How Overpopulation Causes Social Problems Essay Research

How Overpopulation Causes Social Problems. Essay, Research Paper How Overpopulation Causes Social Problems Introduction The purpose of this paper is to demonstrate how overpopulation causes social problems. To do so you must take many things into consideration, such as different views of racial problems and conflicting definitions of a social problem.

How Overpopulation Causes Social Problems. Essay, Research Paper

How Overpopulation Causes Social Problems


The purpose of this paper is to demonstrate how overpopulation causes social problems. To do so you must take many things into consideration, such as different views of racial problems and conflicting definitions of a social problem. Social problems can be defined in many different ways. They effect everyone and some of us encounter problems everyday as a result of our race, religion, gender, or low income. Others experience problems from technological change or declining neighborhoods, others are affected directly by crime and violence in their own neighborhood, and sometimes definitions of social problems are changed by society because of changes around you. Finally in order to achieve the purpose of this which is to examine and discuss different issues and situations that cause social problems such as poverty.

Overpopulation and social problems go hand and hand in today?s society and there are many reasons and factors as to why these problems exist. Factors that lead to overpopulation that causes social problems are the increase in the number of single mothers in poor neighborhoods opposed to the decline in birth rates in the more efficient parts of the country, how the death rate is at a steady decline because of medical advances in rich and poor countries, the effects immigrants have on an environment and the population growth that occurs, the influence parents leave on children, and what is being done to help prevent the spread of AIDS because this is a deadly disease which is lowering our population but causing many social problems.

Elements of a Social Problem

There are also elements that make up a social problem. One of these elements is that ?they cause physical or mental damage to individuals or society? (Carter p16) which means that sometimes people may permanently suffer before any action is taken to solve the problem because everybody thought it was not that big of a deal until sometimes permanent or short term damage has occurred. Another element is ?they offend the values or standards of some powerful segment of society? (Carter p16) which means no matter what you do someone will always take offense against your actions because everyone has different views and values and what is important to some may not be to others. Another element is that ?they persist for an extended period of time?(Carter p16) and everyone can picture that being true because as you solve one problem another always arises. The last element of a social problem is ?generating competing proposed solutions because of varying evaluations from groups in different social positions within a society, which delays reaching consensus on how to attack the problem? (Carter P16). This is caused because there are many different social groups that have different ideas and solutions to the problems we may face.

Sociological Perspectives on Social Problems

There are also different sociological perspectives on social problems such as the functionalist, conflict, interactionist, feminist, and the postmodernist orientations. The functionalist view on social problems focuses on the social structures that hold a society together over time and they also see sociology as the science of social order. The second conflict orientation sees most social problems as arising from disorganization due to group differences. Another view is the interactionist orientation, which concentrates on how people perceive and define the events that influence their lives. The feminist orientation gives women a voice in a world that has been dominated by male-oriented perspectives in the past. The last and final one is the postmodernist orientation which, is an emerging and still controversial approach to studying society. Postmodernist insist that the change is so great that a more complex and far less hopeful world has supplanted the modern one we thought we lied in.

The Effect of AIDS and Birth Rates are falling but Population is not.

Aids is a deadly disease which is hurting a large amount of our population but at the same time it is causing many conflicts and social problems within our society. This disease has made people outcasts in our society because they have this disease that can kill or make someone ill for a long period of time which will adventually lead to death. Widdison and Delaney (1996) write, ?It is convenient to characterize a social problem as a conflict of values and duties, a conflict of rights or social condition that leads to or is thought to lead to harmful consequences?. (Page 10) Staying with the topic that over population and poverty combined causes social problems such as scarce jobs and resources for people but only that overpopulation is responsible for the conditions, which contribute to the overall lowering of the quality of life of human beings in society. Another problem is AIDS, which is both a population and social problem. People are sometimes not accepted because they have the AIDS virus. This also affects the poor people more than the wealthy because AIDS is more common among poor neighborhoods because they have less money to buy things such as condoms to prevent the spread of AIDS and other diseases. According to the Global AIDS Policy Commission ?about 95 percent were spent in industrialized countries that have less than 25 percent of the world?s population?, 18 percent of the people with AIDS and 15 percent of HIV infections worldwide.? (Tarantola and Mann, 1995 pages 123-124) According these numbers, a very large percent of the money for AIDS prevention and treatment is spent industrialized countries. This is unfair because the industrialized countries are not the ones that should be receiving the majority of the funds to help prevent the spread of this disease and possibly a cure for this disease in the future. Since the third world countries are not receiving enough funds they are unaware of the importance and are unable to spread the message of ways of preventing oneself from getting this disease.

