By midyear 2016, Benin had a population of 10.9 million, annual population growth rate of 2.8%, and 43.0% of Benin’s population was under age 15. The Total Fertility Rate, or the average number of children per woman over the course of her lifetime, has declined from 6.7 children in 1990 to 4.9 children per woman in 2015. To increase the likelihood of a demographic dividend in Benin, health and education progress must be accelerated and strong investments made in family planning, reproductive health, and girls’ education.

Population pyramids can be used to show change in population age structure over time. Here we can see that Benin’s age structure is beginning to slowly transition to older ages.

The broad pyramid bases in “Benin 1970”, “Benin 1990”, and “Benin 2010” represent a large number of children in relation to the working age population. Fertility rates are declining gradually in Benin and remain high. “Benin 2030” is the United Nations projection of Benin’s population age structure if fertility continues to decline gradually.  “Benin 2030” shows a base that is beginning to narrow slightly at the youngest ages, meaning that the working age population is growing in relation to the young dependent age proportion of the population.  This pyramid assumes that by 2030, fertility will decline to an average of 3.7 children per woman over the course of her lifetime. By 2050, the projected changes to age structure are more noticeable. “Benin 2050” shows a larger working age population than currently exists compared to the number of dependent children and elders. Based on current UN projections, Benin’s fertility rates won’t drop to replacement levels until 2090.

Working Towards a Demographic Dividend in Benin

If Benin makes substantial investments in reproductive health and family planning, fertility levels may continue to decline, and children will be more likely to achieve better basic levels of health. With additional investments in health and education and economic initiatives to facilitate job creation, Benin may be able to experience the rapid economic growth known as a demographic dividend.  Work on the topic of a demographic dividend in Benin includes:

  • UNFPA representative Dr. Ouédraogo completed a helpful powerpoint presentation on sustainable development and population dynamics in Benin.
  • A comprehensive analytical report on the demographic dividend in Benin was commissioned by l’Agence Française de Développement and completed by Dr. Guengant and colleagues.

Population Reference Bureau, 2015 World Population Data Sheet, (Washington, DC: Population Reference Bureau, 2015).

United Nations, Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Population Division (2015). World Population Prospects: The 2015 Revision, (New York: United Nations, 2015) custom data acquired via website

World Bank Group. (2016) World DataBank. Retrieved from http://databank.worldbank.org/data/home.aspx

Education statistics were taken from the most recent Demographic and Health Survey for each country.

World Bank Group. (2014) Worldwide Governance Indicators. Retrieved from http://info.worldbank.org/governance/wgi/index.aspx#home

World Economic Forum, Global Competitiveness Report 2014-2015, (Geneva: Switzerland, 2014).

Definitions

Gini index measures the extent to which the distribution of income or consumption expenditure among individuals or households within an economy deviates from a perfectly equal distribution. Thus a Gini index of 0 represents perfect equality, while an index of 100 implies perfect inequality.

Dependency ratio is the ratio of dependents--people younger than 15 or older than 64--to the working-age population--those ages 15 to 64. Although each country’s experience is different, countries that have realized a demographic dividend typically have a dependency ratio of less than 50 dependents for every 100 working-age adults.

Worldwide Governance Indicators are measured on a scale from -2.5 to +2.5. The closer to 2.5 the rating is, the stronger the governance. Government Effectiveness is a composite governance indicator with data from multiple sources. Political stability and Absence of Violence/Terrorism is a composite governance indicator with data from multiple sources More information on methodology available at: http://info.worldbank.org/governance/wgi/index.aspx#home

Global Competitiveness Index defines competitiveness as the set of institutions, policies and factors that determine the level of productivity of a country. The level of productivity, in turn, sets the level of prosperity that can be earned by an economy. The different aspects of competitiveness are captured in 12 pillars, ranging from institutional strength to market size. http://reports.weforum.org/global-competitiveness-report-2014-2015/