What is the cause of the population growth

Population growth # 3: why is the world population growing? (Update)

Worldwide population growth is almost exclusively due to developing countries. Three factors play a special role:

  1. the young age structure of the population,
  2. unwanted births as well
  3. the desire for more than two children per couple.

All three variables can be influenced.

Young age structure

A young population can be traced back to high fertility rates in many developing countries, which are partly based on unwanted pregnancies. Two in five people in the least developed countries are under 15 years of age. In countries like Uganda and Niger that is around half. This population group is on the threshold of reproductive age. The future size of the world's population will in large part depend on how many children today's children and adolescents choose and whether they have access to education and contraception. Age-appropriate sex education and access to contraceptives for adolescents, delaying the first birth due to more educational opportunities for girls and increasing the age at marriage can reduce this age structure effect.

Unwanted births

Another reason for the strong population growth in developing countries is the high number of children per woman. Sub-Saharan Africa has the highest fertility rate in the world: a woman there has an average of around five children, in Niger, for example, there are 7.5 children and in Uganda as many as eight children.

Many women have more children there than they would like because they often lack contraceptives or they are not informed. In addition, the women often cannot persuade their partner to use contraceptives. One in four women in developing countries cannot use contraception even though she would like to. In Africa that's even every second! If all women could use contraception, there would be 52 million fewer unwanted pregnancies, 21 million fewer unplanned births and 24 million fewer abortions each year.

Desire for more than two children

In developing countries, people often want more than two children because their countries do not have adequate pension systems. Therefore, people are dependent on their children in old age. Many children still die soon after birth, so parents have several children in the hope that at least some will survive. As child and infant mortality falls, and women get better educational and employment opportunities, this will affect the number of children they want. Family planning programs that provide information about the health and economic benefits of smaller families also influence parenting attitudes.

Are Education and Family Planning Programs Really Good?

The best thing to do is to let Mulu speak, a 20-year-old Ethiopian who has received sex education and training through us: “If I hadn't taken part in the foundation's project, I would probably be at home, have children and obey my husband. But first of all, I take care of my own income. I just want to enter into a partnership in which my partner and I are equal and we respect each other. "

Mulu will most certainly have fewer children later than most Ethiopians, and she will be better off thanks to an income of her own.

We updated this article on June 26, 2017 and adapted it to the new United Nations figures (World Population Prospects: The 2017 Revision). This article first appeared on October 8, 2014.

Curious? More information on population growth in Part 1 and Part 2 of our series.

  1. Hans Gipper on March 9, 2019 at 5:23 pm
  2. Sandra on March 15, 2019 at 11:23 am