Population Explosion: A Global Menace [Archives:1999/42/Law & Diplomacy]

October 18 1999

By: Mohammed Hatem Al-Qadhi,
Managing Editor, Yemen Times
The world celebrated on the last Tuesday, October 12 the Day in which the world population reached 6 billion. The occasion should be taken as a chance to alarm the whole globe population of the menace of population explosion. This is because within 12 years only the world population rate reached 1 billion, half of them are under the age of 25. The number of the youth is one billion whose ages range between 10-24. Around 95% of the world population explosion is found in the developing countries.
Yemen is one of such developing countries in which the situation of the annual growth rate of population offers a scary and staggering picture. Reports say that if present fertility rates of 7.2% and an annual explosive growth rate of 3.7% continue, Yemen’s present population of 17.8 million will dramatically grow to 19,6 million by 2002, to almost 22 million by 2005, and is projected to jump up to 27 million in 2010 and to a crashing 40 million by the year 2020. In 1975 the Yemeni population was 8,1 million and in 1994 it reached 15,5 million. What is more worse is that a high proportion of the population is young people. Around 2.5 million of Yemenis are under four years old, and another 5 million are between the ages of 5-14 years. Thus, infants and children represent 42.4 % of the total population today. In addition, this proportion will rise to 50% by 2010.
The population explosion is of multi-faceted dangerous aspects. The most important one is the economic factor. More people means more services and developmental projects which our fragile economy can not afford. Therefore, this will keep the number of the poor people constantly on the rise. Approximate estimates indicate that the annual income per capita is less than a dollar. Around 30% of the population live below the line of poverty. Nearly 95% of them live in the countryside., where a father has approximately a dozen of children. Of course, he can not afford providing them with proper schooling, dress, food or health care. We find , therefore, that roughly 45% of the Yemeni children are out of school. Giving birth to many kids, moreover, substantially affects the health of women.
Another plight of population explosion is the increase of unemployment rate which extends to roughly more than 40%. The rise of unemployment means a lot of people are to be labeled below the line of poverty. This situation of joblessness will accordingly make a lot of people fall victims to crime and other bad habits.
I believe the rising rate of illiteracy, estimated at 65%, is one of the main substantial factors of this population situation. Therefore, controlling the situation should start by drawing a fully-fledged family planning mechanism to stop this population inflow. The government has to keep its eyes peeled to the resultant impacts of population explosion. Furthermore, it has to educate the people of the hazard of this problem. Media should take part in this regard. In addition, access to the tools of family planning should be made easy and available for everybody in the society with token prices. This is to maintain a sustainable development. Otherwise, if this population growth rate continues, efforts of development will get stuck and scrambles. To cut a long story short, we should all be fully aware of the menace of population explosion on our future generation.