Population and employment

Business studies study module


Population refers to the number of human beings living in a particular region at a particular time.

The size of the population is ascertained through national headcount, which is referred to as a national census. It is an international requirement that each country must hold a national census at least every ten years.

Population issues are major concerns to business people because people are consumers of goods and services as well as providers of factors of production.

Basic concepts in population

  1. Fertility – this is defined as the ability of a woman to give birth to a live child.
  2. Fertility rate – refers to the average number of children born per woman during her child bearing years in a given population.

Factors that determine fertility rate

  • Literacy levels among women.
  • The marriage rate among people in the productive age bracket.
  • Cost of bringing up children.
  • Economic significance of a large family, e.g. children seen as a source of cheap laboure.t.c.
  • Cultural beliefs e.g. where many children were a source of prestige.
  • Availability of medical facilities.
  • Religious factors e.g. where some religions prohibits use of family planning
  1. Birth rate – refers to the number of live births per 1000 people per year. This is also referred to as crude birth rate and may be calculated as follows:

Factors that are likely to lead to high birth rates

  • Cultural practices e.g taking children as security during old age.
  • Early marriages prolomnging the woman’s reprodcutive life.
  • Children being seen as a sou=rce of cheap labour.
  • Where people are opposed to family planning methods
  • Ignorance- lack of knowledge to family planning methods
  • Religious beliefs which encourage large families and discourage use of family planning methods.

Factors that may lead to decline in birth rates

  • Delayed marriages dues to such things as staying in school for long period
  • Craving for high standards of living leading to people having few children
  • Where small families are considered fashionable
  • Use of family planning methods
  • Availability of retirement schemes making people to stop children as security in old age.

Mortality/death rate – refer to the number of people who die per thousand people per year. Is also known as natural attrition rate and may be calculated as follows:

  • Infant mortality rate- refers to the number of child deaths per thousand children below the age one year per annum.
  • Population growth rate – refers to the rate at which the population of a country is increasing or decreasing. It can be calculated as follows.

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