As of midyear 2016, Senegal had a population of 15.4 million, annual population growth rate of 2.9%, and 43.1% of the population under age 15. The Total Fertility Rate, or the average number of children per woman over the course of her lifetime, had declined from 6.6 children in 1990 to 5.2 children per woman in 2015. The rate of modern contraceptive use (mCPR) in Senegal has risen steadily in recent years but is still very low. The 2015 Demographic Health Survey estimated that 23.3% of all women in reproductive years use a method of contraception and 21.2% use a modern method of contraception. The use of family planning is on the rise and Senegal is on the gradual path to a population age structure that may enable it to experience a demographic dividend.

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 Senegal’s population pyramids, gradual change to the age structure is evident beginning in “Senegal 2010”.

Senegal’s population pyramids, from 1970 to 2010, reveal only a slight narrowing at the base of the pyramid. Indeed, between 1970 and 2010, fertility did decline from 7.3 children per woman to 5.0 children per woman. Despite the slow reduction in fertility, Senegal’s population age structure hasn’t changed significantly in the last 40 years. Total fertility rates remain high and, in general, each working age adult supports several dependents. “Senegal 2030” shows a narrowing of the bottom of the pyramid, based on United Nations projections that assume a decline in total fertility to 3.9 children per woman over her lifespan. “Senegal 2050” shows a more significant narrowing of the base of the population pyramid, based on the assumption that fertility will decline further to 3.1 children per woman. In this 2050 scenario, Senegal would have a larger proportion of the population working-age and, if able to secure employment, able to contribute to economic growth.

Working Towards a Demographic Dividend in Senegal

If Senegal makes substantial investments in reproductive health and family planning, then fertility levels may begin to decline more significantly, 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, Senegal may be able to experience the rapid economic growth known as a demographic dividend. There is some ongoing work on the topic of a demographic dividend in Senegal.

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: Barro, Robert and Jong-Wha Lee, April 2010, "A New Data Set of Educational Attainment in the World, 1950-2010." Journal of Development Economics, vol 104, pp.184-198. Retrieved 4/10/2015 from www.barrolee.com

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/