## Population Growth

### "Mortal Sins" in School Books

In 2000, our world accommodated 6.1 billion human inhabitants. Estimates forecast an increase of up to 9 billion in the next 50 years. Especially worrying is the fact, that within the last five decades the world population has multiplied more rapidly than ever before.

The Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping established in 1979 the so-called one child policy to dam the frightening population growth of his country. The measures are still in use:

- Men have to be at least 27 years old and women at least 25 years before they can marry.
- Incentives for families with not more than one child (additional holidays, better living quarters etc)
- punishments for families with more than one child (high financial fines, insufficient housing space, cuts in salary, forced sterilisation etc.)

We want to point your attention instead on a German text book in geography, where the population growth in China is depicted from 1680 to the year 2000:

If you look at the diagram, you get the immediate impression, that these measures have been successful. It looks as if the increase has slowed down from 1995 to 2000. If you have a closer look at the statistics, you will make out a mortal sin in statistics and mathematics: Equally distanced intervals on the x-axis, depicting the years, stand for different time periods. The second interval represents 90 years, whereas the last interval stand for just five years.

A correct diagram looks like this:

One can see clearly, that the growth has not slowed down.

The first diagram stemms from "Seydlitz 4, Geographie, 2001 Schroedel Verlag GmbH"