As of midyear 2016, Ethiopia had a population of 102.4 million, annual population growth rate of 2.5%, and 41.6% of Ethiopia’s population was under age 15. Despite these challenges, Ethiopia is on the path to a population age structure that may enable it to experience a demographic dividend. The Total Fertility Rate, or the average number of children per woman over the course of her lifetime, has declined from 7.2 children in 1990 to 4.6 children per woman in 2015.

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

The broad bases of the “Ethiopia 1970” and “Ethiopia 1990” pyramids represent a large number of children in relation to the working age population. “Ethiopia 2010” shows a base that is beginning to narrow at the youngest ages, representing a fertility decline. “Ethiopia 2030” is the United Nations (UN) projection of Ethiopia’s population age structure if fertility continues to decline at a moderate rate. This pyramid assumes that by 2030, fertility will decline to an average of 3.0 children per woman over the course of her life. UN projections for Ethiopia’s population age structure in 2050 look significantly different than earlier population pyramids. “Ethiopia 2030” and “Ethiopia 2050” both show a proportionately larger working age population compared to the number of dependent children and elders, creating a window of opportunity for rapid economic growth.

Trend data shows that Ethiopia has made big strides on an issue that is important to achieving a demographic dividend: contraceptive prevalence use has increased dramatically in Ethiopia since 2000. In 2000, contraceptive prevalence among married women was 8 percent and, according to the 2014 mini-Demographic and Health Survey, it jumped to 42 percent by 2014. As a result, as we can see from population pyramids, fertility is declining and Ethiopia’s age structure is beginning to shift.

Working Towards a Demographic Dividend in Ethiopia

If Ethiopia continues to make 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, Ethiopia may be able to experience the rapid economic growth known as a demographic dividend. There are several organizations working on the topic of a demographic dividend in Ethiopia.

 

Sources

Population Reference Bureau, 2014 World Population Data Sheet, (Washington, DC: Population Reference Bureau, 2014).

United Nations Population Division, World Population Prospects: The 2012 Revision, (New York: United Nations, 2013).

World Bank Group. (2014) 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/