Changing Attitudes about Reproduction Hypothesis

The Limitation of Westward Expansion across North America Resulted in a Reduction in Fertility Rates

The west coast of North America is an interesting place in terms of Human Geography and Demographics. The European westward expansion across North America, starting in the late 16th century, lasted for approximately four hundred years. The rapid population growth in North America, spread from the east until bumping into the west coast of North America in the 20th century, sending social and economic shock waves back across the continent and into Europe. Attitudes about growth and expansion began to change. It appears that the limits to land mass contributed, at least in part, to the change in attitudes towards limiting population growth.

By the mid to late ninety sixties there was a great deal of interest in how to deal with the "population explosion", especially in the USA and Canada. The concern was, and is, that too many people would consume and ultimately devastate ecosystems. No longer was "go forth and multiply" a creed to live by. Instead, people began limiting the number of offspring.

Globally, the human population growth rate has reached a critical juncture. Instead of continuing to increase, the growth is beginning to slow. In some places, the reduced birth rate and rising number of deaths are resulting in a population decline. The United Nations estimates that the population of Europe has already begun to decline.

I would like to suggest a hypothesis that the limitation to continued expansion imposed by the west coast has had an impact on the rate of population growth globally. Your comments are appreciated.

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Revised April 30, 2008