Costs of population growth


Yesterday we commented on the downside of population growth with reference to costs specifically those which although important are generally excluded from any cost/benefit analysis.

Today we take a stab at assessing the economic costs. This is a tricky area but important.

Population increase results in additional costs for the following:

Infrastructure – roads, utilities, street lighting, water and waste provision.
Education – new premises and additional staff
Health – new premises and additional staff
Employment – expenditure on employment land, training etc
Housing – provision of extra housing with associated infrastructure
Public services

It is of course important to recognise that not all new expenditure is to meet population growth. Some new expenditure is required to renew and upgrade the existing system. However what often passes for ‘extra’ or ‘additional’ facilities or resources is often to meet population growth rather than to provide a better service to the existing population.

The counter argument is that the new population meets the cost of extra provision. However even if this is the case which we query, it is of no benefit to society and ignores the environmental and other costs.

Comments welcome!

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