Kenya’s Birth Rate is Declining but it Will Stifle Economic Development

By Korir Isaac / September 26, 2018



economic mobility

Kenya, according to the UN’s World Population Prospects records between 4,000 and 4,800 births per day, which at the end of the year will put the population growth rate at an estimated 2.52 percent. Although the estimated birth rate is gradually falling, is the country producing enough to sustain the growing population?

In 2017, the number of children born per woman dropped to an average of 3.9, the lowest in East Africa where Burundi had the highest average standing at 5.5, followed by Uganda with 5.4, Tanzania 5.2, Ethiopia 4.6, and Rwanda 4.3.

The figure shows how fertility rates in Kenya have dropped from the recorded 8.1 in 1978 to 3.9. One of the reasons is increasing literacy rates, changes in lifestyle and the majority of the population moving to urban centers.

However, with approximately 4,772 births a day and an estimated population of 51 million, the fertility rate in women is still higher than the global average of 2.5 children.

Notably, Africa has the highest number of birth rates than anywhere in the world. In 1990, 16 percent of the world’s births came from Sub-Sahara Africa. With the rising trend, the birth rate proportion has hit 27 percent and is expected to increase 10 percent more by the year 2050.

The projections of where the population growth is heading in Kenya, and Africa as a whole, is a cause for everyone to worry about the baby boom.

Ironically, the danger wouldn’t be that Kenya or Africa will run out of food, no. The continent has a vast farmland, which is fertile and enough to sustain the economy but the issue is that Africa isn’t productive enough as is evidenced by its importation of net foods.

Many babies stifle economic development, that much is true. Majority of the population is living below the poverty line, which will make it difficult for families to cater for food provision, education, medical care not to mention women having to stay home as full-time mothers.

This is the real problem that awaits Kenya and other African countries. With difficulty in economic development, it will be difficult for Kenyans to lift themselves out of poverty. Picture this, globally, the dependency ratio, that is, the share of people of 20 years and below or those older than 64 taken care of by the working population is 74:100. In Sub-Saharan Africa, the dependency ratio is a whopping 129:100!

In Kenya, as of 2016, the dependency ratio was 77.05:100, which might be considered low by others but considering the current economic situations and the alarming level of unemployment, this could sure take a toll on the country.

The number of extreme poor persons is somehow rising and conspicuously, Kenya is struggling to build enough schools, provide enough medical facilities for mothers and their babies, among other issues.

When people move from rural areas to urban regions, they find the cost of bringing up several children a burden. Therefore, the fertility rates are high in rural areas. Now, the trouble is that reduction in the number of births per woman is happening slowly in Kenya and by the time it gets sustainable, there will already be too many mouths to feed.

Mass sterilization shouldn’t be a resort as it will worsen the mortality rate from selective abortions and whatnot. Sensitization and government drive to increase varied birth control to poor rural areas are some of the examples that can be used to salvage the situation.

High birth rates can also be handled indirectly, by concentrating on the things that are known to affect it, most importantly education for girls. Better access to education has so many benefits and managing how one conceives is among them.



About Korir Isaac

A creative, tenacious, and passionate journalist with impeccable ethics and a nose for anticipated and spontaneous news. He may not say it, but he sure can make one hell of a story.

View other posts by Korir Isaac


More Articles From This Author








Other Related Articles










SOKO DIRECTORY & FINANCIAL GUIDE

ARCHIVES

2019
  • January 2019 (256)
  • February 2019 (139)
  • 2018
  • January 2018 (291)
  • February 2018 (220)
  • March 2018 (279)
  • April 2018 (226)
  • May 2018 (240)
  • June 2018 (178)
  • July 2018 (257)
  • August 2018 (250)
  • September 2018 (256)
  • October 2018 (287)
  • November 2018 (286)
  • December 2018 (187)
  • 2017
  • January 2017 (183)
  • February 2017 (195)
  • March 2017 (207)
  • April 2017 (104)
  • May 2017 (169)
  • June 2017 (206)
  • July 2017 (190)
  • August 2017 (196)
  • September 2017 (186)
  • October 2017 (235)
  • November 2017 (253)
  • December 2017 (266)
  • 2016
  • January 2016 (167)
  • February 2016 (165)
  • March 2016 (190)
  • April 2016 (143)
  • May 2016 (246)
  • June 2016 (183)
  • July 2016 (271)
  • August 2016 (250)
  • September 2016 (234)
  • October 2016 (191)
  • November 2016 (243)
  • December 2016 (153)
  • 2015
  • January 2015 (1)
  • February 2015 (4)
  • March 2015 (166)
  • April 2015 (109)
  • May 2015 (117)
  • June 2015 (121)
  • July 2015 (150)
  • August 2015 (157)
  • September 2015 (189)
  • October 2015 (171)
  • November 2015 (174)
  • December 2015 (208)
  • 2014
  • March 2014 (2)
  • 2013
  • March 2013 (10)
  • June 2013 (1)
  • 2012
  • March 2012 (7)
  • April 2012 (15)
  • May 2012 (1)
  • July 2012 (1)
  • August 2012 (4)
  • October 2012 (2)
  • November 2012 (2)
  • December 2012 (1)
  • 2011
    2010
    2009
    2008
    2007
    2006
    2005
    2004
    2003
    2002
    2001
    2000
    1999
    1998
    1997
    1996
    1995
    1994
    1993
    1992
    1991
    1990
    1989
    1988
    1987
    1986
    1985
    1984
    1983
    1982
    1981
    1980
    1979
    1978
    1977
    1976
    1975
    1974
    1973
    1972
    1971
    1970
    1969
    1968
    1967
    1966
    1965
    1964
    1963
    1962
    1961
    1960
    1959
    1958
    1957
    1956
    1955
    1954
    1953
    1952
    1951
    1950