Sample Essay On Overpopulation In The US:

Type of paper: Essay

Topic: Population, Overpopulation, Workplace, California, Water, Students, System, Increase

Pages: 3

Words: 825

Published: 2021/02/27

Not Enough to Go Around

Regardless of a nation’s wealth, overpopulation can have devastating social, economic, and environmental consequences. According to Cotto, “nations with larger populations tend to be more impoverished, with negatively correlating rates of healthcare access and educational opportunities” (2014). While US population growth has slowed in recent years, the US boasts one of the highest birthrates of all developed nations and also gains nearly 2 million each year through immigration- 1 million enter the US legally each year, and another 500,000 to 1 million enter illegally. Overpopulation puts a strain on the resources, services, and opportunities available to all, and, in a developed nation such as the US, has devastating effects on the global environment due to high rates of consumption. It is absolutely critical that the US pursue population policies that address this growing concern. Social systems such as the public education system are funded by a combination of state and federal funds, and are often just barely adequate to serve the existing population. Overpopulation would have a significant impact on the public school system in the US, which is already under stress; as of 2007, “about 14% of schools exceed their capacity by 6-25%, and 8% exceed it by more than 25%.” Overpopulation leads to overcrowding in schools and a decrease in the quality of education that students receive. Meeting the educational needs of a growing population is impossible without increased taxes to fund and properly staff new or larger schools to accommodate the increase. Given that between 2006 and 2046, the US educational system see a 19 million student-increase from current levels, it is undeniable that the educational system will feel the strain (Passel, 2006). It is no secret that students who receive a high quality education have significantly better economic prospects, and are more likely to attain higher-paying jobs. However, as population grows, unless new jobs are being added to keep pace with the increase in population, decent employment opportunities will become more scarce and competition for jobs will become more fierce. Overpopulation can be linked to high unemployment rates, especially in low-income communities where opportunities to make a living wage are increasingly rare. Cotto asserts that “overpopulation has resulted in a crucial job deficit and applicant surplus,” and that this affects mainly blue collar workers, though after the global recession in 2007-2009 white collar workers also began feeling the effects of this phenomenon as well (2014). Poor education and economic prospects and high unemployment rates contribute to the dependence of impoverished families on social welfare programs such as food stamps, Medicare, subsidized housing, and cash benefits. If population grows too rapidly and people lack access to quality education or decent-paying jobs, we will see an increase in beneficiaries of these programs which will put a significant strain on state and federal governments. Aside from the economic impact of an increase in US citizens on public assistance, the impact on the quality of life of those individuals with reduced access to education and employment cannot be ignored. America is known for being the Land of Opportunity, however overpopulation has the potential to rob many of those opportunities. The US is also contributing to a rapid depletion of critical, non-renewable resources including water and fossil fuels. Water scarcity is a growing concern worldwide that carries dire consequences. Life requires water- humans as well as the animals and plants we consume require it. California, which is projected to have only enough water for all it’s citizens for one more year, is a prime example of the combined effects of a growing population, poor stewardship of natural resources, and pushing a system to its limits (Maddocks, Reid, & Gassert, 2014). California’s water shortage could have dire consequences on produce availability and prices for the entire nation, as at least half of US fruits, nuts, and vegetables are grown in California (CDFA, 2015). If the US population continues to grow so rapidly, the impact of any resulting food shortages or price hikes would be even more dire, as reduced supply and increased demand drive prices, making food costs unreasonable for many, especially those struggling to find employment in an economy saturated with workers due to overpopulation. Overpopulation is also terrible for the environment. Fossil fuels are being rapidly depleted, and their consumption is widely considered a significant contributing factor to air pollution worldwide. Increased population means an increase in waste; landfills in the US, like schools and the social welfare system, are struggling under the figurative and literal weight of a large population. There are no easy solutions for waste management; incineration contributes to air pollution, leached chemicals from landfills can contaminate groundwater, and improper disposal of waste has lead to the formation of several veritable islands of garbage in the world’s oceans (Jakuboski, 2011). It is naive to believe that environmental pollution will not negatively affect the health and well-being of all citizens, including those in the US. The detrimental effects of overpopulation are well-researchad and well-documented. With the US’ relatively high birth rate and high rate of legal and illegal immigration, it is undeniable that our population is growing faster than our social institutions can handle, putting a strain on critical natural resources such as food and water, and contributing to environmental contamination that affects the health and well-being of all citizens. In order to mitigate the negative effects of overpopulation, the US should enact policies that encourage lower birth rates and slow the population growth to a manageable rate.


California Dept. of Food and Agriculture (CDFA). (2015). California Agricultural Production Statistics. California Dept. of Food and Agriculture. Retrieved from, J. (2014 Apr 21). Overpopulation is killing the American Dream. Communities Digital News. Retrieved from dream-15562/Jakubowski, S. (2011 Feb 25). Garbage Dump in the Middle of the Pacific Ocean. Scitable by Nature Education. Retrieved from
Maddocks, A., Reig, P., & Gassert, F. (2014 Mar 27). Drought is Only One Explanation for California’s Water Crisis. World Resources Institute. Retrieved from’s-water-crisisNegative Population Growth (NPG). (2013). Effects of Overpopulation: Education. Negative Population Growth. Retrieved from education.pdfPassel, J. S. (2006 Mar 07). The Size and Characteristics of the Unauthorized Migrant Population in the U.S. Pew Hispanic Center. Retrieved from

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