Control population growth

Editorial

THE current growth rate in Papua New Guinea is a concern.
Records at the PNG National Statistical Office say the population of PNG has reached 7,275,324 according to the 2011 Census.
PNG’s population of over 8 million is the largest in the Pacific.
It has increased by 40 per cent and at average annual growth rate 3.1 per cent since the last census in 2000.
It is growing at an alarming rate and indications are clear that the government is struggling to cope with that.
Some say the generation is witnessing the greatest demographic transition.
There is mounting concern over corresponding rise in unemployment and depleting per capita income.
Concerns have been raised on the fast population growth – having more than one million kids every four years is unsustainable for any nation, especially a nation such as ours where we have huge challenges: infrastructure needs, schools, hospitals, education, and roads and bridges that are needed right across the country.
The government might not be able to provide all that if the population continues to increase.
Prof Glen Mola in one of his letters some two years back made reference to creating jobs through investments.
He pointed out an interesting topic and that is what we are discussing here – population growth.
The PNG population is currently increasing by three per cent per annum; the total fertility rate is still more than four per cent (i.e. women are on average having more than four kids each).
This has the effect of doubling our population every generation (25-27 years) and that means that the age structure of our population is such that more than half of the population is less than 18 years old.
Young people should be discouraged from having children.
And there is no better way to put it then educating our children to delay having children and of course, sometimes we have to encourage our young people to delay getting married.
It’s becoming a common sight to see young people getting married early, having not secured decent employment, not completed their university or tertiary education, they do not have an income level to look after the child that they bring into this world.
The burden most times fall back on the parents.
The general trend worldwide is that as more women get an education and enter the workforce, they marry and start having kids later in life.
An interesting analysis of US census data from 2000 shows women who waited to have kids had significantly higher salaries than women of the same age, with the same level of education, who had kids earlier.
That however should not be used as an apple to apple comparison to PNG.
One can only conclude that the analysis of US census data turned to be that way is because of education.
Not just any education but quality education from the urban to rural schools.
Quality education includes outcomes that encompass knowledge, skills and attitudes, and are linked to national goals for education and positive participation in society.
Unless the young population are educated to a standard to understand the advantages and disadvantages of having children very early in life, the population of PNG will continue to increase at an alarming rate.

One thought on “Control population growth

  • I don’t know the future of this nation. Government must do something now to solve this problem or else, we will be in big issue which cannot be solve in years to come. So the Government must act now.

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