Population growth seen as a problem, but few want the government to do anything about it

November 03, 2015, 4:33 PM GMT+0

Americans think that population growth is too quick, but few think the government should do anything about it

Since 1979 the Chinese government has made controlling the country's population one of its major targets. China, which with just under 1.4 billion people is the world's most populous country, has announced that it is relaxing the 'one child policy' and will allow couples to have two children or more. Many countries have also sought to control population growth, though few have gone as far as China; other countries such as Japan and Germany are facing the opposite problem as an aging population and low fertility is causing their populations to shrink.

The latest research from YouGov shows that Americans, still worry about population growth both at home and abroad. 47% of Americans say that the population of the United States is growing too quickly, while 62% say that the world's population is growing too quickly. While there is little difference of opinion on world population growth, Republicans (48%) and independents (53%) are noticeably more likely than Democrats (36%) to say that America's population is increasing too quickly.

There is wide consensus, however, that despite worries about overpopulation the government should not be doing anything to encourage smaller families. 62% of Americans say that the government should stay out of family planning, while 5% say that the government should encourage larger families. Only 21% of Americans say that the government should encourage smaller families, though interestingly Democrats (24%) are twice as likely to say that the government should encourage smaller families than Republicans (12%).

When Americans are asked what the ideal number of children to have is, 47% say that the ideal is two children. 18% say three children but only 2% say that one child is optimal.

Full poll results can be found here and topline results and margin of error here.