Where Are the Demographic Dividends in Sub-Saharan Africa?

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This paper reviews the concept of the demographic dividend and the empirical evidence therefor. The demographic dividend is mainly the result of fertility decline (lower number of births, lower population growth) which translates into a population age structure with a larger work force (age 15–64) and a smaller proportion of children (age 0–14), together with initially few elderly persons (age 65+). In turn, this favors economic growth, but it also has many consequences for households and for state budgets, as well as long-term consequences for population size and the environment. The first part of this paper shows the small correlations at the national macro-economic level between dependency ratios and economic growth. The second part shows the strong correlations at the household level between levels of fertility, child mortality and modern education. The third part discusses the many other correlates of the demographic dividend. The often-cited and controversial focus of the demographic dividend on economic growth hides many other positive effects of fertility control on households, on state budgets, and, in the long-run, on societies and the environment.
fertility control; demographic dividend; economic growth; population growth; household wealth; health; education; state budget; environment