Population and Development

Population and development issues are inextricably linked. The world’s poorest areas often have the highest fertility rates. It’s a vicious cycle as poverty can fuel rapid population growth and rapid population growth can trap people in poverty. One in ten people still live on less than $2 a day.

Quality education, women’s empowerment, and universal access to modern contraception are powerful tools to reduce both poverty and high birth rates. When people are empowered to control their fertility and pursue careers, they choose small families.

Learn more about population and development here.

See our latest news stories and blog posts about development below.

Sustainable Development Goals

Briefings and submissions

The first official "zero" draft of the sustainable development goals (SDGs) was published on 2 June 2015.

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The demographic dividend can accelerate economic growth

Briefings and submissions

The term “demographic dividend” (DD) refers to the accelerated economic growth that a country can achieve when it has a low dependency ratio or, in other words, when the proportion of its population that is of working age is greater than the proportion of its population that doesn’t work (e.g. children and the elderly).

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What the things we use are made of

Sustainability Insights

The list below shows a range of goods, services and infrastructure that play a significant part in 21st century human activity, particularly in prosperous, economically-developed countries.

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Sustainable technology: cornflake example

Sustainability Insights

In many cases, it is not obvious to the consumer what resources go into making a particular product.

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Sustainable technology

Sustainability Insights

Technology allows us to convert natural resources into the goods and services that we eat, drink, wear, live in, travel on, etc. It can make both positive and negative contributions to sustainability.

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Sustainable consumption (affluence)

Sustainability Insights

It is completely unsustainable for the whole world population to enjoy the high-consumption lifestyles that industrialized countries such as the UK benefit from at present. 

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Sustainability and the Ehrlich equation

Sustainability Insights

A sustainable activity is one that is capable of going on for an indefinite period of time. Unfortunately, the term sustainable has been widely abused, as illustrated by the commonly-used contradiction sustainable growth: growth can never be truly sustainable in a finite world.

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Space and amenities

Sustainability Insights

There are more people in the world than ever before, and we are living closer together, with over half the world’s population now in towns and cities.

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Poverty

Sustainability Insights

Data from 2015 showed that, although extreme poverty had declined significantly over the past two decades, 14 per cent of the population of the developing world was still subsisting on less than $1.25 per day, defined by the UN as an international indicator of poverty. 

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Sustainable economics

Sustainability Insights

Introduction

It is clear that the present rate of consumption of natural resources is unsustainable.

Even so-called ‘renewable resources’ are only renewable at the rate at which they are naturally replenished and there is an overwhelming amount of scientific data to show that the present level of human activity is having a massively deleterious effect on the environment. In particular, greenhouse gas emissions will lead to potentially catastrophic levels of climate change unless urgent action is taken.

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