As has already been noted, the United States has tended to follow the recent pattern towards falling birth rates that have become characterized by most of the industrialized democracies of the West. Mattox (1995) notes in regard to the trend in the US: ?In 1975 sixty two percent of all women aged 40-44 had given birth to three or more children over the course of their life-times. In 1988 only thirty-eight percent had done so. The percentage of those giving birth to just one child rose from 9 to 15 percent during the same time period? (p17). There could be several reasons why there is an increase of those giving birth to only one child. In older days it was known that women would stay home and raise the children as the men go out and make the money. Now that times have changed, you see a lot more women in the workplace. Women sometimes give birth at a later age because they are so busy with their career. In today?s society, people get married at a later age because they have to keep working to obtain income that is needed to help pay for their necessities. A reason why the population is still growing and there is a decrease in birth rates could be the fact that there are more cures for diseases that at one point were either not known or deadly.

Overpopulation among the poor

All this might give one the impression that overpopulation is not a problem affecting the United States. However, ?where birth rates have failed to decrease and in some cases have actually increased, has been among the poor, and especially among the inner-city welfare poor? (Widdison p209). Opposite to a widespread misinterpretation, welfare mothers do not tend to have especially large families, most having one or two children with only a small number giving birth to more. However, the number of instances of single motherhood has been going up even as childbearing has been declining overall in the US. Single mothers represent the bulk of the adult welfare population; such births can be compared to the condition of the poor in Third World countries. Another problem we are facing is a real population explosion among the poor. A reason sometimes the poor have more children than the young adults with money is because of their financial status. If you have less money you are not going to run out and buy a box of condoms with your last five dollars. You will probably spend it on something that you think is more important, but in reality some people do not realize how big the consequence of having a child is. If you are not able to support a child, not responsible, or mature enough for parenthood it will only hurt the child. The kid will grow up with no guidance and in an environment that is neither healthy nor safe. Young teenage girls have this feeling that the father of the child will be there to love and support both of them. Statistics show that most of them leave the mother to support the child on their own with no financial support whatsoever.

America?s inner cities -Vs- Third World Countries

At first, it might appear impossible to compare conditions in America?s inner cities with those that characterize overpopulated countries of the Third World. In both instances such factors as poverty, overcrowding and lack of educational and employment opportunities promote negative social patterns. In both the United States and Third World countries poor young males in particular are frequently forced to choose between a life of crime and competition for low-paying jobs under bad conditions. In the US, such employment in which employers can take advantage of the relatively large pool of applicants due to the higher birthrate among the poor. In developing countries these conditions are in the process of being manufactured. LaDou (1993) notes for example that ?workers in poor countries–usually with limited educational, skill and training–tend to labor in small crowded factories with old, unsafe machinery, dangerous noise levels, and unsound buildings? (p.117). In these situations it is hard for anyone to work long hours in an uncomfortable environment for little pay, therefore some choose to find other ways to make money which leads to most likely making money illegally. It hurts our society whether they are distributing drugs to the young children, stealing, or doing other criminal acts. One important distinction between Third World overpopulation and conditions affecting the inner-city poor in the United States comes from the fact that in the Third World population pressures create competition for basic things such as food and land. Durning (1992) notes that, under circumstances of Third World poverty, ?dispossessed peasants slash and burn their way into Latin American rain forests and hungry nomads turn their herds out onto fragile African range land, reducing it to desert? (p.210).

