POPULATION: Turning Point?

The growth slows

Next to a nuclear holocaust, none of the horrors forecast by contemporary doomsdayers have seemed more threatening than the population bomb. As this bomb ticked away and the world's population mushroomed, so the prediction went, an explosion would be inevitable. Resources would be depleted, agricultural lands overtaxed, fuel reserves exhausted, and soon—some Cassandras said by as early as the mid-21st century—global calamity would occur.

Now this gloomy prospect seems less likely. In what is apparently the first such reversal since the Industrial Revolution, the U.S. Census Bureau reported last week, there has been a slight yet important decline in...

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