New projections show irresponsible population growth
U.S. Census Bureau projections which were released early this year reveal impending American overpopulation that will alter profoundly the way every person in this country lives - and not for the better. The agency released a new set of projections in mid-January that extend for the entire century, and the numbers are grim. The Census forecasts in its medium scenario that U.S. population size will double within 100 years. The outlook is frightening enough for environmentalists who want a sustainable America. But the future could possibly be much worse.
The Census has also posted high projections, which although less probable, are very disturbing indeed. Those figures show the U.S. hitting half a billion by just 2044 - a year that presumably most of today's young adults will live to see.
Do readers think that we have insufficient traffic on our highways? How about parks and schools - not crowded enough yet? Doubling population means that twice the infrastructure will be required - good news for the building industry perhaps, but not a cheering message for the taxpayer. The Texas Transportation Institute calculated that areas in the nation with "severe" and "extreme" traffic congestion increased from 14 percent in 1982 to 36 percent in 1997. According to the California Transportation Commission, the state's population explosion necessitates upgrades and expansion on the existing transportation systems that will cost $100 billion over the coming decade.
There will be other costs for our current population binge. Water supply and quality is becoming an ongoing problem, particularly in the semi-arid West. Because of population growth, California will be chronically short of water by 2010, which will increase food costs and require rationing. There are areas today of serious drought in the nation from the Southeast to the Great Lakes.
More difficult to quantify is our political future. Clearly more social regimentation will be needed to keep order in an increasingly crowded and balkanized populace. Writer Issac Asimov said, "Democracy cannot survive overpopulation." Is it wise to put this idea to the test?