Brazil The Gathering Millions Essay, Research Paper
“Brazil, The Gathering Millions”
Population growth is one of the most significant global problems currently faced by humanity. About a quarter of the world’s population suffers from malnutrition, and over 10 million people die of starvation each year. This misery is concentrated in the Third World countries. Ninety percent of the world’s population growth until 2030 is projected to occur in the Third World countries. (Giddeons, 484). The gruesome film, “Brazil, The Gathering Millions”, illustrates the governing factors of population patterns: fertility, mortality, and migration.
Migration usually has the greatest impact on the population change in small geographic areas and where there is little or no natural increase from the excess of births over deaths. Massive urban development is occurring in Third World countries. Ideally when we think of people “moving” we think of people responding to a life cycle change such as marriage or leaving a parental home, however people of non-industrialized societies are drawn to cities in the Third World either because their traditional systems of rural production have disintegrated or because the urban areas offer better job opportunities. Migrants crowd into squatters zones on the fringes of the city.
A major factor of the demographic changeover is the fact that the majority of the population migrating is less than fifteen years old. Even though (throughout the transition) there has been a drop in the mortality rate, the birth rate remains high. This combination has produced a completely different age structure in Brazil compared to more industrialized societies. In Brazil, fifty percent of the population is less than fifteen years old. The imbalanced age distribution adds to their social and economic difficulties. The disproportionate number of young people is reason why the population will continue to grow even if the birth rate should fall.
Fertility remains high in Third World societies because traditional attitudes to family size have been maintained. Having large numbers of children is often still regarded as desirable, providing a source of labor for the family. Within the group of women of reproductive ages, younger women have higher birth rates than older women thus; a female population with a significantly high proportion of young women will produce more children. Religion also plays a role in the fertility factor in the way that the Catholic Church (whose influence is especially marked in South and Central America) opposes the use of contraception.
Not only did this film open my eyes to the demographic transition process of the non- industrialized society, but I was also made aware of the Western influence on the conditions of the Third World. Some of these factors deriving from Western influences are intrinsically beneficial, such as improvements in healthcare and hygiene (one of the main factors of the population increase). But others, such as dependence on international trade, have broken down traditional ways of life. If it continues at the present rate, world population growth carries the risk of global catastrophe.