Fleeing from Malthus
Dec 16th 2011, 15:17 by The Economist Online
Will Africa's population boom end in dividend or disaster?
AFRICAN demography is unique. It is the only continent that will double in size, reaching 2 billion people by 2045 at current rates. Some countries, such as Liberia and Niger, are growing faster still. They are due to double in size in less than 20 years—an increase that is causing forecasts of Malthusian disaster for countries that cannot feed themselves. Yet Africa is also showing signs of embarking on the same transition towards smaller families that has occurred everywhere else, thus avoiding the Malthusian trap. When fertility started to fall in Asia after 1960 and Latin America after 1970 it did so quickly, ineluctably and universally. The number of children a woman could expect in her lifetime fell from six to two in a generation. Evidence of lower fertility is raising hopes that Africa can reap a “demographic dividend”, the economic benefit countries get when the share of the working-age population rises relative to children and old people.
1. demography：n. 人口统计学
Demography is the analysis of population variables. 人口学是对人口变量的分析。
2. double in size： 翻倍
4. embark on： 开始
5. transition： 过渡，转变
7. ineluctably and universally： 难免的，普遍的