Rapid Population Growth and Economic Development in Nigeria

Lawanson, O.I (2016)

Staff Publications

Article

The human race is faced with an increasing number of resource management and environmental problems. Population growth, particularly in the developing world, has become a significant part of these environmental problems. Simply put a major problem of lasting significance facing the world in this century, may well be the sudden and unprecedented expansions of its population. Studies have shown that the recent population growth in all regions of the world is the consequence not of increased birth rates per se, but of unprecedented worldwide decrease in the death rate especially in developed economies. (Ayeni and Adewale, 1996). Though in recent years, technological advancement has made increase in productivity possible, this however, applies only to developed economies. The economic difficulties being experienced by most of the LDC's in recent times could serve as an indication that these countries have not really benefited from rapid population growth. The population of most LDC's are generally characterized by high dependencyratio, high illiteracy rate, unemployment, low manpower development, high urbanization, low income per capita and serious environmental problems caused as a result of urban congestion and pollution. This study aims to analyze the impact of population growth on the development of the Nigerian economy and will aim at suggesting possible policy measures that can be put in place to translate the high population growth rate to an advantage for the country. Reasons adduced have been that, since the 20th century human race had begun to declare victoryover famine-related and infant mortality problems and at the same time significant advances in public health and medicine have been applied. These advances, although felt around the world, did not happen in the same way in today's richer and poorer nations. Death rates are declining more in developed countries, basically due to changes in preference for smaller family size compared to the rather large ones which is still common in less developed countries. (Ayeni and Adewale, 1996). The relationship between population growth and economic development has occupied an important position in demographic studies, since Malthus drew the attention of the world to the fact that world population was increasing at a geometric rate while the means of subsistence was increasing at an arithmetic' rate and he posited that if this is left unchecked it may lead to an adverse consequence on the world economy.