In the US, in contrast, the inner city poor are under ordinary circumstances not likely to lack such necessities as food and housing because of the welfare system we have. (Such conditions are happening here but the number is so small that it is not reported and exposed like that of the Third World countries.) In the inner cities of this country the underprivileged are more likely to be driven into violent competition for scarce social goods such as jobs and access to health care. While welfare will insure the maintenance of mothers and their dependent children on a bare subsistence level and the illegal economy will provide a living for a large proportion of young males, employers will still be assured of enough applicants competing for scarce jobs to offer work at minimum wage and without benefits. If the inner-city youth population was to decline as a result of family planning among the poor, this source of unskilled labor would dry up and employers would have to offer more to attract a work force. Similarly, in areas such as education and health care, the increased numbers of the poor has led not to empowerment but to its opposite for irregular amounts of public and private money are spent on meeting the educational and health care needs of the more wealthy.

The environment effects social problems and its population

A possible reason as to why we are facing such a big population growth could be the environment the adult population grew up in or the environment we are growing up in. Thus, even though birth rates among more prosperous American have been dropping steadily, the relatively high fertility rates of poor single mothers have been responsible for the replication of Third World conditions in our inner cities.

Vobejda (1991) observes this:

?The flight of the middle class–black and white–from the inner city has left a population that is overwhelmingly black and poor,

devoid of healthy businesses, strong schools or other institutions that contributed to stability in the past. The concentration of

poverty means that children grow up with little exposure to steadily employed adults making it easy for them to see unemployment as

way of life? (p.139).

According to this statement, Vojebda believes the environment you grow up in affects your future. I believe this is very true, because for example my parents work very hard for their money by working seven days a week and I am happy for them and believe everything they have they deserve because they earned it and they treat my brother, sister and myself very well. Besides taking care of us and buying us cars, clothes, food, and shelter, they also take the time to tell us right from wrong and how to deal with things in different situations. I feel that I could tell my parents anything whether good or bad and they might get mad, but they always take the time to talk about it and show me how to deal with the problem. I have a relationship that I feel none of my friends have with their parents. Getting back to the point of following your parents as role models, affecting how you turn out, I believe this is very true. For example, everything my parents have given me I hope to be able to give my children in the future and more if possible. I hope to have a similar relationship with my children and hope my children appreciate it as much as I do. Perhaps equally important,? Haveman (1995) observes along the same lines, ?private standards have also changed for the worse. Family values, judgments about individual responsibility, perceptions of appropriate personal behavior and appearance and expectations of the good will of neighbors have all eroded? (p. 147). As has already been suggested, ?some may find it is difficult to accept the view that social problems such as these are a consequence of overpopulation where the United States is concerned that the fertility rates of Americans has declined to the point where as much as one-third of the relatively modest population increase this country has been experiencing annually is believed to be the result of increase immigration? (Morgenthau, 1994 p. 167). Even though overall population increases in this country have been modest a very large proportion of births happen to a relatively small part of the US population–the inner-city poor. Fertility rates among this population section are approaching Third-World proportions, not because the poor necessarily have large families, although in some instances they do, but the proportion of women electing to have even one or two children is far higher among this group than among the more prosperous.

Interview with Social Worker

I interviewed a social worker that works with foster kids. I chose to interview a social worker because she works with kids who most of the time comes from poverty and broken homes which are two important aspects of life. These kids often get used to the foster parents if they are living with them from when they are young but if they are put into the home at a later age it is harder to adjust to the new environment. She couldn?t tell me as much as I wanted to she did answer some questions that interested and helped me. She told me that she makes monthly visits to the foster home and she must also spend time with the children and based upon that she decides whether or not the parents are doing a good job of raising the children and if the children are happy. I asked her how would you compare your childhood to the childhood of a foster child? Her answer was that every child sees a different environment and as long as the love is there, there is always a good future ahead and sometimes it is not always the parents blame. I also asked her opinion of the topic of my paper and if she thinks overpopulation is the main reason for social problems. She said that social problems are caused by many factors not just one and from her experience that in inner city areas where the population is higher there seem to be more problems that exist compared to an urban neighborhood where the population is lower.


In Conclusion social problems will always exist because social problems change as time changes. We often tend to overlook what we call necessities others call luxuries. Therefore in the future I hope social problems will become non-existent but that is pretty much impossible. I also feel that poverty is a huge problem we face as a world and that even though it is impossible to solve this problem, we must look at it as an ongoing problem and do our best to help solve this problem. In final I feel that overpopulation with a couple other factors such as diseases, young pregnancies, and the one that I think has the most importance is the environment you grow up in helps shape you into the person you grow up to be.