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The Impacts of a Youthful Population

Examine the Impacts of a Youthful Population Geologists estimate that the earth existed 4,600,000,000 years ago, yet in the last 200 years the population has grown from one billion to seven billion people. This rapid growth is unsustainable, as the earth only has so much food, water, and non-renewable resources. This theory can be illustrated much clearer at a smaller scale, such as within a country.

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Youthful populations are said to form when there is an increasingly high birth rate, with a slowly decreasing death rate and minimal increases in life expectancy.

How high birthrates are depend on a variety of social, economic, political or demographic factors. In Gambia, a very small, Muslim country in Africa, on average each woman has 7 children in a lifetime. This statistic relies mainly on social, demographic and economic factors. Social because Islam opposes contraception, economic because children are seen as an economic asset to families as the more children they have the more potential there is to make money, run the family business and take care of the parents in old age.

Lastly the demographic factor is that many parents have more children to compensate for the percentage that they know will die at an early age as Gambia’s infant mortality rate is 73 per 1000. When a country has a large number of people under the age of sixteen it is said to have a youthful population, and when it has a large number of people over the age of sixty-four it is said to have an ageing population. Both of these can cause problems and benefits for a country.

The impacts of a youthful population will be discussed in this essay. Although one may not think so at first, there are advantages to having a youthful population. In a few years, this mass of people will provide as a cheap workforce for the country. Not only will the country have many workers for less money, it will also attract international companies to invest in the area which would in turn help the country develop into one of the latter stages on the DTM through economic growth. There are of course substantial disadvantages too.

The dependency ratio in countries with a large youthful population is high. Too many young people exhaust food and water supplies, especially if it is a LEDC. Public health and education services may become overpopulated and leave children without an education. This could cause young people to emigrate because of the lack in opportunities. The government does not want this, so they would increase taxes, robbing the economically active of their income, so that the government can invest to improve their nation.

This takes many years and by then many may have already emigrated, and the country will have a lower standard of life because the population has no money left and all the young people who are now economically active has left the country searching for better jobs and opportunities. A solution to these problems is family planning. Like in China where they introduced the One Child Policy in 1978, the government can put a restriction on the amount of children a mother is allowed to bear. Birth rates will decrease and the population will even out. Another solution would be for the country to industrialize.

That would satisfy the demand for jobs and develop the country. Sadly, the solutions to the initial problems have problems too. Some families may not agree with the new laws as they see children as economical assets, like in Gambia as they can be used to work for the family business. As well as this, this can disrupt cultural traditions as it did in China, where the tradition was that when the parents become old, they are taken care of by their children, and now since they may only have one child many sought refuge in homes or just stayed home and to take care of themselves.