2.4.2  Population growth and health

Population growth has a number of effects on health. Rapid population growth increases demand for health services, infrastructure, and financial resources. For a rapidly growing population, a shortage of health workers and resources causes difficulties in accessing health care services.

The number and spacing of children per family both have significant effects on health. Women who have many children are more likely to become ill than those with small families. Furthermore, the gap between children has a significant effect on the survival rate of the child. Figure 2.7 shows the difference in child survival for children born less than two years apart compared to a three-year interval.

Figure 2.7  Birth spacing. The time interval between births in a family has a very significant impact on the survival rate of the children. (Adapted from Graff and Bremner, 2014)

The health implications of population growth are closely linked to poverty, which is the subject of the next section.

2.4.1  Population growth and food security

2.5  Poverty, population and the environment