Population Density, Fertility, Prosperity and Poverty

20 May 2005

Many believe that rapid population increase will not bring poverty to countries with few people per sqk. My letter in The Times elicited an e-mail along this line. Here is part of my reply.

Population per SqK Total Fertility Rate GDP per capita (ppp$)
Somalia 13 6.84 Poverty and violence 500
Norway 14 1.78 Prosperity 37,700
Zambia 15 5.47 Poverty 800
New Zealand 15 1.79 Prosperity 21,600
DR Congo 26 6.54 Poverty and war 600
Brazil 22 1.93 Becoming prosperous 7,600
Tanzania 39 5.06 Poverty 600
Iran 41 1.82 Prosperity on its way 7,000
Kenya 58 4.96 Poverty 1,000
Ireland 57 1.87 Prosperity 29,800
Sierra Leone 84 5.72 Poverty (and violence) 500
Greece 81 1.33 Prosperity 19,900
Uganda 116 6.74 Poverty and violence 1,400
Portugal 114 1.47 Prosperity 18,000
Nigeria 139 5.53 Poverty despite $billions from oil 800
China 136 1.72 Becoming prosperous 5000
Pakistan 202 4.14 Poverty 2,100
Italy 193 1.28 Prosperity 26,800
Burundi 229 5.81 Poverty and violence 600
Germany 231 1.39 Prosperity 27,600
Philippines 293 3.16 Much poverty 4,600
UK 243 1.66 Prosperity 27,700
Rwanda 320 5.49 Poverty and violence 1,300
Vietnam 253 1.94 Coming out of poverty rapidly 2,500
Comoros 309 5.09 Poverty (Islands off Africa) 700
Mauritius 603 1.96 Prosperity (Island off Africa) 11,400
Gaza Strip 3823 5.91 Poverty despite huge aid inflows 600
Hong Kong 6317 0.91 Prosperity 28,700

(TFR = Children born per woman)
Figures courtesy of CIA (World Fact Book 2004) – and US Bureau of the Census

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