fertility rates

NEWS via StarTribune: In Africa, hopes that surging population will drive growth are overblown

March 15, 2014 // 2 Comments

How unusual is Africa’s demography? U.N. estimates of slowing birth rates predicted an economic surge, but trends have fallen short, as have manufacturing and private investment. If you refer to Algeria and Tunisia in the north and Botswana and South Africa in the south, you may answer: not that unusual. In the early 1960s those nations had fertility rates of between 5.5 and 7.5, about the same as rates in Brazil, China, Indonesia and Mexico at the time. Now, all of those countries’ fertility rates are between 1.5 and 3.0. The main difference is that the Asian and Latin American nations saw their fertility decline at a fairly steady pace over the past 50 years, whereas the African ones saw a sharp decline beginning in the mid-1980s. In a recent study, demographers Jean-Pierre Guengant and John May say the north and south of the continent are exceptions. Most of Africa is catching up too little, too late. The result is that the continent’s overall population will rise sharply, [...]
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