GEOGRAPHY - TOO MANY OR TOO FEW?

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KEY WORDS

OVERPOPULATED

When a country or region does not have enough resources to keep its people at a reasonable standard of living.

UNDERPOPULATED

When a country or region has more resources available than are being used by the people living there.

OPTIMUM POPULATION

When a country or region has a balanced population and amount of resources to maintain a good quality of living. 

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INDONESIA'S TRANSMIGRATION SCHEME

Indonesia is country which consists of over 17,000 islands, about 9,000 of which are inhabited.  On some islands many people are crowded into a relatively small area, whilst other inhabited islands are underpopulated.  During the late 20th century the Indonesian government gave people incentives to move from the overpopulated islands of Java and Bali to the islands of Irian, Jaya, Kalimantan, Sumatra and Sulawesi.  The purpose of this transmigration was to:

  • reduce the poverty and overpopulation on Java
  • provide opportunities for hard-working poor people
  • provide a workforce to make better use of the natural resources of the underpopulated outer islands.
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OVERPOPULATION IN NIGERIA

Nigeria has a population of 140 million people, with over 70% living on less than one dollar a day.  It occupies only 3% of Africa but has 15% of its people.  Overpopulation means depletion of natural resources, increased levels of air and water pollution and lack of essential services such as health care and education.  Overcrowding has resulted in increased disease levels, inadequate sanitation and scarcity of resources for medical care and education.  Desperation to survive has increased the crime rate and the country now experiences serious over-congestion of public transport, roads and bridges.

PROBLEMS CAUSED

  • Not enough housing.
  • High crime rates.
  • Not enough health care and education.
  • Congested roads.
  • Shortage of food and water.
  • Water and air pollution.
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UNDERPOPULATION IN AUSTRALIA

Australia only has a population of 20 million.  Many areas of Australia are empty and the resources are not being used fully.  The country could support a higher population.  This means that Australia is underpopulated.  Indeed, successive Australian governments have tried to increase its population, to develop the country economically and to protect it from foreign influence.  From only 3.7 million in 1901, the population has increased to its current 20 million.

  • We're in a drought, so to invite more people to share in the limited water supply on the driest continent on Earth doesn't make much sense.
  • Who says Australia is underpopulated?  Sure, it's a whole continent but most of it's desert where no one wants to live.  And there's not all that much land for farming.
  • Give benefits to people having children and the benefits should increase depending on the number of children.
  • How should Australia solve its underpopulation problem?  By relaxing the visa rules so that more immigrants can get citizenship, and by expanding the economy.  If the economy is prosperous more people will move here for job opportunities.
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