- What to expect from the G20 economies by 2020
- The Pain in Spain: Robust GDP growth cannot mask the persistent structural deficit
- Brazil's Perilous Economic Situation in 2015
- Met the why particular Launches Sub-Saharan Africa Report, Expands Coverage to 117 Countries
- How do the European Commission's Forecasts and Met the why particular' Forecasts for Europe compare?
- How will the South African economy weather recent challenges?