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Next Brown Bag

Mon, Oct 24 at noon:
Academic innovation & the global public research university, James Hilton

psc brown bag iconHow the World Survived the Population Bomb: Lessons from 50 Years of Exceptional Demographic History

David Lam (Department of Economics and Population Studies Center, Institute for Social Resarch)

02/21/2011, at noon in room 6050 ISR-Thompson.


World population will reach 7 billion in 2011, a demographic milestone that is causing renewed attention to the challenges caused by population growth. In this presentation, David Lam looks back on the last 50 years, a period in which world population grew at rates that have never been seen before and that will almost surely never be seen again. Although observers in the 1960s predicted mass starvation in the following decades, world food production increased faster than population in every decade since the 1960s, with significant declines in poverty in much of the developing world. Lam considers the economic and demographic explanations for the surprising successes of this important period in demographic history. He also looks at regions that have been less successful, especially Africa, and at the lessons for dealing with the important challenges that still remain. (This is a preview of the presidential address at the 2011 meeting of the Population Association of America.)

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