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In: D'Souza AA, de Souza A, ed. Population growth and human development. New Delhi, India, Indian Social Institute, 1974. 17-26.Although demographic statistics are grossly inadequate, a fairly convincing panorama of the population situation and trends has been prepared by demographers based on fragmentary information, coupled with assumptions and tested against collateral information. Population study reveals a 1st stage early in the recent historic perspective during which fertility and mortality rates were very high and the corresponding rates of natural growth were low. The 2nd stage of the transition begins with a decline in the death rates while fertility rates remained at high levels, and even increases, population growth accelerates during this period. This stage is characterized by rapid urbanization provoked by displacement of population from rural areas to urban centers. Fertility rates begin to decrease at a later period, in some cases more than 20 years after the decline of death rates--tending to level off with death rates at low levels. In this stage, population growth is near zero and has in some cases decreased. The entire transition may take at least 50 years. The key question is how to determine the crucial character of the interactions between population and the critical problems of our society: poverty; underdevelopment; gaps of income between and within countries; food; and environment. In 3 symposia at Cairo, Honolulu, and Stockholm, it was concluded that there were 3 schools of thought. 1 considered rapid population growth as a major cause of structural rigidities of the less developed economies, and therefore reduction of population growth as a 1st priority for improvement of living standards. Another, putting its faith in technological innovation, considered that the way to development was by socioeconomic changes rather than demographic paths of action. The 3rd considered the demograpic approach as one of many leading to the attainment of economic and social progress. The consensus was that there are limits to the growth of population both in the short-term and in the long-term. A World Population Conference held in Bucharest, Rumania in 1974 addressed the issues of recent population trends; relations between population change and economic and social development; relations between population, resources, and environment; and population, family, and well being.