Is poverty caused by overpopulation?

A viewer asked this question on 8/12/2000:

1. Is there any relation between population and poverty?
2. Is there any country, which control first population and then eradicated poverty?
3. Is there any problem of food in the world? Any possibility of scarcity in camping years?

stevehaddock gave this response on 8/12/2000:

1. Generally, no. Many rich countries have huge populations, and many poor countries have very low populations. Even density per square mile doesn't make much of a difference. The Netherlands and Hong Kong lead their areas in population density and are still extremely well off, despite lack of arable land or any real resources.

2. Generally, no. In all nations, wealth came first and then population control. Puerto Rico is a good example. When it was poor people had large families. Now that it is better off, families are smaller. Also generally speaking, in poor countries, raising children is cheaper and the benefits of having a child (labour) are greater than in rich countries.

3. No. Food production continues to outpace population growth. Most countries, including unlikely ones like India and China produce agricultural surpluses, even considering huge amounts of waste and spoilage (up to 70%)This cannot continue indefinitely, but a lot can still change to alleviate food shortages. For example.

- Land currently used for growing non-food crops (rubber, cotton, jute, tobacco, even cocaine) could easily be turned over to food crops.
- Pasture land can be divided and turned into farms with controlled livestock instead of range livestock (this is what is going on in Nigeria).
- Food crops that are fed to animals (for example, American corn - it's number one crop) can be fed to people - it just means more calories from plants and less from animals.
- More processing and packaging at source will decrease spoilage. In India and Russia, more food spoils before it gets to market than is actually consumed.

JesseGordon responded:

... [demographic turnover & disagree with Steve]

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