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Analysis and Comment (38)

By 2100 there could be 11 billion people on Earth, but there’s no quick way to slow growth. James Cridland/Flickr

No quick fix for overpopulation — let’s focus on climate

The rise in population since 1900 has been so rapid that up to 14% of all humans that have ever lived are still alive today, according to recent research. Other research shows that slowing population growth…
Having two children could leave more carbon emissions than you can save by changing lightbulbs. p.Gordon/Flickr

How family planning could be part of the answer to climate change

You’ve changed your lightbulbs, you recycle, you’ve retrofitted your house, cycle when you can, and drive an electric car when you can’t. You’re doing your bit to reduce your carbon emissions and prevent…
Legislating for commercial surrogacy would enable Australia to overcome concerns about poorly regulated clinics overseas, such as this one in Thailand. EPA/Rungroj Yongrit

Commercial surrogacy in Australia: rethinking notions of ‘natural’

Often emphasised in discussions about children’s best interests is the idea that certain ways of having and raising children are “natural”. For example, this word appears frequently in reference to how…
Developing policies to shape the level and nature of future population change must go beyond the ‘big’ versus ‘small’ Australia dichotomy. AAP/David Crosling

The state of Australia: our people

In the lead-up to the budget, the story of crisis has been hammered home, but there’s more to a country than its structural deficit. So how is Australia doing overall? In this special series, ten writers…
Who lives in a house like this? Only the census can tell you for sure. Rob Noble

Scrapping the census in 2014 would be a disaster

The coalition government has already secured its legacy in a torrent of cuts to public services. But it hopes to do more. It also wants to do away with the largest evidence base that is available to inform…
It is possible to be a Christian and to reject the idea humans are at the centre of creation. Justin Brown

Can Christianity and population control co-exist?

Despite the views of some church leaders - such as George Pell - who deny global warming, most Christians understand the need to care for the natural world and have embraced the scientific consensus on…
Figures regarding the original population of Australia may be way off. WanderingtheWorld (www.LostManProject.com)

Australia’s colonisation was no accident, say the numbers

Like many people, I grew up believing Australia was colonised by a small band of people, who had most likely landed on its shores by accident; but research I published this week suggests a far larger founding…
Australia’s future depends on decisions we make today - what’s coming towards us? Johnny Ross

Where is Australia headed? Some future projections

Australians want a future of sustainable self-sufficiency and a healthy environment supporting a robust democracy – free of poverty and inequity. That was one of our projections, as part of the Australia…
The Council has its work cut out to facilitate a rational, evidence-based debate about Australian migration. Wenxiong Zhang

New Migration Council to fight for a bigger Australia

The announcement of the formation of a Migration Council of Australia and its launch by the Governor General on August 1, confirmed by Department of Immigration and Citizenship official Gary Fleming at…
We’re plummeting into an over-populated world and we may not have a parachute. ...---.../Flickr

Human carrying capacity and our need for a parachute

The issue of human overpopulation has fallen out of favour among most contemporary demographers, economists, and epidemiologists. Discussing population control has become a taboo topic. The silence around…
The population has the best chance of stabilising if we improve the lives of the poor and reign in excessive consumption of the wealthier. Flickr/DaveWilsonPhotography

Challenge 3: Balancing population growth and resources

Welcome to the State of the Future series. This series addresses 15 global challenges posed by the Millennium Project, an international non-profit think-tank collecting responses for 40 nodes worldwide…
Back, sperm, back: a human egg on the tip of a pin. Flickr/wellcome images

Squaring up to difficult truths: how to reduce the population

Elephants in the room, part two For all our schemes and mantras about making our lives environmentally “sustainable”, humanity’s assault on the planet not only continues but expands. What are the deep…
Serious, interconnected risks are closing in on the globalised community, from climate change to anarchy. Are we heeding the warnings? AAP/EPA/Daniel Deme

Highway to dystopia: time to wise up to the looming risks

In that world of peripheral vision, essential for business, social and political leaders, it is surprising that the World Economic Forum’s report, Global Risks 2012 has not received greater publicity or…
Sydney needs sustainable solutions to keep its growing population happy and healthy. Franklin Heijnen

How full is full? Planning Sydney to be big, sustainable and healthy

Australia’s future population is again under the spotlight. The Committee for Economic Development of Australia (CEDA) has just released a new report on Australian population futures. And focus has sharpened…
Our teeming attack on the natural world threatens to turn the wilderness into a fetish item. AAP/The Wilderness Society

Squaring up to difficult truths: population and the environment

Elephants in the room, part one For all our schemes and mantras about making this or that part of our lives environmentally “sustainable”, humanity’s assault on the planet not only continues but expands…
Australia’s regional migration scheme has had encouraging outcomes. amandabhslater

