Population and Poverty

December 6, 2007 • Daily Email Recap

Rapid population growth aggravates poverty in developing countries by producing a high ratio of dependent children for each working adult. This leads to a relatively high percentage of income being spent on immediate survival needs of food, housing, and clothing, leaving little money for purchase of elective goods or for investment in the economy, education, government services, or infrastructure. Lack of available capital continues to frustrate the attempts of many developing countries to expand their economies and reduce poverty.

Only about 20 percent of the current world’s population has a generally adequate standard of living. The other 80 percent live in conditions ranging from mild deprivation to severe deficiency. This imbalance is likely to get worse, as more than 90 percent of future population growth is projected for the less developed countries.

The continent with the most rapid population growth, Africa, is actually growing poorer. African’s per capita gross domestic product of $510 is only 89 percent of the 1960 level. Per capita calorie intake is 20 percent below that of 1960. Every third person in Africa is chronically malnourished. The doubling time of Africa’s population is 28 years. Average desired family size in sub-Saharan Africa is five children per couple.

Just as population growth contributes to poverty, population stabilization has often contributed to rapid improvements in per capita economic conditions and overall quality of life. All of the countries that have moved from developing status to developed status since World War II, according to U.N. criteria, had brought their fertility rates down close to replacement level around the times their economies began to take off. These include South Korea, Japan, Taiwan,Province of China, Singapore, Barbados and The Bahamas.

Current World Population


Net Growth During Your Visit