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Middle Africa is demographically trapped

Maurice King, Leeds University

Jack Caldwell, the most eminent demographer of Africa, told me that most of Middle Africa is demographically trapped. Demography and development economics taboo the problem. A community is demographically trapped if: (a) it exceeds the carrying capacity of its local ecosystem, and (b) it has nowhere to migrate to, and (c) it has too few exports to exchange for food and other essentials. The result is the direst poverty starvation and violence. I argue that one of the reasons for persistently high fertility is that communities have never been told that this is what is going to happen if they don’t have smaller families. ‘Disentrapment’ requires that everything possible be done to increase carrying capacity, migration, and economic development. However, it also requires a crash demographic transition, if necessary to one-child families. The dialogue on-one child families can open in Africa, since I have opened it here myself many times.

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Presented in Poster Session 4