In the developed countries, developments in the field of population research were rapid after the Second World War. In the United States, attempts were made by the Princeton Group to study the social and psychological factors affecting fertility and the practice of contraception amongst Americans.
“The Growth of American Families” is another important study undertaken by this Group. As there was much concern over the excessive growth of population in developing countries, several research studies were undertaken to cover the problems of growth, family planning and urbanisation in those countries.
Important among these were the cost-benefit studies of the family planning programme in India and other developing countries, research in the acceptability of various methods of birth control, research in the dual reporting system of births and deaths, etc.
The deep concern among the Americans in the late 1960s and the early 1970s about the rate of growth of their own population manifested itself when some groups strongly advocated zero population growth aims.
Another dimension to the study of population was added with the Western world’s increasing awareness of the deterioration in the environment as a result of heavy industrialisation and rapid population growth.
The differential behaviour of people in this respect was highlighted when it was pointed out that, even according to conservative estimates, one person in North America on an average, causes 25 times more environmental damage than does one person in India.
The United Nations held a conference on Human Environment in Stockholm, Sweden, in June 1972, which once again focused attention on the study of the human population in relation to its environment or eco-system.