Overpopulation is one of the greatest problems facing society, particularly in the developing world. As lifespans become longer and mortality rates decline, many areas are reaching a breaking point, particularly with a dramatic decline in available resources. There are a variety of solutions that can be implemented to address overpopulation, some of which are more impactful than others.
Education is one of the key ways to reduce overpopulation. When individuals learn about how to control reproduction and how the need for multiple children has declined, they are more likely to limit the number of children they produce. Through open discussions about family planning and birth control, people can choose the method of reproductive control that is best for them and their belief systems, and proceed to reduce the burden on society. At a governmental level, tax breaks can be provided for individuals who have fewer children. If people have just one or two children, they could be eligible for a reduce income tax rate, for example, or a tax credit based on the number of children they have. This provides financial incentive to limit reproduction and help address overpopulation.
When faced with problems of overpopulation, some countries have gone to extreme measures. The “one child policy” in China, for example, succeeded in keeping the population from rising as fast as it was, but it had the unintended effect of children being placed in orphanages at increased rates or female children being abandoned in the hopes of being able to have a male child. The burden fell on families to only have one child; if they had more than that, they were fined heavily. Unlike the aforementioned solution, where parents with just one or two children would be given a tax credit, the government of China punished people for having children. Providing a benefit to limiting reproduction is a more positive approach than punishing individuals for not limiting reproduction.