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Abstract

Cramer, James C. 1998. "Population Growth and Air Quality in California." Demography. 35:45-56. 


Demographers are often intersted in the environmental impacts of population growth. I examine the impacts of growth specifally in air quality in California. In recent decades, California has suffered from notoriously polluted air and has experienced rapid population growth. Despite the population growth, air quality actually has improved since the early 1980s due to aggressive regulatory efforts. Using data for 56 counties, I analyze the contribution of population growth to trends in atmospheric emissions of five regulated pollutants from 1980 to 1990, controlling for trends in per capita income and regulatory efforts. The analysis is disaggregated by source of emissions and demonstrates that population growth is strongly associated with some sources of emissions but not with others. Thus, the overall impcts of population growth depends upon the composition of production and consumption activities in each county. I also explore whether the trend in number of households predicts better than the trend in number of persons, and whether the impact of population growth depends upon the age structure or source of growth (immigration or domestic increase). Generally, these alternative specifications of population do not improve the models of atmospheric emissions.

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