Asymmetric Population Growth

This module provides a roadmap to understanding the relationship between population growth (or reduction) in countries, environmental impact of development, changing religious demographics, urbanization, demographic dividend, dependency ratio, and youth employment.

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Resource List

These resources provide a baseline of understanding, but as the strategic environment continues to evolve, new data will become available.


  • United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs Population Division: The United Nations (UN) Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) Population Division studies global population trends at the individual country level, as well as drivers behind these trends, in order to inform development and migration policies and goals., Web, 23 March 2017
  • International Monetary Fund: The International Monetary Fund (IMF) aims to encourage expansion and balanced growth of international trade and monetary systems, as well as making resources available to expand development capacities of developing countries, and publishes numerous reports, articles, and studies on economic policies and growth., Web, 23 March 2017
  • Population Reference Bureau: The Population Reference Bureau is an organization that seeks to inform people around the world on issues at the intersection of population, health and the environment, empowering individual and advancing international policies., Web, 23 March 2017
  • World Bank: The World Bank Group aims to end global extreme poverty and promote shared prosperity such that economic growth benefits all individuals of all income levels., Web, 23 March 2017
  • Pew Research Center: The Pew Research Center is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that seeks to inform the public of and support sound decision-making based on trends, issues, and attitudes in national and international politics, science, religion, economics, and demography., Web, 23 March 2017
  • Center for Strategic and International Studies: The Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) is a nonprofit policy research institution that provides strategic reports on many domestic and international topics including international development, economics, and transnational challenges (e.g. energy, trade). CSIS provides research and analysis and develops policy initiatives that look to the future., Web, 23 March 2017
  • National Intelligence Council: The National Intelligence Council (NIC) supports the Director of National Intelligence in the role as head of the Intelligence Community (IC) and is the IC’s center for long-term strategic analysis. The NIC publishes many reports, including a quadrennial trends publication that includes information on demographic shifts., Web, 23 March 2017
  • Brookings Institution: The Brookings Institution is a nonprofit policy organization that conducts in-depth research on local, national, and global issues. Brookings focuses on independent analysis that provides ideas on how to solve problems facing society., Web, 23 March 2017

Recent Publications and Journal Ariticle:

  • World Development Reports: The World Bank publishes an annual World Development Report which each year focuses on a different particular component of development challenges or critical topics, including gender equality, poverty, climate change, economic risk, human capital, and job creation., Web, 23 March 2017
  • Development Goals in an Era of Demographic Change: This report published by the World Bank in collaboration with the IMF focuses on international population growth and the corresponding development issues.
  • Growth Identification and Facilitation: The Role of the State in the Dynamics of Structural Change: This article discusses the processes of identifying a country’s comparative advantage in the global economy, outlining the Growth Identification and Facilitation Framework to guide policy decision.
  • The Surprising Global Variation in Replacement Fertility: This journal article presents information and challenges broad assumptions regarding the replacement fertility level. The replacement fertility level is the average number of children per woman necessary for the population in an area to remain constant. The authors show that numerous factors influence the replacement fertility rate and that the tradition 2.1 children per woman replacement fertility may be appropriate for well developed nations, however the replacement fertility rate may be much greater (up to 3.5 children per woman) in less developed and developing nations.
  • Fighting Consumer Price Inflation in Africa: What do Dynamics in Money, Credit, Efficiency and Size Tell Us?: This journal article focuses on the impact of financial sector policies addressing various financial dynamics on consumer prices, particularly on food and other staples.
  • Compendium of Recommendations on Population and Development: Commission on Population and Development, 1994-2014, Volume I: This report examines various UN Commission on Population and Development resolutions between 1994 and 2014 mapped to specific objectives in the Programme of Action adopted at the International Conference on Population and Development in Cairo in 1994.
  • Compendium of Recommendations on Population and Development: Commission on Population and Development, 1994-2014, Volume II: This report examines the outcomes of regional conferences focusing on population and development held throughout 2013 with the goal of assessing progress made within the region in addressing the objectives in the Programme of Action and updating development goals for beyond 2015.
  • Decoupling 2: Technologies, Opportunities and Policy Options: This report examines the potential pathways and opportunities to increased resource productivities and efficiencies.
    • Citation: von Weizsäcker, Ernst Ulrich, Jacqueline Aloisi de Larderel, Karlson Hargroves, Christian Hudson, Michael Harrison Smith, Maria Amelia Enriquez Rodrigues, Anna Bella Siriban Manalang et al. Decoupling 2: Technologies, Opportunities and Policy Options. United Nations Environment Programme, 2014., Web, 23 March 2017
  • Population and Environment: A Complex Relationship: This report examines the complex relationship between demographic factors, technology, culture, policies, and institutional infrastructure in influencing environmental change.
  • Africa’s Demographic Transition: Dividend or Disaster?: This book published by the World Bank examines the rapid population growth in Africa and the implications of this growth.

