Overpopulation a serious threat says Bertelsmann Report

December 13, 2007

SOURCE: PSN & Bertelsmann Stiftung

A major report published this month by the Bertelsmann Foundation, a German research institute, polled the opinions of 9000 respondents in United States, Russia, Japan, Germany, UK, France, India and Brazil. Rapid population growth was one of the issues highlighted as a key concern by the opinion poll on world power.


Credit: UN Photo/B Wolff

A worldwide poll

The Bertelsmann Stiftung study seeks to reveal popular perceptions of global discourse and ideas concerning "Who Rules the World", as the Foundation put it in the title of the report.

Within the discussions that examine the perceived global super powers of today and the future, the respondents positioned overpopulation as the fourth most serious threat faced by the world today, following climate change, terrorism and poverty.

Which global threats predominate in people's views vary from country to country. The concerns about overpopulation and poverty were recorded to be higher in India, while Russians cite the dangers of war, the Chinese resource scarcity and the French religious fundamentalism.

The researchers spearheading this report say that they want to measure current perceptions in global power politics but also to assess how the public foresees the near future and its most pressing issues.

PSN welcomes the report

PSN acknowledges the critical importance of the views of civil society and welcomes this report which cites overpopulation as a major global concern.

Further information is available on the Bertelsmann Foundation website.

PSNs Population Forums conclude at the Houses of Parliament

January 30, 2007


Over the last few months PSN, in collaboration with LSHTM, have held a series of Population Forums, which concluded today with a high profile event at the Houses of Parliament in London.

Credit: PSN


Background to the forums

Wider participation by media, NGO representatives and the general public in the population debate is regarded as essential since there is overwhelming evidence that rapid population growth poses substantial challenges to the attainment of the MDGs.

Yet population has been virtually ignored by policy-makers for the past decade.

Since the term 'population' became increasingly tarnished by the brush of 'coercion' and 'control' during the 1980s it has remained politically sensitive. The link between poverty and population growth has been downplayed and financial and political support for population stabilisation has diminished.

Population is now beginning to re-emerge in the media and into political discourse, most recently in relation to climate change issues.

Culminating in the Population Forums, Population and Sustainability Network (PSN) and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) were eager to build on this growing interest and increase dialogue between policy, action (NGOs) and academic research on the topic of the population factor, about which many have remained silent for so long.

The Population Forums

Each of the five forums was chaired by a member of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Population, Development and Reproductive Health, with contributions from two distinguished speakers, and concluding remarks from a third speaker.

Topics addressed by the forums included:

  • Population, poverty and the MDGs
  • Gender, women's empowerment and universal access to education
  • Contraception and links with improvements in maternal and child health
  • HIV/AIDS and population - joint up working?
  • Environmental sustainability and population growth
  • States and individuals: population and the discourse of rights

The final Population Forum The Unfinished Agenda – from Research to Policy Action was held on January 30th 2007 at the Houses of Parliament in London.