As the world situation continues to deteriorate, many world leaders little heed nor long remember the advice of past generations of far-sighted policy-makers, including American presidents, who once understood and acted upon the facts of population growth and its inexorable ties to our national security.
The effects of this burgeoning population in poor countries is seldom reported. If it is, it is mostly ignored. For example, a little heralded February 25 report by the Associated Press disclosed that, according to the United Nations, "The world's population will increase by 40 percent to 9.1 billion in 2050, but virtually all the growth will be in the developing world, especially in the fifty poorest countries."
If you think world overpopulation doesn't affect us, think again. Our population now conservatively reported at about 300 million (not counting perhaps 20 million illegal aliens) will reach nearly 400 million by 2050, well within the life span of today's teens.
That growth will come from the arrival of immigrants, whose high fertility rates will make the U.S. so culturally different as to be unrecognizable. Of the 9 billion humans on the planet in 2050, 7.8 billion will live in those poorer developing nations, but many of them will continue to press via legal and illegal immigration to live in the richer developed countries, including the U.S.
The UN estimate of immigration into the U.S. by the UN Population Division is extremely conservative. It says the United States is projected to be the major net recipient of international migrants, 1.1 million annually, with its population increasing from 298 million in 2005 to 394 million in 2050. By 2100, that number will easily reach 1 billion U.S. inhabitants.
"It is going to be a stain on the world," said Hania Zlotnik, the new director of the division. She said she expected growth will be concentrated in countries that already struggle to provide adequate shelter, health care and education." As we know so well, her estimate of U.S. immigration is grossly understated.
Based on the wars and terrorism now extant, what should be done to address this urgent growth problem in nations that can least afford to grow and will continue to be net exporters of their excess populations to the affluent nations of the West?
Thoraya Obaid, executive director of the UN Population Fund. said the new projections should spur more action to stop the spread of HIV/AIDS and help couples freely determine the size of their families.
"We must take more urgent action to promote access to reproductive health, including family planning, and fight HIV/AIDS to save millions of lives from AIDS and maternal death, as well as to reduce poverty in developing countries," she said in a statement.
But assisting those with HIV/AIDS, who now number some 70 million, will not solve the growth of populations that cannot be cared for and who, in legal parlance, represent a "flight risk" from their home nations to perceived better lives in rich countries.
Right now, and for years to come, as demographers have repeatedly shown, even with declining overall world fertility rates, some 70 million net new humans are added to the planet yearly, Those extra 2.3 billion persons on our planet by 2050 will be largely uneducated, unsocialized, and angry as hell that they have little promise of any kind of decent life. And they will try to get here or be motivated to hate us because they are not here.
As a March 1 WorldWatch Institute report notes, "Over the past few decades, countries from every major political and religious background and in virtually every region have experienced momentous change in the size and structure of their populations. Yet the global demographic transition the transformation of populations from short lives and large families to longer lives and smaller families remains woefully incomplete.
"Studies show that countries at the early stages of this transition bear the highest risks of becoming embroiled in an armed conflict warfare within countries that ranges from political and ethnic insurgencies to state-sanctioned violence and domestic terrorism.
"Most are bogged down by a debilitating demographic situation they are home to large and growing proportions of young people; many are experiencing rapid urban population growth; and many face very low per-capita availability of crop land or fresh water."
In these dangerous developing nations, the average age of the population is under 25, sometimes under 20. Often these governments are not really governments but simply gangs of killers keeping power at the point of guns, as shown in the recent movie, Hotel Rwanda. Escape as refugees and/or illegal alien immigrants then becomes a rational, if desperate, option.
Many years of relative indifference by both major American political parties to undertake broad, realistic efforts to make family planning more widely available has in part led to this dangerously urgent situation.
Family planning as part of a broadly based program of foreign aid development is simply an insurance policy whose premiums are extremely cheap compared with current and future costs of out-of-control immigration and increasingly widespread military action.
Still the Bush Administration sleeps on, lulled into visions of military glory and conquest, even as the immigration invasion of America goes forward at breakneck speed. We have only ourselves to blame for too often omitting, even denigrating, this crucial component of reproductive health, a fact that now adds huge risk to our own health and that of the world.
Development assistance abroad is not a substitute for changing our stupid open-border policies here at home, but it is a factor of consequence in the longer-term fixes required for world peace and stability.