Uganda Population at Record High

Today the nation of Uganda has a population of 27.7 million and this number continues to increase. According to the Population Research Bureau (PRB) the 27.7 million people will reach 130 million by 2050.  Researchers argue that this high rate of growth will surely keep the nation in financial difficulties. Ugandans already have limited resources and with this projected increase, the country will have to find a way to monitor the nation’s population explosion.

The current state of Uganda is largely due to the government’s lack of intervention and unavailable resources for family planning. PRB has stated that merely 20 percent of married women have available contraception. With such a low percentage it is no surprise that the average amount of children per woman is 6.9. This is an alarming amount considering the global average to be 2.7 children per woman. In fact, several have pointed this issue of high birth rates as being encouraged by Ugandan government officials since President Yoweri Museveni has stated that this population explosion is a “great resource” for Uganda.

This increasing population is also attributed to fertility levels which have escalated since 3 decades ago. The Total Fertility Rate (TFR) has been kept at a high in rural areas compared to urbanized areas. Seeing as Uganda’s Population Report 2013 indicates that 88% of Ugandans live in rural areas, the fertility level is basically high for nearly all Ugandans. According to the Uganda Bureau of Statistics, there has been a markedly low infant mortality rate which coupled with the high fertility rate, has led to this extraordinary population growth.

Most Ugandans living in rural areas face extreme poverty, with poor infrastructure, limited supplies, lack of healthcare and famine in specific areas of the region. Several government officials are concerned whether the current demographic will impede economic growth. Some argue that the large population will begin a transformation, given how countries such as China and India have improved their economies after the pressure of rapid growth. The World Bank argued in a recent report that economic growth in Uganda would rise if fertility rates dropped and households learned to save or invest their money. What is certain is that today’s world population of 6.6 billion is expected to reach 8 billion by 2025 and Uganda will soon find itself having one of the highest populations among China and India.

Maybelline Martez

Sources: World Watch, UBOS, Daily Monitor