Countries With Poor Medical Care Have Higher Population Growth

By Mats O. Ingemanson


Copyright 1999 by M. O. Ingemanson / all rights reserved



ABSTRACT

Countries with good medical care and high literacy rates have lower population growth. Statistics show that countries that improved their medical care and education in the last 30 years also dramatically, reduced their population growth. Statistics also show that promoting contraceptives and abortions has not influenced the rate of population growth.

Statistics show that if people are educated and healthy, they automatically reduce the size of their families. It looks like families with high mortality rates among their children make conscious decisions to have more children because it is difficult to predict how many will survive childhood.

It is assumed in this study that high mortality rates for children under the ages of five and low life expectancy rates are indicators of poor standards in medical care.

This study used statistics in Table 2 from 10 countries with very high population growth -3.88% per year (Group 1) and 10 countries with very low population growth - 0.19% per year (Group 2).

Group 1 has 26.06 times higher mortality rate for children under five than Group 2. Group 1 has 24.1 years lower life expectancy than Group 2. Group 1 has 60.9 percent lower literacy rates than Group 2.

The World Population has been growing at a very fast rate. In year 1800 the World Population was 978 million, by year 1900 it was 1,650 million. By year 2000 the World Population is projected to be 6,073 million and by year 2050 it is projected to reach 9,298 million (Table 1). The projected World Population Growth is expected to put great strain on the world's limited resources, so there is widespread interest to develop programs that can reduce future population growth.

Since I started to speak publicly about improving medical care in countries with high population growth, some people asked me if it was a good idea, because the population would then grow even faster. This question disturbed me so much, that I decided to do this study.

The purpose of the study is to see how the mortality rates for children under the ages of five, the life expectancy rates and the literacy rates differs between countries with very high population growth (Group 1) and countries with very low population growth (Group 2).


MATERIALS AND METHODS

The following statistics was used:

  1. World Population Growth in Major Areas - United States Census Bureau
  2. Population Growth Rates - United States Census International Program Center
  3. Mortality Rates for ages under five - UNICEF
  4. Life Expectancy at Birth - United States Census International Program Center
  5. Literacy Rates - UNESCO

A representative group of 10 countries with very high population growth (Group 1) and a representative group of 10 countries with very low population growth were selected for this study (Group 2).

A spreadsheet (Table 2) was developed with information from the selected 20 countries regarding Population Growth Rate, Mortality Rate for ages under five, Life Expectancy and Literacy Rate. The averages were calculated for each of the two groups.


RESULTS

  1. Group 1 has 20.42 times higher population growth than Group 2. The average for Group 1 is 3.88 percent per year, while the average for Group 2 is 0.19 percent per year.
  2. Group 1 has 26.06 times higher mortality rate for children under the ages of five with an average mortality rate of 179.8 deaths per 1000 live births, while average mortality rate for Group 2 is 6.9 deaths per 1000 live births.
  3. Group 1 has 24.1 years lower life expectancy with an average life expectancy of 53.0 years, while the life expectancy for Group 2 is 77.1 years.
  4. Group 1 has 60.9 percent lower literacy rate at 36.0 percent, while the average literacy rate for Group 2 is 96.9 percent.


DISCUSSION

The statistics show the following:

  1. Countries with poor medical care and low literacy rates have higher population growth.
  2. Countries with good medical care and high literacy rates have lower population growth.
  3. Countries, who improved their medical care and education in the last 30 years also dramatically, reduced their population growth.
  4. Promoting contraceptives and abortions does not seem to have a substantial influence on the rate of population growth.
  5. If the people are educated and healthy, they automatically reduce the size of their families.

It is possible that families with very high mortality rates among their children make conscious decisions to have more children because it is difficult for them to predict how many will survive childhood.

Afghanistan has a population growth of 4.21% per year; one child out of four dies before the age of five, life expectancy is 46.6 years and the literacy rate is 31.5%. Afghanistan's population is expected to grow 3 times by year 2050 from 25 million to 75 million.

Cuba, another developing country, has a population growth of only 0.43% per year; only 8 children out of 1000 die before the age of five, life expectancy is 75.6 years and the literacy rate is 95.7%.

Even though both Cuba and Afghanistan both have developing country status, Cuba has good medical care and good education, while Afghanistan has poor medical care and poor education. Cuba has much lower population growth than Afghanistan.

Italy shows negative population growth of  -0.08% per year; only 6 children out of 1000 die before the age of five, life expectancy is 78.4 years and the literacy rate is 98.1%.

We often think of Italian families as having many children, but that was in the sixties. Italy now has negative population growth. Italy has in the last 30 years had a dramatic reduction in population growth. Good medical care and education are the main reasons. France, Spain, Portugal and Ireland are also following the same path as Italy.

This result is of great significance, because there is little or no political or religious resistance to improving medical care and education, while there is substantial political and religious resistance to promoting contraceptives and abortions. A program that does not promote contraceptives and abortions is therefore more likely to receive widespread economic and political support.

Improving medical care and education is not a short-term project. Unfortunately, there are no short-term solutions to reducing population growth. It is going to take at least 30-years, but if we do not start now, the solution will take even longer.

This study assumes that high mortality rates for children under the ages of five and low life expectancy are indicators of poor medical care.


LITERATURE CITED

  1. World Population Growth in Major Areas by the United States Census Bureau
  2. Population Growth Rates by the United States Census International Program Center
  3. Mortality Rates for ages under five by UNICEF
  4. Life Expectancy at Birth by the United States Census International Program Center
  5. Literacy Rates by UNESCO


Click here to see table 1 and table 2