Does Rapid Population Growth Lead to War?

From obstetrician and public health expert Malcolm Potts, responding to readers in the ongoing population forum:

Nearly all the fragile states such as Yemen (average number of children 6.2), Somalia (6.8 children), and the oxymoronic named Democratic Republic of the Congo (6.7) have rapid rates of population growth. (North Korea, with its mad despotic ruler is an exception proving the rule). Consider the Congo with 63 million people today and perhaps 186 million in 2050. Since World War II, there have been more deaths in the Congo from violence than anywhere else on earth. Yet the intentional community is doing almost nothing to help slow population growth in a voluntary way. I am on the board of Population Services International and we sell contraceptives at a subsidized prices in many countries, including the Congo. But we cannot keep up with demand because of shortages of contraceptives. The United Nations Population Fund and other agencies and donors interested in family planning and population growth should stop having so many staff going to innumerable meetings and start buying more contraceptives. Family planning is about commonsense, but common sense is a rare commodity when it comes to anything to do with sex and reproduction.

Agree? Disagree? Join our population conversation here.


Mother Jones was founded as a nonprofit in 1976 because we knew corporations and the wealthy wouldn't fund the type of hard-hitting journalism we set out to do.

Today, reader support makes up about two-thirds of our budget, allows us to dig deep on stories that matter, and lets us keep our reporting free for everyone. If you value what you get from Mother Jones, please join us with a tax-deductible donation today so we can keep on doing the type of journalism 2019 demands.

We Recommend


Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.


Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.


We have a new comment system! We are now using Coral, from Vox Media, for comments on all new articles. We'd love your feedback.