October: Population Growth (Research Log)

Enrichment graphic

In the following Enrichment activities over the course of this year, we will be to cover topics of pressing importance that have just as much of a national impact as they do locally. As journalists, a fundamental understanding of these subjects before entering a professional environment like a newsdesk will be advantageous. October’s project sees us look at the theme of Population Growth.

As the world’s population inflates, it creates numerous concerns for not just the generation we live in at present, but in the future, even casting shadows on whether this planet can survive as its resources constantly deplete.

With the depth of individual areas that population growth envelopes, picking just one individual story to focus on will prove difficult. To counter this, brainstorming a wider variety of themes relating to this will broaden our avenues of thought and after completing it, will be easier to focus in on one story.

Enrichment October

Now that the subject has been widened, the next stage is to select possible categories to choose for the final piece. The following 3 choices were initially selected;


RGB-Baby-in-white2One of the first ideas was to narrow the concept of population growth down to its smallest denominator; the birth of a child. The vision for this would be to see what the impact of that child has on the world and what kind of life they have in todays global landscape. Is it easy to raise children now? Or was it easier a generation ago? Primary research would involve the likes of talking to parents, parents to-be and children’s organisations.

Projection Of The Earth’s Future

deus_ex_hengsha_by_enya_kun-d494hk5Without question the ever-increasing global population raises apprehensions over how the Earth will indeed manage and sustain and, crucially, house on average an added 350,000 new lives every single day. Although taken out of the world of fiction and entertainment, one of the locations in the 2011 futuristic video game Deus Ex: Human Revolution was the Chinese Island of Hengsha. Predicting the density of the population to soar, a second street level called ‘The Pangu’ sits on top of the city enabling more inhabitants and infrastructure. Could this concept taken out of science-fiction be a possible solution to the world’s increased need for more space? And how logically and practical would building something like that be. Primary sources might include large building corporations.

State Of The World Today 

tourism17n-8-webThe final category looks at what situation we find ourselves in now; in terms of land, resources and quality of life that essentially boils down to living conditions due to population growth. Effecting a large number of areas as demonstrated in the brainstorm above, a focus on local issues (which would prove a big part of the primary research as questions could be put towards individuals to housing agencies etc.), to international plights. One possible way to tackle the project would to focus on one countries struggle or situation surrounding global population.


After considering all of these topics, a combination of two of these topics was decided on. Even though, personally, the concept on focusing on just one newborn seemed the most creative, my final decision resulted on the basis of population growth being such a massive subject, a global perspective was needed to do the topic justice. So, my assignment will be based on the state of the world today, but in particular, how growth population has affected one country; Brazil. Looking at the fictional image of Hengsha made me contemplate what country would be in need of such as structure to house its citizens which instinctively made me envision the Favela’s of Brazil. These shanty towns sprawling over urbanised areas of Brazil are home to 6% of the population according to the 2010 Census and highlights some of the key issues which surround growth population; one of which being sanitation and health. Another factor was the spotlight shone over Brazil this summer as they hosted the 2014 FIFA World Cup; was enough done to help the people of Brazil through the media attention? Or should the money spent to stage the World Cup have been put to better use?

To help write this article, research must be carried out on both population growth and the Favela’s of Brazil to better support the entire story. Secondary and Primary sources will also contribute to the piece. The following is a description of all resources used.

(Note: Most images will contain a link to the exact site when clicked)

Secondary Research

BBC PopThe BBC News article by Hannah Barnes focuses on the comments made by esteemed broadcaster Sir David Attenborough commented that the population was ‘out of control’ in terms of growth. With extensive statistical information including how much the global population will rise by and a specific insight into the rise of Nigeria, this resources will benefit my piece by appreciating the figures of the world today and how the forecasts of the near future are used to support the overall tone of what the Favela’s story will want to portray.

GuardianTaking greater focus on the environmental aspect of the issue, Robert Engelman writes on The Guardian’s website what 7 billion people means for the Earth. As he says, ”Space, of course, has never been the issue. The impacts of our needs, greeds and wants are.” It is a page which raises a lot of questions over the planets resources and food. This resource will be used as a support for when I will be commenting on the situation in the future and moments when environmental factors arise.