Other Resources:

  • Global Food Security Project: This CSIS project aims to examine the various factors influencing global food security, providing the necessary research, analysis, and policy recommendations to increase international food security., Web, 23 March 2017
  • Post-2015 Consensus: The Copenhagen Consensus Center conducted and published the Post-2015 Consensus, a collection of estimated economic impacts of various international development goals and objectives from 2015 and later in order to provide quantitative impact potential of development funding and maximize the impact of such funding., Web, 23 March 2017
  • Human Population: Environment: This article published by the Population Reference Bureau provides an overview of how population growth impacts the environment, focusing on food production, energy consumption, and water availability., Web, 23 March 2017
  • Population and Environment: A Global Challenge: This article is published by Nova, an organization run by the Australian Academy of Science that seeks to make a broad base of scientific concepts accessible to the public. The article discusses the stress population growth is placing on the environment, with a particular focus on resource consumption, technology driven efficiency, and sustainable development.
  • Youth Bulge: A Demographic Dividend or a Demographic Bomb in Developing Countries?: This article authored by the former World Bank Chief Economist discusses the impact of youth bulge which occurs
    when countries with high birth rates begin reducing infant and child mortality and decrease fertility. This article addresses the concept of demographic dividend, particularly discussing both the potential benefits and stresses youth bulge can impose on developing countries.
  • The Future of World Religions: Population Growth Projections, 2010-2050: This article published by the Pew Research Center discusses the shifting demographics of several of the largest religions in the world based on highly detailed population growth and reduction projections at individual country level and projecting religion switching based on observed historical trends.
  • Development: Slow Down Population Growth: The article provides information on the unequal population growth throughout the world, the impact of different population trends on the environment and society, and ongoing policy and humanitarian efforts to address the various challenges of asymmetric population growth.
  • United Nations Expert Group Meeting on Policy Responses to Low Fertility: In November 2015, the UN DESA Population Division brought together experts and policy makers to discuss ongoing and historical policies aimed at increasing fertility rates in countries with below-replacement fertility. This page provides presentations provided at the meeting as well as policy briefs that provide background on historical fertility policies from several below-replacement fertility countries, some of which have been successful and others which have not. In particular, Policy Brief No. 1 provides an executive summary of trends in fertility policies in late and post-dividend countries, and general factors that either tend to encourage or impede fertility., Web, 23 March 2017
  • What is the Demographic Dividend?: This is an article published in the IMF quarterly Finance and Development that provides an overview of the demographic dividend.
  • 7 Facts About Population in Sub-Saharan Africa: This article provides a few highlights of demography in Sub-Saharan African countries.
  • Changing Religion, Changing Economies: Future Global Religious and Economic Growth: This article discusses changes in national economies and changes in religious identification in various countries.
  • How Africa Is Changing Faith Around the World: This article discusses examines the implications of asymmetric population growth on changing religious populations and the implications of these trends.

These materials were developed as an initiative of the Advanced Thinking in Homeland Security (HSx) curriculum at the Center for Homeland Defense and Security.

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