Demographic Variables : Malawi Vs Netherlands

Population-related dynamics impact on all facets of socioeconomic, as well as human, development. The population of Netherlands, a developed European country, is closely comparable to that of Malawi, a developing African economy (Mieila & Toplicianu, 2013). The following table represents information on some of the countries’ significant demographic variables. The variables are total population, fertility rate, birth rate, infant mortality rate (IMR), population growth rate (PGR), death rate, life expectancy as well as dependency ratio.

Malawi Netherlands
Total Population 16,829,144 (Worldometers, 2015, table 1) 16,802,463 (Worldometers, 2015, table 1)
Fertility Rate 5.50 (Worldometers, 2015, table 1) 1.77 (Worldometers, 2015, table 1)
Infant Mortality Rate (IMR) 112  (National Statistical Office, 2011, p.96) 3.66 (Trading Economics, 2015b, table 1)
Birth Rate 39.5  (National Statistical Office, 2011, p.2) 10.83 (Trading Economics, 2015b, table 1)
Death Rate 10.4 (National Statistical Office, 2011, p.2) 8.57 (Trading Economics, 2015b, table 1)
Life Expectancy 54.72 81.12 (Trading Economics, 2015b, table 1)
Population Growth Rate (PGR) 2.8  (National Statistical Office, 2011, p.2) 0.42 (Trading Economics, 2015b, table 1)
Dependency Ratio 95.7  (Trading Economics, 2015a, table 1) 52.8 (Trading Economics, 2015b, table 1)

Accounting for the Demographic Variable Differences

Netherlands’ fertility rate and birth rate are markedly lower than that of Malawi (National Statistical Office, 2011, p.2; Trading Economics, 2015b, table 1; Worldometers, 2015, table 1). That can be reliably attributed to the actuality that the levels of contraceptive usage in the two countries are different. The usage of pills for controlling birth in Netherlands is more widespread than in Malawi. Especially, the usage of the pills is widespread in Netherlands owing to the country’s heightening secularization, and the growing entry of women in workforces as well as higher education. In Malawi, women have quite limited opportunities and support to pursue secondary, as well as tertiary, education. That limits the women’s capacity to conclusively decide on their families’ sizes. Generally, on average, women with secondary, as well as tertiary, education have smaller families than those devoid of the education.

Malawi’s IMR is over 30-fold that of Netherlands (National Statistical Office, 2011, p.2; Trading Economics, 2015b, table 1). That can be attributed to the differences in the disease burdens shouldered by the two countries. Malawi’s IMR is fairly high since the country suffers from a marked prevalence of HIV/AIDS, malnutrition, childhood illnesses, and malaria. Netherlands has better facilities and more resources in connection with the provision of postnatal care than Malawi. The facilities and resources are critical in significantly reducing number of deaths of infants. Netherlands has made commendable progress in reducing the prevalence of especially childhood diseases, and HIV/AIDS as well as malaria.

Malawi’s death rate is considerably higher than that of Netherlands (National Statistical Office, 2011, p.2; Trading Economics, 2015b, table 1). As well, that can be attributed to the differences in the disease burdens shouldered by the two countries especially with respect to HIV/AIDS, malnutrition, and malaria. As well, the Dutch people enjoy better health than Malawians since Netherlands has better healthcare facilities than Malawi. As well, the good health can be attributed to the actuality that Netherlands has made praiseworthy advancement in reducing the prevalence of many diseases, including HIV/AIDS.

Netherlands’ life expectancy statistic is markedly higher than that of Malawi (Trading Economics, 2015b, table 1). As well, that can be attributed to the differences in the disease burdens shouldered by the two countries especially with respect to HIV/AIDS, malnutrition, and malaria. As well, the Dutch people enjoy better health than Malawians since Netherlands has better healthcare facilities than Malawi. As well, the good health can be attributed to the actuality that Netherlands has made commendable progress in reducing the prevalence of many diseases, including HIV/AIDS (Mieila & Toplicianu, 2013).

Over the years, Netherlands has reported commendable progress in the development of various medicines and public spending on healthcare. The Dutch people access medications much more easily than Malawians. Overall, the Dutch people generally live longer than Malawians since the former are less likely to die in their infanthood than the latter (National Statistical Office, 2011, p.96; Trading Economics, 2015b, table 1). Malawi is among the nations with the highest rates of HIV/AIDS prevalence worldwide.

Malawi’s PGR is considerably higher than that of Netherlands (National Statistical Office, 2011, p.2; Trading Economics, 2015b, table 1). That is reliably attributable to the actuality that Netherlands’ fertility rate and birth rate are markedly lower than that of Malawi (National Statistical Office, 2011, p.2; Trading Economics, 2015b, table 1; Worldometers, 2015, table 1). As well, Malawi’s dependency ratio is considerably higher than that of Netherland (Trading Economics, 2015a, table 1; Trading Economics, 2015b, table 1). Malawi’s dependency ratio is considerably high since about 15% of its total population is under 15 years of age. While the population shows a high possibility that the country will have a large workforce in the days ahead, it represents a marked burden on Malawians who are working currently, from 15 years of age to 64 years of age. The many young Malawians are dependent on Malawians, who are working at present for the elementary needs, as well as services, especially education and healthcare.

Socioeconomic Impacts

            Netherlands’ population is quite concentrated on small geographical areas, putting marked pressure on the available land. The Dutch authorities are planning the usage of the land strictly owing to the population (Vlahov, 2011). If the Netherlands’ fertility rate and birth rate are not checked, the further growth of the population will increase the pressure on the land. The Malawian population is rather large given the available resources for supporting it. The country’s PGR is rather high (National Statistical Office, 2011, p.2). The high Malawi’s fertility rate and birth rate will see the further growth of the country’s population, further limiting the available job opportunities and housing units. The high fertility rate and birth rate will continue exerting marked pressure on the available natural resources like water, forests, and land.

Malawi’s IMR is quite more pronounced than that of Netherlands (National Statistical Office, 2011, p.2; Trading Economics, 2015b, table 1). If Malawi’s IMR is not reversed, the country may suffer labor shortage in the years ahead. Its current population structure would continue aging, pushing its dependency ratio higher and higher (Vlahov, 2011). As well, Malawi’s death rate is considerably high, presenting a high probability that the may suffer labor shortage in the years ahead. Malawians as well enjoy a quite low life expectancy. That means many Malawians are dying each year, reducing the number of experienced workers in the country’s economy (Africa Regional Workshop on Mainstreaming Urban Poverty Reduction in Sub-Sahara Africa, Centre for Human Settlements & Africa Regional Workshop on Urban Poverty, 1999).

How to Minimize the Impacts

There are a variety of ways of reducing the socio-economic impacts spelt above. First, the Malawi and Dutch governments should supply their subjects with adequate contraceptives and encourage them to use them to bring down their national fertility rates and birth rates (Vlahov, 2011). Second, the Malawi and Dutch governments should support and encourage female students to pursue secondary, as well as tertiary, education (Greater San Antonio Chamber of Commerce, 1993).

As noted earlier, that will expand the females’ capacity to decide on their families’ sizes categorically (Africa Regional Workshop on Mainstreaming Urban Poverty Reduction in Sub-Sahara Africa, Centre for Human Settlements & Africa Regional Workshop on Urban Poverty, 1999). Third, governments, especially the Malawi government, should commit more public resources to programs aimed at reducing the country’s disease burden, especially the programs focusing on HIV/AIDS, malnutrition, childhood illnesses, and malaria. The government should put up and equip more healthcare facilities appropriately (Vlahov, 2011).

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