What Is The Population Of Ivory Coast: Expert Tell You

Ivory Coast's population growth is explored, including historical patterns, current demographics, factors contributing to growth, and challenges and opportunities.

Exploring the Historical Growth of Ivory Coast’s Population

The population of Ivory Coast has seen steady growth since independence in 1960 due to high birth rates and increasing life expectancy. The population was around 3.7 million at independence but has risen to over 20 million currently,making Ivory Coast the most populated francophone country in West Africa. At the turn of the twentieth century, thepopulation of Ivory Coast was only around 2 million but by 1960 when it gained independence from France, the population had almost doubled to an estimated 3.7million people.The strong population growth has continued since independence,drivenmainly by high fertility rates and declining mortality rates as a result of improvements in health services and standards of living.
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The Current Demographic Profile of Ivory Coast

The population of Ivory Coast is characterized by a young population, high fertility rates, and a largely rural makeup.

Nearly half (48%) of the population is below the age of 15 years. This is due to the country’s high fertility rate of 4.8 children per woman. The median age in Ivory Coast is only 18.7 years, one of the lowest in the world.

The high fertility rate has shown little signs of declining despite economic development. This is partly due to the low use of contraceptives with only 15% of married women using any form of contraception.

Life expectancy at birth in Ivory Coast is 56 years, one of the lowest in the world. This is reflective of the poor state of health services and high poverty levels faced by much of the population.

A majority (51%) of the population still lives in rural areas and engages in agricultural activities. The predominant occupation is small-scale farming with over 70% of the active labor force employed in agriculture and related activities.

Demographics of Ivory Coast at a glance:

  • Population under 15 years: 48%
  • Median age: 18.7 years
  • Life expectancy: 56 years
  • Population growth rate: 2.47%
  • Fertility rate: 4.8 children born per woman
  • Urban population: 49%
  • Population living in rural areas: 51%
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Factors Contributing to the Population Growth in Ivory Coast

Several factors have contributed to the rapid population growth in Ivory Coast over the past decades:

High fertility rates have been the key driver. Ivorian women have an average of 4.8 children, one of the highest in the world. This is partly due to traditional cultural values that favor large families and the low usage of modern contraception.

Decreasing mortality rates, especially in children below 5 years. This is a result of improved access to health services, vaccinations, and better nutrition. Increased health spending by successive governments has also helped save more lives.

High birth rates. The crude birth rate in Ivory Coast is around 35 per 1000 people, well above the average of 22 for sub-Saharan Africa. This indicates that Ivorian women have more children on average than their counterparts in the region.

Increased life expectancy. The average Ivorian is living longer, currently at around 56 years from less than 50 years three decades ago. While still low, this has contributed to the population expanding.

Low usage of modern contraceptives. Only about 15% of married Ivorian women use contraceptives. This is due to inadequate education, cultural resistance, and limited access to contraceptives.

Cultural values that promote large families. According to traditional familial norms, more children are viewed as a blessing and source of labor for farms. This discourages the use of birth control.

If these trends continue, Ivory Coast’s population is projected to double again in the next 25 years, putting even more pressure on social services and the economy. Improved access to contraceptives, education of women and girls, and policies to reduce fertility rates will be crucial to moderating population growth in the future.

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Challenges and Opportunities of Ivory Coast’s Growing Population

The rapid population growth in Ivory Coast poses both challenges and opportunities for the country’s development.

On the challenge side:

Unemployment: Ivory Coast’s population is growing faster than its capacity to create jobs, especially for the large youth population. This has led to high unemployment rates, particularly for the youth.

Poverty: When the supply of jobs cannot keep up with the growing workforce, more people fall into poverty. Ivory Coast already has high poverty levels which threaten to worsen as its population continues growing rapidly.

Pressure on social services and infrastructure: Rising population strains existing educational, health and other social services, making it difficult for the government to provide quality services to citizens. Physical infrastructure is also overstretched.

Environmental degradation: An expanding population puts additional pressure on Ivory Coast’s natural resources and environment through deforestation, overfarming, pollution, and wildlife endangerment.

However, Ivory Coast’s growing population also presents some opportunities:

Large workforce: If the workforce is properly educated and skilled, a large, youthful population can power economic growth through increased productivity and innovation.

Growing consumer market: A rising population, if its needs are met, can create a robust local consumer market that allows for the expansion of businesses and industries.

Potential for demographic dividend: If fertility rates fall significantly in the coming decades, Ivory Coast could reap a demographic dividend with more working-age people and fewer dependents that can help accelerate economic growth.

To take full advantage of these opportunities while mitigating the challenges, policies aimed at reducing fertility rates, job creation, education, and improving social services will be critical. With the right investments in its people, Ivory Coast’s growing population could indeed become an asset for development rather than a burden.

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Photo by Omid Armin / Unsplash

More Helpful Guide

Frequently Asked Question

What is the climate like in Ivory Coast?

Ivory Coast has a tropical climate. The south has two rainy seasons and high temperatures year-round. The north is drier.

What is the population of Ivory Coast?

The population is around 26 million (2019 estimate).

What currencies are used in Ivory Coast?

The currency is the West African CFA franc (XOF).

What is the average life expectancy in Ivory Coast?

Life expectancy at birth is around 58 years for both males and females (2019 estimate).

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