Population Boom and the Economic Impact in a New Year

The US is continuing a rapid and massive growth in population as we enter into a new year. In fact, as our nation prepares to ring in the new year, the U.S. Census Bureau projected "the United States population will be 320,090,857 on Jan. 1, 2015. This represents an increase of 2,334,187, or 0.73 percent, from New Year's Day 2014, and 11,345,319, or 3.67 percent, since Census Day (April 1) 2010." This is a significant increase, considering we only broke the 300 million mark in 2006.

According to the Bureau, "in January 2015, the U.S. is expected to experience a birth every eight seconds and one death every 12 seconds. Meanwhile, net international migration is expected to add one person to the U.S. population every 33 seconds. The combination of births, deaths and net international migration increases the U.S. population by one person every 16 seconds.

"The projected world population on Jan. 1, is 7,214,958,996, an increase of 77,381,246, or 1.08 percent, from New Year's Day 2014. During January 2015, 4.3 births and 1.8 deaths are expected worldwide every second."

That sounds a little scary and from all the science fiction movies we saw and books we read in school (one of my favorite was Soylent Green; which, in case you didn't know "IS PEOPLE") and from the philosophers we read in college (such as Thomas Robert Malthus who argued that large populations lead inevitably to starvation and deprivation), our concerns seem most valid.

However, the topic deserves a second look.

The reality is, countries are not poor because of how many people they have, they are poor because of economic policies. One of my favorite examples is Singapore, which is the second most densely populated independent country in the world. In spite of the fact that Singapore has almost twice as many people per square mile as the much poorer Mexico, it is one of the most affluent countries in the world and has one of the highest standard of living in Asia, and is ranked number two among countries in the very affluent Asia region. Instead of encouraging population control, it has education programs and tax incentives that encourages large families. It has virtually no natural resources of its own, but the people enjoy high incomes and an unemployment of less than 3 percent. This is, of course, one of the lowest unemployment levels in the world. Singapore's success didn't happen by accident, but by policies that support economic freedom, wealth creation and by avoiding taxation on wealth creation which weakens economic growth.

We learn from Singapore, one of the most "over populated" countries in the world, that large numbers of people don't hurt economies. Government policies do. China and India's economic renaissance is proving that true every day as they change their policies and move towards free markets.

If "more people" is "bad" thing, why does virtually every city in the United States encourage people to move to them and as towns lose numbers it is a sign of decline? The common sense behind the need for more people in cities works the same for countries, as long as the policies of the government work.

The US may, in fact, not be getting over crowded, and there is plenty of room for more. As long as government policies are "good," we will not have to treat people as "bad." That is the American way.

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