The extensive literature on population and development yielded few policy-relevant results before the discovery of the demographic dividend. This dividend refers to a rise in per capita income that results from an increase in workers per capita as a population’s fertility declines. This paper describes the role of the demographic dividend in economic development in developing countries and summarizes policy options for strengthening the dividend. The first section reviews the demographic transition with an emphasis on its later phases when declining fertility and a changing population age structure produce the dividend. Next, the demographic drivers of the dividend and its potential impact on economic growth are examined. The last sections discuss policy options. Special attention is given to the role of voluntary family planning programs to meet rising demand for contraception thus accelerating the fertility decline and increasing the dividend when demand for smaller families is growing. The focus throughout is on sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), the region that has experienced little demographic dividend but where the potential for a future dividend is greatest.
Bongaarts, John, Michele Gragnolati, S. Amer Ahmed, and Jamaica Corker. 2020. "Population, development, and policy." New York: Population Council.