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African population on fast track to double in next 40 years

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
September 13th, 2013
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

While it remains stubbornly yoked by poverty, war and famine the continent of Africa's population is slowly but surely raising the quality of life to its general population. Experts say that Africa's population will double to more than 2.4 billion over the next few decades due to improved health care and medicines.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Sub-Saharan Africa, which remains the world's poorest region will record the largest amount of population growth of any area in the world between now and 2050.

This figure is courtesy of the Population Reference Bureau. The sudden baby boom could put an enormous strain on resources and fledgling economies in some of the world's most deprived areas, the bureau warns.

The projected growth in population assumes that family planning will become more widespread in regions where, for religious or cultural reasons, contraception has not been widely adopted. Due to these cultural and social norms in the region, countries worldwide with the highest fertility remain in sub-Saharan Africa. Women in sub-Saharan Africa average 5.2 children, a rate that can go as high as 7.6 in Niger.

The good news is that improved access to medicine and health care mean millions more of these children will now survive to adulthood.

"Nearly all of that growth will be in the 51 countries of sub-Saharan Africa, the region's poorest," Wendy Baldwin, the organization's president and CEO says. "Rapid population growth makes it difficult for economies to create enough jobs to lift large numbers of people out of poverty."

The region's population is also very young. Forty-three percent of the population is younger than 15 years of age.

"Given its youthful population, future population growth in Africa will depend upon the degree to which the parents of tomorrow use family planning," Carl Haub, senior demographer and co-author of the data sheet says.

"The projections that we cite assume that family planning will become more widespread. If not, Africa's population will grow more rapidly, further constraining efforts to address poverty, create jobs, and protect the environment."

Developing countries tend to have wide income gaps between rich and poor that are associated with dramatic differences in fertility and health.

Women in Uganda, from the poorest fifth of families have twice as many children as those from the wealthiest fifth. Children from the poorest families are much more likely to die before turning five years old than their counterparts in the wealthiest families.

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Article brought to you by: Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)