Mixed Demographic Signals Flashing for East and Southern Africa

June 12, 2012 • Family Planning, Reproductive Health, Ethiopia, Rwanda, News

The following essay came our way from the New Security Beat, the terrific blog of the Wilson Center’s Environmental Change and Security Program. It details divergent trends in sub-Sarahan Africa related to fertility, contraceptive use, etc. It is superbly written. See: http://www.newsecuritybeat.org/2012/05/new-surveys-generate-mixed-demographic.html

New Surveys Generate Mixed Demographic Signals for East and Southern Africa
Elizabeth Leahy Madsen for the Wilson Center

Posted by ECSP Staff // Tuesday, May 08, 2012

The pace of fertility decline in sub-Saharan Africa will be the single most important factor in whether the global population reaches the UN’s high projection of nearly 11 billion in 2050, or remains closer to the low projection of 8 billion. In recent years, the high projection has seemed more likely, as sub-Saharan Africa has been marked by stalled fertility declines and stagnant rates of contraceptive use. Survey results released over the past year showing dramatic increases in contraceptive use in Ethiopia, Malawi, and Rwanda therefore set demographers and the family planning community abuzz, signaling that concerted efforts to improve health services had paid off and fertility rates were on the decline. But in recent months, additional surveys from Mozambique, Uganda, and Zimbabwe have shown that those positive trends are not universal.

A Trio of Emerging Success Stories

For many countries in sub-Saharan Africa, rapidly growing populations concentrated among youthful ages are outpacing improvements in quality of life and testing governments’ capacities to provide basic health services, education, and jobs. For the region as a whole, the contraceptive prevalence rate (CPR) for modern methods increased by just 0.3 percentage points per year between 2000 and 2009, following similarly sluggish annual increases in the previous two decades.

At this growth rate, more than a century would pass before sub-Saharan Africa, which had an average CPR of less than 16 percent in 2009, achieves the same levels of contraceptive use seen today in North Africa.

To read the full article, please click here: http://www.newsecuritybeat.org/2012/05/new-surveys-generate-mixed-demographic.html

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