The effects of population growth are varied and vast. While population growth, of any species, may be beneficial to a certain extent, there may come a time when the number in the population exceeds the natural resources available to sustain it. This is referred to as overpopulation. The consequences of such an event are severe and major.
The population growth of any animal, if left uncontrolled can become burdensome. Farmers have noted, for many centuries, what the effects of an uncontrolled predator population can do to livestock. Once their natural prey run out, or are harder to find, the predators may turn to domesticated animals, despite the risks. This can cause a severe hardship on any family depending on those animals for survival.
However, when most think of a growing population, they do not think of other animals. The prime fear in most people's minds is the population growth of their own species. As humans leave a much larger footprint on the environment than any other creature, uncontrolled overgrowth can be especially devastating.
First, as the population grows the opportunities for quality, available housing may become an issue. More people crowded into less space is not a good combination in any locality. As space is taken up, it becomes more valuable. Eventually, it begins to affect to poorest in the area. In the long run the effect of population growth may be substandard housing or homelessness.
In other cases, access to food and clean water may be the main issue. This is an even more immediate problem than housing. As more people are faced with unsanitary sources of food, disease and famine begin to take root. If left unaffected, it will sweep through an entire population. In some cases, entire countries may be affected by the situation. Finding a solution often requires a multi-national effort.
Another negative effect of population growth is waste control. When there are relatively few people, controlling waste is a much simpler task. However, as populations grow, the waste increases dramatically. Finding a spot for this waste, or treating it in a way that does not poison the environment, is critically important. Regions of the world that do not have the ability to do this will find it leads to a number other serious issues and becomes a massive public health problem.
In general, the problem is not population growth in itself, it is a mismanagement of natural resources and waste that cause the majority of the problems. Many places have found effective strategies for dealing with such issues. Other locations, usually because of a lack of relative wealth, and perhaps engineering knowledge, have fallen behind.