PMC began working in Zambia in 2018. It has a population of over 17 million and is one of the fastest growing countries in the world. The present annual population growth rate is 2.93 percent—if left unchanged, the population will double by the year 2050.
Zambia is a country in Southern Africa and is approximately the size of Texas. Zambia’s rapidly expanding population faces many challenges, with its women and youth bearing a disproportionate burden. Poverty, malnutrition, malaria, and illiteracy afflict a large proportion of Zambia’s population. The country ranks 139th on the UNDP Gender Inequality Index.
Zambia’s population consists primarily of Bantu-speaking people and represents 70 different ethnicities. More than half the country is unable to afford minimum basic human needs, with over 60 percent of the population living below the poverty line. The country’s fertility rate has fallen by 1.5 children per woman in the past 30 years, yet it remains one of the highest rates of fertility in the world because of its lack of education for girls, employment for women, and family planning services. Zambia’s current fertility rate is ranked 5th in the world at 5.63 children per woman.
There is a high youth population with more than half the population under 18, high rates of teenage pregnancy at almost one third, and high rates of early marriage in which more than one third of women are married before turning 18. Early motherhood and early marriage contribute significantly, among other factors, to low rates of education for women with only 15.9 percent of women aged 20-24 having completed secondary school. The level of fertility is inversely related to women’s educational attainment, decreasing rapidly from 7.2 births among women with no education to 3.0 births among women with more than secondary education. 1.2 million Zambians are living with HIV/AIDS, ranking 7th in the world with the country’s prevalence rate at 12.4 percent.