Hans Rosling’s TED video ‘Global Population Growth, Box By Box’ is a fascination visual representation of the growth of the planets population. Key points to take from this include the difference between a generation; from 1960 to 2010 the world’s population has grown by 4bn. He also points out the relationship between ‘the West and the rest’ by saying there is no longer a gap, but the distance between richest and poorest is wider than ever. He sums up his presentation by looking at how to stop the estimated 9 billion population which the planet will be home to in 2050 and how child survival will ultimately stop the population soaring.

Screen Shot 2014-09-18 at 10.47.12

Screenshot from ‘Worldometers’ website showing the real-time statistics of the Earth’s population taken at 10:47 on Thursday 18th September 2014.

The website ‘Worldometers’ will form the backbone of all statistical figures in the article. What is useful in this particular site is how you can break down the world population into countries and see specific figures correlating to them. For example, the site has a 5-year breakdown on its population growth and the rate in which it has risen.



‘data.worldbank.org’ is similar to ‘worldometers’ in its statistical representation of countries and the world alike. The World Bank Group consists of 5 organisations with the aim to rid extreme poverty and promote shared prosperity bt 2030. The website looks at development in areas such as education, economy and health in countries and has records of figures up to 2004. Again, this website will support the statistical aspect of the piece.

ReutersThe Reuters article published in June of this year centered on the overall legacy of the World Cup and the lasting impact on the country. The main argument for the article is whether the $15-$20 billion dollars could have been better spent on improved housing, infrastructure and healthcare to the people of Brazil; especially those living in the poorest conditions of the Favela’s. This source will give another angle to the overall story.

Rio GuardianJo Griffin writes on The Guardians website a story that bears a more emotive tie to what hosting the World Cup actually means to the country aside from the positives. With the threat of having their homes destroyed, the residents of Santa Martha fight to save the Favela (again, yet another angle; arguments to keep them).

Favela factsSoul Brasileiro is a website ran by Brazilians to ‘provide services and information’ that allows the reader to experience the Brazilian way of life. Providing facts and figures on slums and Favela’s of Rio de Janeiro. To have a source from the country adds more credibility to the story and as is the case with the other sources, the wealth of statistical depth supports the sheer scope of global population and the plight of these people.

RioWith more information on Favela’s taken from the 2010 Census, with particular focus on Rio (and also Sao Paulo via a link) the facts and also key quotes will prove invaluable whilst writing the assignment.


Volume 220 of ‘Issues’: Population Growth and Migration covers a wide range of sub-categories in detail including sustainability, human development  and resource consumption. With dozens of contributors involved in this publication it will add once more the authenticity of the final written article.

Primary Research


By asking questions first hand to a wide range of people, greater viewpoints can be taken on the subject of population growth and the questions can be asked based on the needs of what information I wish to attain. Using social media, I circulated the survey consisting of  8 questions and analyzed the results. The core of my questioning revolved around the perception of stand of living in the UK to that of people living in the Favela’s of Brazil. I concluded that people thought that standard of living was not affected by the amount of people living in one area from their own experiences, yet there was sympathy and compassion for those living in shanty towns across Brazil. I also gauged opinion over the World Cup and most people thought the money should have been spent differently. Some of the responses will be used in the final article, especially a comment over ‘urban migration’ which gives reasoning to why Favela’s formed in large cities across Brazil.

Below is a summary of questions asked and responses:


After completing the population growth article a brief summary of the strengths and weaknesses can be evaluated. Firstly, the flow and structure of the piece was satisfying; taking into account a national and international perspective and balancing out the arguments well based with supporting statistics and quotations. Secondly, the wealth of resources certainly helped tackle a vast subject like the effects on population growth. In terms of negatives, or things I would have done differently would to have been able to gather more primary research and to have received more feedback from the survey than I produced. Apart from that, the process of researching and producing this article on population growth has been rewarding and insightful.



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