QUORA: ‘Why are high population growth countries typically poorer relative to countries with lower population growth?’
I left this answer:
Actually, the question implies a reversal of cause-and-effect—that high population growth causes poverty. Not so. Poverty causes high birth rates. Rising prosperity leads to decreasing birth rates. The answer to why this is so is covered in depth in The End of Doom: Environmental Renewal in the Twenty-first Century by Ronald Bailey. I highly recommend the book for this and other reasons.
Obviously, the path to prosperity requires the adoption of certain social and political conditions, namely free market capitalism, individual rights (including property rights), rule of objective law, a government strong enough to protect rights but restrained enough to preclude rights violating, and a constitution that pulls it all together.
The End of Doom: Environmental Renewal in the Twenty-first Century by Ronald Bailey, Chapter One
Prosperity and World Population Growth—Marian L. Tupy for CATO
What is Capitalism?—Ayn Rand