Discuss the causes of high rates of population growth

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After growing very slowly for most of human history, the world's population more than doubled in the last half century, crossing the six billion mark in late 1999. Furthermore, world population is still increasing by about 78 million people a year, despite the trend worldwide towards smaller families. Total population size is likely to continue to grow for at least the next 40 years and by at least another 1.5 billion people. Almost all of this growth is occurring in the developing regions, while most industrialised countries are growing very slowly or not at all, and in some countries the population size is even declining. However, these developed countries make up just one fifth of the world's population and consequently have little…show more content…
In developing countries such as Malawi in South Africa, agriculture is still heavily relied on, especially at subsistence level. This means that women do not have their own careers and traditionally their role is to bear and raise children, so they do not postpone having children in order to concentrate on their career, thus increasing birth rates. The strong dependence on agriculture also means that a large labour force is required so people have more children in order to support themselves. This results in high birth rates of 56.3 per 1000, much higher than replacement levels, meaning that the rate of population increase is also high at 35.7 per 1000 per annum. Countries such as this, including Jordan and Pakistan, which have annual rates of increase at around 3% are likely to see their population size double by 2025.

The need for so many children to work to support a family at subsistence level means that a large proportion of the population is at the age where they should be in education, with 74% of Malawi's population being below the age of 29. Not only is there not enough facilities to support this amount of students, but many children are required to keep working to support their families, especially as bad weather and natural disasters such as cyclones and floods have devastated harvests, resulting in terrible food shortages. For these reasons, just 3.4% of the population has received secondary and higher education, meaning that there are very
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