Agricultural Economics Department


Date of this Version



SAGE Open October-December 2017: 1– 15


© The Author(s) 2017

Open access


The relationship between population growth and economic growth is controversial. This article draws on historical data to chart the links between population growth, growth in per capita output, and overall economic growth over the past 200 years. Low population growth in high-income countries is likely to create social and economic problems while high population growth in low-income countries may slow their development. International migration could help to adjust these imbalances but is opposed by many. Drawing on economic analyses of inequality, it appears that lower population growth and limited migration may contribute to increased national and global economic inequality.