Since the release of this book in 1968, Ehrlich has been one of the most frequently cited "experts" on environmental issues by the media, despite the fact that his predictions on the fate of the planet, more often than not, have been wrong. In The Population Bomb, Ehrlich predicted that hundreds of millions of people would die of starvation during the 1970s because the earth's inhabitants would multiply at a faster rate than world's ability to supply food.
Source: Dossier - Dr. Paul Erlich http://bit.ly/dj2oCT
According to him over population will create a shortage of resources and will result in mass starvation and death. So far that has not happened. The problem his trend analysis is that he extrapolated the trend in population assuming that the trend in population growth will always be positive. A typical error made by Scientists who assume that the past trends will continue in the future. They however, are successful in getting people's attention because humans have always listened to doomsday Sayers. Belief in doomsday must satisfy some innate need within humans.
The reality is totally different. The current world populations is 6,814,078,514 and growing an average of 23.2 kids born per 1,000 people. This is slightly higher than the 21 kids born per 1,000 people, needed to maintain the current level of population.
The map below shows the birth rates in different countries
Please move the mouse over the map to see the name of the country and the birthrate for different countries
What is interesting is that the two countries India and China with the world's largest population, now have a birth rate of 12 and 24 children per 1,000 people. That is quite manageable.
Here is the complete table showing data for for each country
If one looks at the bottom right, there a many of countries whose birth rate is well below 21 children per 1,000 people. They are mostly located in Western and Central Europe and in South East Asia.
In fact there are countries now those are experiencing negative population growth. Here are some of the estimates of the percent population decline by the year 2050, shown on the map below:
From the map, it seems that the phenomenon of estimated population decline is highly localized around the regions that are located near or around Russia. Only non-European country that is showing up in this group is Japan. However, Japan belongs to the same geographical region and located on the eastern side of Russia.
There seems to be some positive correlation between literacy level and the population growth. The map below shows the percent literacy rates:
Countries with hundred percent literacy rate are having least number of children.
Is this trend will move southward? That will be something to watch in the future. Dr. Paul Ehrlich predicted a uncontrolled population growth. However, that does not seems to be the case. If the trends that is currently underway in Russia and Central Europe moves southward we may be heading toward a population bust not a population growth, all we need is to make people literate.