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Topic: Culture & Communities     Department: Letters

It's the population, stupid -- part II

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I am sorry that Charles Bowden, in "The War Next Door," does not mention Mexico's population growth among the causes of Mexican migration into the United States (HCN, 3/1/10). It is, he says, "a natural shift of a species."  Perhaps, but it is also a case of the mushrooming of a people. Since I was born in 1932, the population of Mexico has multiplied by more than six times, from 17 million to an estimated 111 million last year. In recent decades, the fertility rate of Mexican women has sharply declined, and the country's population may stop growing by the middle of this century. Meanwhile, though, the population explosion in recent decades and the failure of the Mexican economy to provide enough jobs has caused millions to seek a better life on this side of the border. The factors Bowden mentions, like the destruction of peasant agriculture and the corruption of the Mexican state, are secondary to -- and to some extent may, in my view, result from -- the country's huge increase in population.

Peter Bridges
Arlington, Virginia

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