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Demorgraphic Transition Variables and Economic Outcomes in Nigeria

Onyinye Ifeoma Ochuba, Sigah Donny Marclary Ayibazuomuno
University of Africa, Toru orua, Bayelsa State, Nigeria

Received: 11 January 2023; Accepted: 08 February 2023; Published: 10 March 2023

IJRISS Call for paper

Abstract: -The study examined the theory of demographic transition in the context of the Nigerian economy. This follows findings from literature that population in its entity does not translate to economic growth, rather specific demographic partitions. Using such demographic transition theory variables as Birth Rate, Death Rate, Female Primary School Enrollment (proxy for education) and Mobile Cellular Subscription (proxy for technology) as explanatory variables and Gross Domestic Product (proxy for economic growth) as dependent variable, the study adopted the econometric tools of ADF unit root test, Johansen Cointegration test and Parsimonious ECM to treat data from World Bank indicators and Central Bank of Nigeria statistical bulletin for a period of 30 years (1990 – 2019). The data output confirms a positive but insignificant relationship between birth rate and economic growth. Technology has a positive and significant relationship with economic growth while education and death rate have negative relationship with economic growth. The study suggests amongst other things adoption and deliberate investment in technological advancement in Nigeria, complete overhaul of the primary school system in country as this is the bedrock of education world over. Also, adequate investment should be made in the health sector to improve the current health outcomes which have resulted in very high death rate.

Keywords: Population, Demographic transition theory, Economic Growth, Birth Rate, Technology.

JEL Classification: J11

I. Introduction

It is projected that Nigeria will be the third most populous country in the world by 2050 with estimated population of over 400 million people at projected growth rate of 1.93%. At present, the country has an estimated population of over 200 million people with growth rate of 2.5% (United Nations, 2021). One would expect that this huge population strength would translate to enormous economic potentials for the nation. But the reality is that, economic prosperity which is synonymous with Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth has been found to be strongly correlated with specific population demographics and not the entire population as it were. This follows findings that infants and the elderly burden the economy greatly, while young adults between ages 14 – 49 are very healthy for GDP growth (Arnott & Chaves, 2018). Data made available by the nation’s bureau of statistics indicates that Nigeria’s demographic spread favors age bracket 0 -14, while her life expectancy is 54 years (National Bureau of Statistics, 2017). This indicates high dependency rate arising from high fertility rate and reduced work age since Nigeria’s official retirement age is from 60 years. Fertility rate in any country can be attributed to factors such as: females’ age when she had her first child, government policy, educational opportunity especially for women, access to family planning etc (Population Education, 2020). It has been reported that technology also plays a key role in determining fertility rate. This it does by providing assisted reproductive technology inform of fertility testing and tracking, In Vitro Fertilization (IVF), fertility preservation among others (Obasola & Mabawonku, (2017); Forbes, (2020). The availability of these technologies has ensured sustained fertility amidst delayed marriage and reproduction especially among women and the increasing unattractiveness of parenthood among young people. This has aided the current demographic makeup of Nigeria.

The efficacy of demographic transition is anchored on its simplicity in providing insight on the society’s transition from periods of high fertility and mortality rates to periods of low fertility and mortality rate facilitated by the advent of modernization (Ahmed, 2004). The hallmark of modernization or industrialization includes advancement in education especially for women, urbanization and mechanization of most production processes which discourages child labour as well as enhances economic growth. However, industrialization in Nigeria is still at the primary stage with the extractive industry and agricultural sector, mostly subsistent agriculture dominating (Chete, Adeoti, Adeyinka, & Ogundele, 2014) amidst gradual decline in birth rate. Child labour is still prevalent and mechanized production process is still at infancy despite the fact that most countries especially high-income countries are exiting industrial age and entering information age. Also, studies have confirmed that Nigeria’s economy has remained stagnated since 1980 (Bloom, Finlay, Humair, Mason, Olaniyan, & Soyibo, 2010), despite her huge population. This economic stagnation coupled with poor quality of education and health care prominently among the youths is hindering Nigeria from maximizing its demographic dividends. Many scholars have invested in studies aimed at identifying the uniqueness of the Nigerian huge population and her economic fortunes; Alimi, Fagbohun, & Abubakar, (2021), Monye-Emina, (2020) ; Mba, (2019); Pham & Vo, (2019) ;