Demographic characteristics: Africa, Asia and Europe

The population reference bureau defines aging as the proportion of a population that is 65 years and above. Europe is home to the oldest of the world population and is expected to continue that way for a good part of the 21st century. On the other hand, the African and Asian populations are projected to remain relatively young. The demographic driver for this trend is the difference in fertility rates between the different regions. Generally, Europeans prefer having one child or two at most.

In Africa, the number of births per woman is estimated at five children or more while in Asia, the fertility rate is restricted between two and three children (PRB, 4).GenderWomen generally outlive the men. The life expectancy of men and women in all three regions is very different. In Africa, that of men is 53 years while that of women is 55 years.

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In Asia it is 68 for men and 71 for women and in Europe, it is 72 for men and 79 for women. In major regions such as Europe, a woman’s risk of dying from maternal causes was estimated at one in 9800 women. Ironically, that of Asia was estimated at one in 120 women while Africa’s probability was one in 26 women (PRB,11-14).

The differences in maternal mortality in these countries can be attributed to limited access to healthcare especially during pregnancy and childbirth (PRB, 3).Income levelThere are notable income disparities among these three regions. The Gross National Income per capita is estimated at 2430 US dollars for the African region.

In Asia, there is a significant increase with the gross national income per capita being estimated at 5650 US dollars. In Europe, this figure increase even further and is estimated at 24,320 US dollars. Thus the Europeans can be considered to be relatively much better off than people living in Asia and Africa since they have higher purchasing power (PPP) (PRB, 11-14). THE ISSUE OF AGE, GENDER AND INCOME IN THE AFRICAN REGIONAfrica has definitely accounted for very low levels of income. However, Africa has a higher mortality rate which puts women at risk.

Also the high fertility rate explains the steady population growth. However, this trend varies across regions (PRB, 11-14).Income:The Northern Africa region is relatively well off compared to the other regions. The gross national income (PPP) per capita is estimated at 2,430 US dollars while that of western Africa is 1,480 US dollars. Eastern Africa records the lowest per capita income at 940 US dollars. The income disparities among regions can be explained by the differences in development levels (PRB, 11-14).

Age:The population in Africa region is quite young. In Northern Africa, an estimated 33% of the population is below the age of 15 while only 5% is 65 years and above. In Western Africa, the population is even younger with 44% of the population being below the age of 15 and only 3% at the age of 65 and above. Eastern Africa has the same demographic trend as Western Africa with 44% of its population below 15 years and 3% above the age of 65 (PRB, 11-14).Gender:In Africa, the women still continue to outlive the men. The life expectancy at birth for males is estimated at 67 while that of women is 71. In western Africa, the life expectancy is reduced compared to Northern Africa with that of males being estimated at 50 while that of women is estimated at 52.

Eastern Africa has the lowest life expectancy with that of males being estimated at 48 and that of women being estimated at 50 (PRB, 11-14).

Author: Josefina Poole


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