Australia’s regional migration: a selective success story

Since 1995, there has been a concerted government policy push encouraging new migrants to settle away from the major cities. The Federal Government has ramped this up further, announcing in the 2011 Federal…
In northern Australia, the state of the environment has improved. pallotron/Flickr

Australia’s environment takes its five-yearly health check

Every five years the Australian Government must report on how our environment and heritage are fairing. The 2011 State of the Environment Report gives Australians the clearest and most comprehensive assessment…
The world’s population is racing ahead compared to growth in the rest of the world. AAP/Dean Lewins

Sustaining 7 billion: Australia’s part in planning for population growth

SEVEN BILLION PEOPLE: As the global population passed the seven billion mark yesterday (give or take a few months – the data aren’t exact), Australia’s resident population will reach about 22.75 million…
Women will be the key to dealing with the growth in population. Flickr/PhotograTree

Seven billion reasons to be a feminist

SEVEN BILLION PEOPLE: I had better write fast. Sometime between my deadline to submit this story and the time it goes live, the estimated world population will exceed 7 billion for the first time ever…
More children are ending up in orphanages as population rises. Jeffreylowy/Flickr

Seven billion reasons to open our hearts and homes to adoption

SEVEN BILLION PEOPLE: Today the Earth’s population has reached 7 billion. With so many of us here now, there is no better time to reflect on the world we want and how we can create it. Some of us are lucky…
If we keep going the way we are, Australia’s environment will be in trouble in 2050. adriansalamandre/Flickr

2050: our future State of the Environment report

AUSTRALIA 2050 – There’s no way of predicting what the environment will be like in 2050, but there are many possibilities. I will sketch out two extremes. The first is bleak. The first independent national…
Census takers on the streets of Sydney. AAP

Why the census matters

The Census is useful and important. Governments and policy makers remain dependent upon the information it provides to govern responsibly. Beyond being a simple count of people and assets, contemporary…
Too many people? It’s hard to say without looking at our lifestyle. Tony.../Flickr

Australia’s population – what is sustainable?

Population policy discussions in Australia fall well short of confronting the core questions. We cannot even ask “what is a sustainable population?” until we look at our unsustainable lifestyles and the…
Australians over-consume water, energy and space. AAP

No sustainable population without sustainable consumption

In recent weeks, two major federal government strategy papers have been released: Our Cities, Our Future: A National Urban Policy for a Productive, Sustainable and Liveable Future and Sustainable Australia…
Melbourne and Sydney are set to become mega-cities, but there hasn’t been a coherent discussion about our population. AAP/Torsten Blackwood

A country in search of a policy: the case for an Australian population target

The national debate about Australia’s population has been hijacked. It has been dominated by fears that we don’t have the infrastructure to cope with an influx of people, and differing views about migrants…
Australia needs professional migrants to fill skills gaps. AAP/David Crosling

Australia not about to turn its back on immigration

Australia has been a nation of immigrants since 1788. It has always sought additions to its population to increase its prosperity and economic strength. But two recent controversies have distracted us…
How many more people do we need to plan for? emmettanderson/Flickr

The need for a comprehensive vision for Australia’s population

On May 13 2011, the federal government released its eagerly awaited population strategy, Sustainable Australia – Sustainable Communities. But in avoiding population projections, the strategy is selling…
Choked: Lagos crumbles under the weight of its population. AAP/Pius Utomi Ekpei

Urban trauma: Why we need to rethink our cities

We are entering an era of massive population transfer - a rural exodus of unprecedented proportions. In Asia and Africa farmers and peasants are being lured to mega-cities. This brings myriad benefits…
Building away from our cities could ease congestion in urban areas. AAP

Escape from Sydney: planning the way out of congestion

Bashing planning has become a national sport, and in NSW, we’re the best at it. Stuck in traffic? Blame the planners. Housing stress? Planners are too slow and too stingy with land release. In the perception…
International students are not fuelling immigration as much as first thought. AAP/Tracey Nearmy

International students impaled on (illusory) population spike

If you’re in politics, population matters. Rival studies on what constitutes a sustainable Australian population project wildly different statistics. But behind the figures are real people whose lives…

Columnists (1)

Standing room only

Demography is destiny. It’s an old idea but it remains as true as ever, despite the fact that it doesn’t get anything like the attention it deserves. It’s not hard to see why: not only is there a crowded…

Research and News (3)

Research Briefs (7)

Predicting the growth of a city

Is there a universal law that can accurately predict the seemingly random growth of a city? Patterns in urban migration are…

Reverse racism in America

White people believe that they have replaced African Americans as the primary victims of racial discrimination in the US…