The Gambia: Youthful Population; Why do they have a large birth rate?

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Religious beliefs

  •  95% of Gambia’s population is Muslim. This means they can marry more than one wife.Each woman has a TFR (total fertility rate) of about 7 children. A man marrying 3 or 4 wives can mean 21-28 children.
  • It could be more children as, in a country with a high infant mortality rate, women tend to have more children for a better chance of survival.
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Family Planning

  • Education isn’t common meaning contraceptives and family planning is harder to reach. Also it is discouraged, traditionally. This would mean people won’t use contraception and families will grow larger.
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Gambia is a poor country; there is not enough money to make government programmes that educate and inform women about family planning etc. meaning, again, more children.

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Finacial problems

Many children means families are likely to have financial problems; there will not be enough money to feed and support an ever-growing family. This will make malnutrition common; homes will be extremely over-crowded and poor sanitation.

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Education for the kids

With large proportions of children in the country, there will not be enough education. There is a shortage of toilet facilities and educational material. Often schools have to adopt a 2 shift system; some children educated in the morning and some later in the day.

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Children working.

1 in 3 14 year olds have to work to help support the family meaning couples are to have as many children as possible to get money to support the family.


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Women these days don't have a choice as the husband controls the family. Also because women don't have the right education, they are not able to get jobs meaning they have nothing to do. Another reason is because emancipation is not introduced in the Gambia and it isn't supported so the husbands get to choose.

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