Global Problems of Population Growth

Open Yale


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This survey course introduces students to the important and basic material on human fertility, population growth, the demographic transition and population policy. Topics include: the human and environmental dimensions of population pressure, demographic history, economic and cultural causes of demographic change, environmental carrying capacity and sustainability. Political, religious and ethical issues surrounding fertility are also addressed. The lectures and readings attempt to balance theoretical and demographic scale analyzes with studies of individual humans and communities. The perspective is global with both developed and developing countries included.

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What you'll learn on the course

Evolution of Sex and Reproductive Strategies
Sex and Violence Among the Apes
When Humans Were Scarce
Malthusian Times
Quantitative Aspects

Course programme

Lecture 1Evolution of Sex and Reproductive Strategies

Lecture 2Sex and Violence Among the Apes

Lecture 3From Ape to Human

Lecture 4When Humans Were Scarce

Lecture 5Why Is Africa Different?

Lecture 6Malthusian Times

Lecture 7Demographic Transition in Europe; Mortality Decline

Lecture 8Demographic Transition in Europe; Fertility Decline

Lecture 9Demographic Transition in Europe

Lecture 10Quantitative Aspects

Lecture 11Low Fertility in Developed Countries (Guest Lecture by Michael Teitelbaum)

Lecture 12Human and Environmental Impacts

Lecture 13Fertility Attitudes and Practices

Lecture 14Demographic Transition in Developing Countries

Lecture 15Female Disadvantage

Lecture 16Population in Traditional China

Lecture 17Population in Modern China

Lecture 18Economic Impact of Population Growth

Lecture 19Economic Motivations for Fertility

Lecture 20Teen Sexuality and Teen Pregnancy

Lecture 21Global Demography of Abortion

Lecture 22Media and the Fertility Transition in Developing Countries (Guest Lecture by William Ryerson)

Lecture 23Biology and History of AbortionLecture 24Population and the Environment