Birth Rates, Economic Growth, and Structural Transformation in LDCs

Article excerpt

The objective of this paper is to test the relationship between birth rates and per capita income, and birth rate and structural transformation in developing countries. High birth rates are generally associated with national poverty. But it may still be a mistake simply to claim that for developing economies with diverse resource endowment and levels of structural transformation, high birth rates are always associated with countries that have low per capita income.

Data were collected from the World Tables [1990] for a group of 63 developing countries. Bithrates in 1987 ranged from 53.1 in Malawi to 18.1 in Barbados. Per capita income ranged from $10,300 in the Bahamas to $130 in Ethiopia in 1987. These data support the hypothesis of an inverse relationship between birth rates and GDP per capita. The simple correlation coefficient of -0.462 proved to be significant at the 5 percent level. However, a closer analysis of the subgroup of 15 countries with the lowest GDP per capita revealed that only 4 (Malawi, Mali, Tanzania, and Sierra Leone) were included in the group with the highest birth rates. Also, the subgroup of 15 countries with the highest GDP per capita included eight countries (Baharnas, Barbados, Trinidad and Tobago, Seychelles, Uruguay, Argentina, Panama, and Mauritius) in the group of 15 with the lowest birth rates. …