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After growing very slowly for most of human history the worlds population more than doubled in the last half century crossing the six billion mark in late 1999 Furthermore world population is still increasing by about 78 million people a year despite the trend worldwide towards smaller families Total population size is likely to continue to grow for at least the next 40 years and by at least another 15 billion people Almost all of this growth is occurring in the developing regions while most industrialised countries are growing very slowly or not at all and in some countries the population size is even declining However these developed countries make up just one fifth of the worlds population and consequently have little impact on demographic trends This results in the need for investigation into the causes of high rates of population growth Religion plays a large part in the rate of population increase as it affects birth rates with its views on contraception and abortion Islam and Roman Catholicism are absolutely opposed to the use of contraception as followers believe that sex is purely for procreation In nations that are strongly influenced by religions with views such as these the lack of use of contraception means that birth rates are high and therefore the rate of population increase follows suit In more developed areas and especially western areas there has been a decline in religion and how closely people adhere to the religious teachings and therefore contraception is used more widely This is also because there is a wider availability and variety of contraception in more economically developed countries and people are educated in how to use it Many people in developing countries are either unaware of contraception or are given no guidance in using it In Africa there have been examples of men taking the female birth control pill so it proved totally ineffective and had no bearing on birth rates Worldwide the percentage
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