jump to content jump to mainnav

Fact 4: On average, a woman in Sub-Saharan Africa gives birth to five children, a European woman birthes less than two children over her lifetime.

The number of children per African woman has declined since the early 1980s. Today, an African mother gives birth to and cares for five children. Statistically she provides for 3.4 more children than a European woman. In comparison, during the past 40 years, European women have birthed less than two children.


Box: Population Growth and Undernourishment of children

Population has increased quickly over the past decades due to a high number of children. Population growth in Africa has been constantly above 2.5 per cent per annum. This means that the population doubles every 28 years – at the moment, Sub-Saharan Africa has about 854 million inhabitants.

The EU population recently grew at a rate of 0.5 per cent per year, or even slower. Increasing life expectancy and immigration outweigh a very low fertility rate. On a headcount basis, Sub-Saharan Africa is already a much bigger market than the European Union; on an income basis, however, Europe is still far ahead of Africa.

In Sub-Saharan Africa, eight per cent of children under five years are chronically underweight. In Niger, Angola and Sudan, where the situation is worse, more than 15 per cent suffer from underweight. Undernourishment often results in permanent physical and mental deficits, thus having a long-term negative impact on both the persons directly affected and society at large.