Demographic transition in Bangladesh

Posted in development, economic history, economics, labour by jrahman on March 19, 2014

Like a match box full of sticks —that’s how the Farmgate over bridge was once described to me.  It was the early 1990s, when six or so million people lived in Dhaka, while Bangladesh’s population was around 110 million.  I can’t think of any match box that, once full, can pack in a significant rise in the number of sticks, and yet, Bangladesh has somehow found room for extra people.  In the two decades since my visiting friend saw the teeming multitudes of Farmgate, the country’s population has risen to 150 million, and depending on how one counts, Dhaka is home to 15 or more million people.

The headcount, however, does not quite capture the fact that Bangladesh is going through a demographic transition. A transition that is perhaps as remarkable as, and probably related to the Bangladesh paradox.  As Chart 1 shows, over the past three decades, population growth has slowed significantly and the fertility rate (the number of children each woman bears on average) has declined markably.  Given the fertility rate is already close to the replacement rate of around 2%, it is quite possible that population growth may well slow even further from current 1% a year.




Posted in Bengal, China, communalism, development, economics, history, macro, movies, people, politics, sci-fi, science, South Asia by jrahman on October 26, 2012

Seven trashes collected by the senses.


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Demographic transition

Posted in development, economics, generations, labour, politics, society by jrahman on May 6, 2012

I’ve been looking through the UN population database, and will be posting some interesting (at least to me) charts in this series.  This first instalment is about population pyramid

This is how the pyramid looked in 1950 — the earliest datapoint.

Obviously this was a very young country — over two-fifths of the people were under 15.  Another quarter was between 15 and 29.  A fifth were ‘prime working age’ — 30 to 54.  The mature aged (45-59) were merely a tenth.