Nature of population problem in developing countries
The common characteristics of developing countries state that the low levels of living are manifested qualitatively and quantitatively in form of law incomes, inadequate housing, poor health, limited or no education, high infant mortality, low life and work expectancy, and in many cases, a general sense of malouse and hopelessness.
For example in 1988, 81% of the world’s total income (US 12,650 billion) was produced by less than 23% of world’s total population living in the economically developed countries. Low levels of productivity. Developing countries have relatively low levels of labour productivity, i.e. output per unit of labour.
This is mainly due to the absence or severe lack of complementary factor inputs such as physical, capital and/or experienced management to raise labour productivity, there is need to mobilise savings and foreign finance in order to generate new investments in physical capital goods, and build up the stock of human capital through investment in education and training.
In addition, institutional changes in land tenure, credit and banking structures, honest and efficient administrations and the restructuring of educational and training programmes should be tailored to the needs of the developing societies.
High rate of population growth and dependence burdens: In.1990, the world’s population was estimated at 5.3 billion, of which more than 3/4th lived in the less developed countries. Almost all the developing countries possess high population growth potential characterised by high birth rate and high but declining death rate.
Death rates in developing countries have fallen, compared to the past, due to improved health conditions and control of major infectious diseases. On the average annual population growth rate in developing countries is 2% as compared with about 0.7% in developed countries.
Birth rates are generally high in the order of 30-40 per 1000 whereas those for advanced countries are less than half that figure. An important consequence of high birth rate is that a larger proportion of the total population is the younger age groups.
This leads to a higher economic dependency burden since about 40% of the population in developed countries. With many dependants to support, it becomes difficult for the workers to save and invest in productive assets.
Developing countries also have a shorter life expectancy averaging 51 years as compared with 75 years for developed countries, implying that a smaller fraction of their population is available as an effective labour force.
Substantial dependence on agricultural produce and export of primary products: The majority of the people in developing countries lives and work in rural areas.
Over 75% of the population in Africa and 63% in Asia are dependant on agriculture compared to only 5.5% in North America. Agriculture contributes well over 20% of GDP for most developing countries compared to only 3% in developed countries.
In Uganda agriculture contributes a bout 45% of GDP and close to 90% of the population like and work in rural areas, heavily dependent on subsistence agriculture for a livelihood and the production of a few cash crops for an income.
The basic reasons for the concentration of people are basic needs of food, clothing and shelter. Agriculture productivity is low because of primitive technology, poor organisation and limited physical and human capital inputs.