In this section you will;

  • Examine responses to high and low fertility

  • Explain dependency and ageing ratios.

  • Examine the impacts of youthful and ageing populations.

  • Evaluate examples of a pro-natalist policy and an anti-natalist policy.

Dependency Ratio’s




Task 1:

Look at the graphic above that shows Old Age Dependency Ratios.

A summary of this graphic contains the following phrase, “…..and not surprisingly, the G4 are in way worse shape than everyone else.”

Explain this comment using the information from the graphic above

global dependancy ratio.png

Youthful Populations: Blessing or Curse?

To what extent is a youthful population a blessing or a curse?

Ghana’s population explosion

gambia youthful population.jpg

As the world population hits 7 billion, John Vidal returns to the country of his birth to find the midwife who delivered him and to see how Ghana is dealing with a leap from 4 million to more than 25 million people

Somalia’s lost generation: why youth employment is key to stability

Somalia’s young population could be its greatest strength, but only if it tackles the sky-high unemployment and economic disenfranchisement. 


Task 2: 

Compare and contrast the demographic situation in Ethiopia and Somalia.  


by Lori S. Ashford

Africa’s young people will be the driving force behind economic prosperity in future decades, but only if policies and programs are in place to enhance their opportunities and encourage smaller families. A cycle of positive outcomes can result from having a larger, better-educated workforce with fewer children to support—children who will in turn be more educated and employable, provided that institutions are strengthened and viable economic policies are in place. This policy brief outlines the opportunities and risks that can result from the large numbers of youth growing up in sub-Saharan Africa today. The full paper can be found by opening the pdf below.


Case Study 1: Ethiopia

The Demographic Dividend: An Opportunity for Ethiopia’s Transformation

1) Read through the presentation above and answer the following questions

a) Define the term, “Demographic Dividend.”

b) Describe and explain what a country must do in order to benefit from its Demographic Dividend? Answer this question under using the following headings.
Population Structure


Ethiopia Development Data.PNG

2) Read the articles below on the progress that Ethiopia has made in benefiting from a Demographic Dividend. Make notes on the article under the same headings, Population Structure, Health, Education, Governance, Economy and complete the case study sheet.

Ethiopia’s Economic Dividend Summary.

Ethiopia: Make the Most of Demographic Dividend

Can Ethiopia be Africa’s leading manufacturing hub?

Harnessing the Demographic Dividend in Ethiopia

When reading the articles you should focus on the following questions.

  • What has improved in Ethiopia in order to make it possible for the country to benefit from a demographic dividend?

  • What challenges face the government of Ethiopia in order for the dividend to be fully expoited?

  • What must government do if they are to maximize the potential of their youthful population and how can this be done?

  • What role can developed countries and NGO’s play in this?

Youthful populations case study sheet.docx

Case Study 2: Bangladesh

Using the same structure as above you are now to investigate how a youthful population may benefit Bangladesh. What must happen for Bangladesh to benefit from a demographic dividend and what progress has been made. 


Reaping Demographic Dividend in Bangladesh: Challenges and Prospects

Demographic dividend : Reality and possibility for Bangladesh

Other problems of a youthful population.

“Festering resentment among a youthful population super-charged by social media is by now a familiar ingredient to mass protest movements around the world.” The Guardian

“The prevalence of unfair electoral systems plus huge numbers of angry young people with mobile phones should make African autocrats increasingly uncomfortable.” The Guardian

To what extent is a youthful population a blessing or a curse?

Case Study 3: Elderly Population: Switzerland

“What happens when there are many people who need care, but not enough caregivers? When many people draw money out of pension funds, but not enough pay into them? Swiss politicians are aware of the challenges, but do they have viable solutions?” (Jeannie Wurz, swissinfo.ch)


Swiss Pop Stats.PNG

Demographic Characteristics

Switzerland is very unique and diverse from other countries in its demographic characteristics. 15.6% of people in Switzerland are from ages 0 to 14, 68.1% of people are 15 to 64, and 16.3% of people are over 65 years of age. The average age overall is 41.3 but divided into males and females, the average age for men is 40.3 years whereas women is 42.4. Every year the total population increases by 0.223 percent, which comes from the fact that 9.56 babies are born per 1000 people while only 8.65 people die per 1000. The average life expectancy of people in Switzerland is 80.97 years, which is one of the highest in the entire world but males usually only live up to 78 years while females live up to 84 on average. (CIA 2010) The sex ratios for men and women are 1.05 males/female at birth, 1.05/1 at the ages of 15 or less, 1.04/1 from the ages of 15 to 64, 0.67/1 for people aged 65 or higher, and 0.98/1 overall. This shows how women dominate the elder portion of the age scale while men have a slighter higher population for the rest of the age groups. The fertility rate is that on average every woman has 1.45 children, slighter lower than what is needed to maintain a balanced population but immigrants help solve this problem. The literacy rate is over 99% meaning that almost everyone is able to read and write. Overall, Switzerland is a very balanced country, dominating in some areas but needing help in others as such with most striving nations. (US CIA fact book)

Ageing population poses challenges for Switzerland
Ageing workforce can play greater role
Ageing population keeps Swiss millennials up at night
Ageing population is financial time bomb

Task 3:

a) Make notes on the articles above using a similar template to the one you used in task 2.

b) Use the information you have collected to answer the exam style questions below. You may need to refer to other countries in your answers.

i) With reference to the population data for Switzerland, what considerations will need to be made in the provision of services and employment between 2014 and 2060? [6 Marks]

ii) Examine the impacts of an ageing population. [8 marks]

Does Switzerland’s ageing population have any connection to the countries ongoing debate over immigration?

Case Study 4: Eldery population in Japan. 

1) Read and make notes on this article about Japan’s ageing population.

Japan’s population continues to age as number of children hits new low

Proportion of over-65s reaches all-time high at a quarter of country’s 127 million people

iv) Read page 32 in Patterns and Change and then answer Q1 and 2.


v) Use the internet to research the ways in which the Japanese government is trying increase fertility and look after their elderly population? Comment on how successful they are being.

Japan eases immigration rules for workers

The information on Japan from greenfieldgeography is a good place to start your research. Scroll down to the information on Japan.


Population Policies:


France plans to pay cash for more babies

· Mothers may get €1,000 a month to have third child
· High birthrate fails to stop population shrinking

Germany’s birthrate is the lowest in Europe – and falling fast

After generous parental allowances fail to reverse the trend, experts call for a different approach

Do it for Denmark.PNG


Anti Natalist

cool geog banner.PNG

China’s One-Child Policy: Curse of the ‘Little Emperors’

Thirty-four years after the start of a radical experiment in population control, China is paying a high price.

China’s one-child policy means benefits for parents – if they follow the rules

Rule-abiding parents get preferential hospital treatment and extra land allowances – but the rich can afford to flout the rules

China faces ‘timebomb’ of ageing population

Life expectancy in China is increasing but the number of young adults is plummeting due to strict birth control policies

China’s one-child policy’s human cost fuels calls for reform

Thirty years after it was introduced, the ‘transitional policy’ endures despite warnings of its punitive effects on China’s development

China thinktank urges end of one-child policy

Foundation close to central leadership urges end to birth limits policy across China by 2015, with experts saying reform is ‘inevitable’


Task 4:

Exam Style Essay Questions:

“Government attempts to control population growth are ineffective.” Discuss this statement. [15 marks]

This link will take you to an outline answer. The answer is not complete and should be used as a guide on how to structure your answer. If you are to get top marks you will need to include lots of data and examples to illustrate the points you are making..

Essay writing tips can be found here.