The much talked about population explosion is a more serious threat than most people think. The United States and the rest of the world are facing a cataclysm, the like of which mankind has never known. No nation can pass over the problem lightly. Its effects will be felt even in those lands where population remains stable or declines slightly.

In the United States much thought is being given to the matter of national priorities. On one side of the seesaw is the costly war in Viet Nam; on the other are the poor and the underprivileged, whose needs call for the expenditure of billions of dollars. But even when the day comes that the money now being spent in Viet Nam can be spent at home, efforts to solve the problem of the poor are doomed to defeat if our population increases by 100 million within the next thirty-five years, as it will if it continues to rise at the present rate of only 1 per cent annually.

The bigger picture is far worse. The annual global rate of population increase is slightly less than 2 per cent. This means that the world population will double in less than forty years. The small country of Costa Rica now has six births to every death. If the current rate of growth continues, its present 1.7 million population will be almost 75 million in a hundred years.

Population growth figures tell a story that leaves little room for optimism. In some nations the food supply has increased through technological advances. But this advantage will soon be wiped out by the presence of more mouths to feed, with many more on the way. In other nations the population increase has outpaced food production, so that these nations are worse off today than they were thirty years ago.

Some people have laid the blame at the door of ...

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