Revising the Demographic Transition Model for the Volatile Horn of Africa: Population, Poverty and Human Development in Ethiopia

Charles H. Teller, Population Reference Bureau (PRB) and Addis Ababa University
Assefa Hailemariam, Addis Ababa University
Eshetu Gurmu, Addis Ababa University
Tesfayi Gebreselassie, Macro International Inc.

The incipient demographic transition in Ethiopia is progressing more quickly than expected into the 21st century, but in an unorthodox manner that challenges the classical model of a positive, development-related demographic transition. Surprisingly, most of the demographic, social and human development MDGs are now on track, even while the country has been facing the persistent poverty and food insecurity. Our revised model looks at both population structure, economic-socio-cultural-environmental nexus, as well as the micro community and household demographic responses (fertility, marriage, mortality, migration and labor mobility). Micro demographic responses to increasing structural vulnerability to both natural and human hazards are a result of both positive (i.e., improvements in education, gender and health) as well as negative (i.e., food insecurity, land pressure, unemployment, governance, climate change, etc.). We use multi-level sources of secondary and primary data and triangulation of the most reliable sources to anticipate either the demographic dividend or impoverishment.

Presented in Session 6: Population and Environment