Country Report Bangladesh January 1996 Main report

Political scene: Population growth falling/but not as fast as hoped

According to data in the Bangladesh Demographic and Health Survey for 1993/94, the annual growth rate of the population is now 1.9%. The average couple have 3.4 children, compared with 6.3 children in the 1970s and 4.3 children in 1989-91. This fall in family size is a direct result of the success of family planning programmes; in 1975 only 8% of married women used contraception compared with 45% in 1993/94. Another linkage is with the reduction in the mortality rate of children under five, down from 180 deaths per 1,000 live births in 1979-83 to 133 for 1989-93, as a result of increased immunisation. On these trends, Bangladesh will achieve a net reproduction rate (NRR) of one by 2005, as had been hoped by some demographers. The population is now forecast to reach 140 million by 2000, requiring foodgrain supply of 27m tons, compared with the current average domestic production of 20m tons. Some pessimistic forecasts of population trends predict that levelling-off will not occur until there are 300 million people in the country.

© 1996 The Economist lntelligence Unit Ltd. All rights reserved
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