As of 2016, the Republic of Niger had a population of 20.7 million, annual population growth rate of 4.0%, and more than 50.2% of people in Niger are under the age of 15. In December 2016, the Performance Monitoring and Accountability(PMA) 2020 estimated that 21.7% of women use contraceptives to space or limit births and 20.8% use a modern method. The Total Fertility Rate, or the average number of children per woman over the course of her lifetime, has slightly increased from 7.5 children in 1990 to 7.6 children per woman in 2014, and remains one of the highest in the world. It is critical that Niger prioritizes reducing fertility rates if it is to experience wide-scale development.

Population pyramids can be used to show change to age structure over time as well as projected changes to age structure in the future. Looking at Niger’s population pyramids, no remarkable change to age structure is anticipated until between 2030 and 2050.

The broad bases of the pyramids “Niger 1970”, “Niger 1990”, “Niger 2010”, represent a large number of children in relation to the working age population. Indeed, total fertility in Niger has remained high over the last four decades. Fertility actually slightly rose from 1970 when the average woman had 7.3 children over the course of her life to 7.7 children per woman in 1990. By 2010, total fertility rates dropped mildly to 7.6 children per woman and remained around that number since then. “Niger 2030” is the United Nations projection of Niger population age structure if fertility declines at a moderate rate. This pyramid assumes that by 2030, fertility will decline to an average of 6.7 children per woman over the course of her lifetime, which will require significant commitment on the part of Niger government and civil society. In “Niger 2050,” projections show the base of the population pyramid narrowing, representing a lower fertility rate estimated at 4.9 children per woman and the age structure of the population beginning to change.

Working Towards a Demographic Dividend in Niger

If Niger makes substantial investments in reproductive health, family planning, and girls’ education, a fertility decline will likely occur, 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, Niger may be able to experience the rapid economic growth known as a demographic dividend. However, this will need substantial efforts and investment because the population of Niger between 0-14 years of age will remain close to half of the population for the next few decades. Among these efforts, the role of regional networks and collaborations will contribute in addressing challenges that are unique to the Sahel region.

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

United Nations Population Division, World Population Prospects: The 2015 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).

STATcompiler of Demographic Health Survey Program

International Monetary Fund reports for Niger

Performance Monitoring and accountability PMA2020

World Health Organization-Adolescent contraceptive use brief

United Nations Population Fund-Sahel Women's Empowerment and Demographic Dividend Project

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/