Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Semester of Degree Completion


Thesis Director

Natalie J. McPherson


Some of the best historical and archeological evidence has claimed that about a million years was required for the human race to reach the 250 million mark by the beginning of the Christian era. Pestilence, famine and war had then reduced the population increase to a tiny fraction of 1% per year, requiring 16 centuries for the world population to double to 500 million. However, by 1850, 250 years later, the population doubled to the one billion mark. As of 1993, approximately one and a half centuries later, the world population stood at about 5.5 billion. According to United Nations demographers, by the year 2000 - a mere twinkling of an eye - the population is estimated to increase to 6.9 billion. In less than half a lifetime the population increase will exceed the total achieved in almost a million years.

This has been calculated out to an average of about three births occuring every second and about two million every week. A calm consideration of the bearing of the population increase on the life and welfare of the race is not calculated to lull one to sleep but to spur one to action.

The acuteness of this problem increases enormously by the fact that the greatest increases in population are occuring in the developing nations least able to sustain them. In Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, China, Africa, and Latin America, where poverty is rampant, the population has soared to new heights.

In Bangladesh, the population as of 1993 was estimated at 122,254,849. An over-populated nation such as this inevitably faces problems of a lack of food, and hence, a lack of necessary nutrients for its people.

The purpose of this study is to present the reader with an idea of the severity of the problem of malnutrition in Bangladesh and to suggest a few likely causes of and possible solutions to malnutrition. It is a cross-sectional study comprising of fifty-one low and lower-middle income nations. The countries in the sample are listed in Appendix A. Four independent variables have been chosen for the regression, two of which, the contraceptive prevalence rate and the illiteracy rate have proven to be insignificant, and the other two, per capita GNP and the percentage of poulation urbanized are significant. It should be mentioned that the logs of all these variables are the actual values used in the study. The paper further explains the likely presence of specification bias and the different factors which may be the cause of it. This paper will then conclude that the independent variables used should all be strongly significant and that the lack of data availability is a probable cause of the unexpected regression results.