September 11, 2006


Is a bigger nation richer?: As the US population clock approaches 300 million, experts examine a possible link between growth and prosperity. (Brad Knickerbocker, 9/12/06, The Christian Science Monitor)

In the past 39 years, the United States has added 100 million people - the biggest population spurt in its history. At the same time, America has sustained greater economic growth than any civilization before it. [...]

While it's hard to prove that population growth spurs economic growth, experts say, the two often go hand in hand. That helps to explain why, by virtually any socioeconomic standard, most American workers are better off today than they were in 1967, the year the population reached 200 million.

What's really important at this phase of the game is that the symbiosis seems quite likely to work in reverse as well, which is to say that as the secular world starts to decline in population its economies will implode as well. There may never have been a human society that simultaneously sustained a growing economy and a declining population.

Posted by Orrin Judd at September 11, 2006 5:49 PM

The EU is getting bigger, but it is not getting as properous as the US.

Something nobody is talking about is American capitalism vs European socialism. American prosperity is re-enforced by an influx of immigrants attracted to the prosperity. There is a catch-22. Prosperity leads to more population leads to more prosperity. In Europe, prosperity is dragged down by its expansion and integration. A socialist welfare system in which a smaller and smaller percentage of workers to support a larger percentage of welfare recipients. The root cause of economic growth is govt. policy, not population growth per se.

Posted by: ic at September 11, 2006 6:55 PM

People = Wealth.

Posted by: Robert Mitchell Jr. at September 11, 2006 7:26 PM

China has a lot of people. India has a lot too. They're not considered wealthy countries. I think something has to be added to that equation.

Posted by: jorz at September 12, 2006 1:44 AM

100 million more people, buying cheap Chinese crap. I'm suspicious.

Posted by: AllenS at September 12, 2006 6:37 AM


And they rose economically when they were adding people. China is headed for imminent catastrophe as its demographics implode.

The more interesting question is whether states as big as China, India and America make economic sense. Smaller states tend to do better.

Posted by: oj at September 12, 2006 7:48 AM

Is it really surprising that labor is one of the four factors of production?

Posted by: Chris Durnell at September 12, 2006 11:59 AM