News / Africa

Africa to Record Largest Population Growth Over Next 40 Years

A woman poses for a  photograph with her children in front of house in the slum of Makoko in Lagos, Nigeria, January 22, 2013
A woman poses for a photograph with her children in front of house in the slum of Makoko in Lagos, Nigeria, January 22, 2013
Jennifer Lazuta
A new report predicts that sub-Saharan Africa will record the world's largest population growth between now and 2050.  According to the Population Reference Bureau, the world's poorest region will more than double in population, from 1.1 billion to 2.4 billion. 
 
By the year 2050, the report states Africa's population is likely to grow by a staggering 1.3 billion people -- the largest growth of any region in the world, including Asia, which currently has about 60 percent of people on the planet.

Sub-Saharan Africa, where fertility rates are among the highest in the world, will account for the majority of the increase.  In sub-Saharan Africa, the population is expected to grow from 926 million people to nearly 2.2 billion people.

Africa's population explosion has the potential to zoom past current estimates, said Carl Haub, a senior demographer at the Population Reference Bureau, a Washington-based non-profit group. 
 
“Sub-Saharan Africa has, without a doubt, the greatest population growth potential of any region," said Haub.  "The projection today is that it will increase by about two and a half times.  But the important thing to remember is that even that projection assumes that the birth ate in sub-Saharan Africa will decrease.  And in many of those countries today, it [has] not.”
 
People crowd a street in a market in Lagos, which is expected to overtake Cairo soon as Africa's largest city.People crowd a street in a market in Lagos, which is expected to overtake Cairo soon as Africa's largest city.
x
People crowd a street in a market in Lagos, which is expected to overtake Cairo soon as Africa's largest city.
People crowd a street in a market in Lagos, which is expected to overtake Cairo soon as Africa's largest city.
The Population Reference Bureau report shows that women in sub-Saharan Africa currently average 5.2 children during their lifetime, compared to averages of 1.6 in Europe and 1.9 in North America.
 
In some African countries, such as Niger, the birth rate is as high as 7.6 children per woman.  And even the assumption that this rate will decline steadily over the coming decades, the population of Niger is still expected to nearly quadruple by 2050, according to Haub.
 
In the past, population growth in many African countries was slowed by high rates of HIV/AIDS and infant mortality.  But recent improvements in access to health care across the continent mean that people are living longer.

While this is a good thing, African countries must now actively work to reduce their fertility rates in order to keep future population growth in check, said Haub.
 
“One of the main things is to include family planning services with maternal health.  And inform couples about the different methods and what they can do to either reduce the number of children or to space births out," he said.  "It’s much healthier for a woman to have at least two years between the births. And that’s had some success in a few countries.  I think it’s fair to say that in many of the other countries, the willingness to do that is really not there.”
 
Haub added that if African populations do grow at projected rates - or even faster - it could lead to many problems, including higher rates of poverty and unemployment, and environmental degradation.  That trend might also affect foreign aid from donors, many of whose budgets are already strained by growing numbers of people who need assistance.

You May Like

Karzai's Legacy: Missed Opportunities?

Afghanistan's president leaves behind a much different nation than the one he inherited, yet his legacy from 13 years in power is getting mixed reviews More

Video Secret Service Chief Under Fire for White House Security Breach

Julia Pierson faces tough questions from lawmakers after recent intrusion at White House, says: 'It is clear that our security plan was not executed properly' More

Frustrated, Liberian Students Want Ebola Fight Role

Thousands have volunteered to go to counties, rural villages to talk to people in their language about deadly virus More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Feris Hrof
October 09, 2013 7:50 AM
I read somewhere that "The average woman in Somalia gives birth to 6 children". Africa is not and never was place for such birthrate where nature and way of life dictated demographics. People there were perfectly adapted to their ancient, and I am convinced happier way off life.

European colonization distracted social structure by implanting alien urban environment not suitable for archaic tribal society. From self-dependent culture they became twisted copy of foreign never fully adopted way of life.

In these countries there is never enough money for food, medicines and other necessities, but always enough for all kind of munitions. If they have money to by weapons and ammo, they could at least by some condoms too. If we are responsible for our children let them be responsible for their or... Also advertising starving children and at same time tolerating massive loosed armed gangs is pure hypocrisy.

I can hardly find sympathy for those people, because abundance of their, from outside supported children, will one they become same irresponsible "fathers", "mothers" and gang fighters.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihadi
X
Mahi Ramakrishnan
September 30, 2014 2:16 PM
Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Iran's Rouhani Skeptical on Syria Strikes

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani expressed skepticism Friday that U.S.-led airstrikes in Iraq and Syria could crush Islamic State militants. From New York, VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports the president was also hopeful that questions about Iran’s nuclear program could be resolved soon.
Video

Video US House Speaker: Congress Should Debate Authorization Against IS

As wave after wave of U.S. airstrikes target Islamic State militants, the speaker of the Republican-controlled House of Representatives says he would be willing to call Congress back into session to debate a formal, broad authorization for the use of military force. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports from Washington, where legislators left town 10 days ago for a seven-week recess.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Video

Video Ebola Robs Liberians of Chance to Say Good-Bye to Loved Ones

In Liberia, where Ebola has killed more than 1,500 people, authorities have worked hard to convince people to allow specialized burial teams to take away dead bodies. But these safety measures, while necessary, make it hard for people to say good bye to their loved ones. VOA's Anne Look reports on the tragedy from Liberia.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid