African demography: Fertility treatment

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African demography


Birth rates are not falling in Africa as fast as they did in Asia. More contraception would help

THROUGHOUT most of the developing world, falling fertility has been a quiet, almost stealthy force improving people’s lives. Because it is easier to educate two children than five, lower fertility goes hand in hand with higher skills and increased earning power in the next generation. With fewer dependent children, countries experience several generations in which working-age adults make up a disproportionate share of the population. That makes possible a “demographic dividend” of higher growth and rising incomes.
But one part of the world is missing out on the dividend: the swathe of Africa that lies south of the Sahara and north of Namibia and Botswana. Although this belt is enjoying economic growth, countries within it are not seeing their fertility rates fall by as much as happened in East Asia and Latin America when those regions were at a similar level of …

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