As of midyear 2016, Uganda has a current population of 41.5 million, annual population growth rate of 3.3%, and 48.2% of Uganda’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 7.1 children in 1990 to 5.9 children per woman in 2015. Despite these challenges, political commitment to family planning in Uganda has recently grown stronger and Uganda is on the 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 Uganda’s population pyramids, not much change to age structure is evident until “Uganda 2030”.

Uganda’s population pyramids, from 1970 to 2010, look nearly identical. Between 1970 and 2010, fertility declined only slightly from 7.1 children per woman to 6.2 children per woman. UN population projections show that fertility is expected to decrease more significantly over the next 20 years. “Uganda 2030” shows a narrowing at the bottom of the pyramid, based on the assumption that total fertility will decline to 4.4 children per woman over her lifespan. “Uganda 2050” shows a more noticeable 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, Uganda 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 Uganda

If Uganda 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, Uganda 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 Uganda.

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/