Dimensions of the Population Problem in the United States

by Peter A. Morrison

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Analyzes three aspects of U.S. demographic change that impinge on domestic issues: (1) numerical population increase, (2) changing age structure, and (3) geographic redistribution. Cessation of population growth nationally would reduce but not eliminate congestion and environmental threats. Changing age structure accounts partially for dropping elementary and rising college enrollments, incipient major expansion in demand for housing, and high levels of arrests through 1975. Geographic redistribution and migration express fundamental transformations in urbanization: growth of urban regions, suburbanization and racial separation, and distress in areas of population decline. Policies are needed to deal with forces behind geographic redistribution. The study recommends policies on population redistribution for coping with local growth and decline. Steps are needed to rationalize migration, control land use, foresee and control environmental threats, and monitor governmental activities that inadvertently influence urban growth. (See also R-987.)

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