Kenyan women are having fewer children than those in Ghana and Nigeria

Kenya's fertility rate stands at 3.9 or about four children per woman, compared to Ghana and Nigeria’s 4.0 and 5.5 respectively.

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Kenyan women are having fewer children than their counterparts in Ghana and Nigeria, according to a report contained in the World Population Data.

The report, prepared by US-based Population Reference Bureau (PRB), shows that Kenya’s fertility rate (average births per woman) stands at 3.9, or about four children per woman, compared to Ghana and Nigeria’s 4.0 and 5.5 respectively.

The three countries have a fertility rate higher than the global average of 2.5 even though Kenya and Ghana’s fertility rates rank below Africa’s average of 4.6 or about five children for every woman.

Niger and Chad lead the pack in the continent at 7.3 and 6.4 respectively followed closely by Democratic Republic of Congo (6.3), Angola (6.2), Mali (6) and Burkina Faso (5.7).

Kenya and Ghana’s fertility rates have experienced a sharp decline from 7.9 and 6.7 in 1960 to 3.9 and 4.0 currently, with further drops expected in the next few decades. On the other hand, Nigeria, the world’s sixth largest country in terms of population, has experienced minimal change in its fertility rate from 6.4 in 1960 to the current 5.5, according to population data from the World Bank.

Despite Kenyan women having fewer children than their counterparts, they appear to be heeding calls by global policy shapers for smaller family sizes as a socio-economic tool for better allocation of family resources.

But even as the size of the Kenyan family shrinks, the population is projected to nearly double in the next three decades to 96 million in 2050 from the current 49 million.

Ghana also seems to be treading on the same path with the country’s National Population Council proposing that childbirth should be restricted to just three kids. The country’s population is projected to stand at 51 million people from the current 29 million.

There is growing concern however regarding Nigeria’s population which is expected to double to 400 million from 190 million, making it the world’s third largest country by population.

Even though such growth, especially for the workforce, is seen as a key economic engine if tapped it could also fuel poverty, hunger and civil strife if left untapped.

The Nigerian government is for instance finding it hard to provide infrastructure and basic necessities to its ever-increasing number of citizens.

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