This article addresses the question of whether population growth can be seen as the main cause for environmental degradation and poverty in poor countries. This question becomes particularly important when appraising and prioritising different policies and their likelihood in contributing towards sustainable development. The aim of this research is to critically assess whether there is enough supporting evidence that population growth is the variable starting the causal chain of degradation and poverty. By considering the variety of possible links between the three, this paper concludes that there is no such causal relationship; however, there is a significant correlation between high and increasing population numbers, environmental degradation, and persisting poverty. Furthermore, this paper finds that there are a considerable number of other factors that have an impact on the two processes and that a more context sensitive and multidisciplinary approach must be formulated.
How to Cite:
Maier, D., 2015. The Great Myth: Why population growth does not necessarily cause environmental degradation and poverty. The Public Sphere: Journal of Public Policy, 3(2), pp.150–157.