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November 9, 1970

Nice Baby

JAMA. 1970;214(6):1108. doi:10.1001/jama.1970.03180060082016

The April 1970 issue of Population Bulletin, a publication of Population Reference Bureau, Inc., is devoted to "Whose Baby is the Population Problem?" —an extraordinarily perceptive essay by Rufus E. Miles, Jr.* He notes that although demographers disagree about whether the US population is growing at an alarming rate, and although there is no problem in Malthusian terms of domestic food supply, there are other reasons for concern. For example, further growth in US population inevitably will lead to additional crowding of our cities. In spite of the fact that they might prefer it otherwise, people will have no where else to go. Strong evidence derives from the fact that a 1970 Gallup poll revealed that only 13% of urban dwellers stated a preference for remaining in cities.

The probable esthetic consequences of increased urban densification are easy to imagine. And Miles espouses another more serious consequence—erosion of freedoms. As