4 users responded " Why is the third world so fertile? "

"Why is the third world so fertile?" was posted by and 4 users commented
mygif
Chris said,         
February 24 2012

The “starving” label for third-world nations has mostly gone away; people in such nations now suffer more from heart disease.

I think Sarah answered her own question right at the beginning: enormous pressure to reproduce, lack of access or willingness to use birth control, presumed benefits (and few consequences) for families that produce many children. It’s no more complex than that.

mygif
Apostatical said,         
February 25 2012

If you malnourish your average american woman her body will prevent fertility. A stereotypical African woman’s body is more accustomed to this state so doesn’t ‘go into shock’ (so to speak) and allows more bodily functions as normal.

There’s probably some form of darwinian adaption to account for too, as those who survive to rear children have inherited the ability to give birth under poor nutritional conditions.

Biology finds a way to survive if it can. If food supply is not going to improve the human body can remain infertile, therefore the species (or group) dies out. If it can adapt to become pregnant even when conditions are less than ideal the group survives! Even if it is in a state of misery.

PS. came across this site via your twitter. Good posts.

mygif
Sarah said,         
March 19 2012

Thanks, guys:)You’ve helped answer a nagging question.
So what I’m hearing is that the third world’s situation is actually better than I’ve been led to believe: there are a sizable number of women well-nourished and healthy enough to give birth and the kids are in turn healthy enough to contribute to the population’s growth.

mygif
Roger said,         
July 23 2012

Sorry if I post so late, but this happens to be a topic that I deeply care about.
Well, the fact that most fourth world countries have both high population growth and very low life expectancy is proof enough that you CAN give birth in abysmal living conditions. Furthermore, in almost each country the poorest are those with the highest fertility rates. If these facts don’t fit the model, well, too bad for the model.
With all due respect, I think that you are underestimating just how much faster population could be increasing. The least developed countries have a fertility rate in the range of 6-8 children per woman, meaning that a hypothetical woman who survived until the end of her reproductive age is expected to have 6-8 children. Two would, of course, provide for a stable population (actually 2.1 due to gender imbalance at birth). If we assume that the distance between generations is, say, 30 years, a population with even as low as 6 children per woman and no premature deaths would treble every 30 years – a growth rate of 3.7% a year. 8 children per woman give you 4.7% a year. Yet, even the fastest growing populations almost never grow faster than 3-3.2% (note: in case you check this, Afghanistan, Somalia, Rwanda and Burundi temporarily went up as high as 5-6% due to mass migration of refugees).
My point is that the fertility rate is the number of children women WOULD have if they survived to a decent age (say 45-50?). If they did have so many children, the population growth would be even faster than it is now. I’m willing to concede that the people having children are probably not the same people dying, but, as a borderline-malthusian, I have to say many people underestimate just how quickly population can increase.
Overall, most research overwhelmingly links high fertility with low female education/work participation, both in their own right and because they go hand in hand with early marriage and with the subjection of women to men. Since low education is usually linked to poverty, the poorest usually have more children. However, in some of the poorest countries the very poorest people sometimes have slightly lower fertility than the slightly less poor, mostly because a number of social conventions require a minimum of financial independence for marriage (this was a major check on marriage in medieval Europe, especially among rural families). Interstingly this sometimes re-emerges in some of the richest countries, especially those, such as mediterrenean Europe, that traditionally have high unemployment among young people.

Sorry for the long rant, I hope you didn’t get bored.

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