According to UN estimates, the population of sub-Saharan Africa is set to double by 2050, which could add an additional one billion people to the world's population. Yet the new findings argue that the eventual figure could be even higher, challenging common misconceptions about the reasons for population change in Africa.
The research, from University of Bath demographer Dr Melanie Channon, suggests that a focus on contraception and access to family planning as a means to stem population growth, while important, fails to address significant cultural factors impacting the decisions of women across Africa. Whilst many believe that rising levels of economic prosperity and higher levels of education should equate with women automatically desiring fewer children the results from Africa are challenging this assumption. Across sub-Saharan Africa and in spite of rising prosperity and increasing education, many women still want large families.
Researchers - Reasons - Factors - Children - Status
The researchers suggest that the reasons for this are complex, however they point to factors such as children providing status and social security as potential reasons why women might still desire bigger families.
Published in the journal PLOS ONE, the research looked at the mismatch between the number of children women want and the number of children they actually have. The team used survey data from 58 low and middle income countries from Africa, Latin America and Asia to highlight how:
Countries - Africa - Woman - Children - Countries
There are no countries in Africa where woman want fewer than 2.5 children. In most countries women want more than 4 children.
Findings from Africa are at odds with results observed in Asia and South America where fertility and population growth are much lower, where access to contraception is generally better and where it is far more common for women to have more children than they want.
Average - Women - Africa - Education - Children
On average, women in Africa with no education want 2.4 more children than is the case...
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