The Environmental Implications of Population Dynamics

The Environmental Implications of Population Dynamics

The Environmental Implications of Population Dynamics

The Environmental Implications of Population Dynamics


The globe is now inhabited by 6 billion people, twice as many as in 1960. Understanding the effects this population growth has on the environment will be paramount in developing policies that will mitigate the negative environmental effects. This report discusses the relationship between population and environmental change, the forces that mediate this relationship, and how population dynamics specifically affect climate change and land-use change. The author outlines both sides of the policy debate that have emerged-those who would limit fertility and population growth in the developing world and those who call for reduced consumption in the developed world. She concludes by calling for policymakers to pay increased attention to the role of population and forsake the search for one-step solutions to environmental problems.


It has become increasingly clear that human populations have a powerful effect on the environment. Yet the exact relationship between population dynamics and the environment is complex and not well understood. This report draws from demographic and environmental literature to examine what is known about the association between population dynamics and the natural environment.

The work was conducted in RAND's Labor and Population program as part of the Population Matters project. The primary focus of Population Matters is synthesizing and communicating the findings and implications of existing research in ways that policy analysts and others will find accessible.

The Population Matters project is funded by grants from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, and the Rockefeller Foundation. This document should be of interest to anyone concerned with demographic issues, environmental issues, and the interrelationships among them. For a list of our publications, please consult the inside back cover of this report. For further information on the Population Matters project, contact.

Julie DaVanzo, Director, Population Matters RAND P.O. Box 2138 1700 Main St. Santa Monica, CA 90407-2138 Julie_Da

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed


An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.