is population as it relates to sustainability?
concerned with the density and distribution of the human population
as a sustainability indicator because of the influence of these factors
on human health, economic well-being, and social equality.
Though not included in this study, animal populations are important
to consider when examining environmental aspects of sustainability such
as habitat space and species endangerment. This site currently focuses
only on human demographics.
Why should population be considered a factor in assessing the sustainability
of a community?
is only possible if the size and growth of a population is in harmony
with the changing productive potential of its natural environment. A
population of too great a size or growing too quickly will have increasing
resource demands, inevitably impacting the natural environment and community
Population also has a great impact on the economy. A small or shrinking
population may not provide a sufficient tax base for government funding,
while a large population may overwhelm government services as well as
private housing and service sectors. Further, a population comprised
of too few individuals of working age and too many young or elderly
individuals can not support itself. This is occurring currently in a
general way in the United States, as the current Social Security system
is unable to provide for all individuals receiving compensation.
North Carolina is not without population problems of its own. In addition
to the growth rate related to excess births, economic development is
promoting the migration and immigration of workers into commercial centers
like Research Triangle Park, Charlotte, and the Triad. American migrants
and foreign immigrants who moved to North Carolina between 1995 and
2000 numbered 350,000 and 184,000 respectively. The population growth
in North Carolina today is 6.1%, over six times the national growth
rate of 0.92% per year ( see US
Census Bureau,"North Carolina Quick Facts", Population References).
are population concerns addressed by this project?
Count: A raw measure of the number of people. This number represents
the current demands on available resources.
Population Density: A measure of the distribution of people over
a given space as measured in people per square mile. A population of
high relative density represents a concentrated resource demand.
Population Growth: A measure of the rate at which the population
is increasing. This number is especially useful in predicting future
Population Distribution by Age: A characterization of the age
of the population. Growth trends are easily predictable with summaries
of the number of people in given age groups. Especially indicative of
future trends is the number of people of child-bearing age.