By Anne Mugisa
Youth aged 10 to 24 in Uganda are expected to more than double to 29.5 million from the current 12.3 million or 33% of the country’s population by 2050.
This is according to new data released by the US Population Reference Bureau (PRB). Despite the galloping population growth, only about 26% of girls and 30% of boys are enrolled in secondary schools, according to the data.
And that only 4% of girls and 5% of boys are enrolled in tertiary institutions between 2005 and 2011.
The data does not give figures for unemployment, but indicates that 60% of both girls and boys may be participating in the labour market. This means that the majority of those in the labour market do not have formal skills and the lack of education in the majority of the youth is fuelling population growth and deepening the vicious cycle of poverty.
According to the PRB report, Africa’s population is expected to double to 2.4bn people from the current 1.1billion in the less than 40 years to 2050. Nearly all the growth will be in the 51 countries of Sub-Saharan Africa including Uganda.
The report gives 20 population, health and environment indicators for more than 200 countries and takes a special focus on wealth and income inequalities.
It indicates that in the developing countries like Uganda, wide income gaps exist between the poor and rich and that disparities in wealth and income are associated with dramatic differences in fertility and health.
It says that in Uganda, women from the poorest fifth of families have twice as many children as those in the wealthiest fifth. According to it, the poorest women in Uganda are still producing at average of eight children each in their lifetime making it hard for them to get our t of the poverty cycle.
According to the data, in the youth aged 20 to 24, 10% of them were married by the age of 15 years and 40% were married by the time they were 18 years. This means that half of the youth aged 20 to 24 in Uganda were married by 18 years.
It also revealed that out of every 1000 adolescent girls aged 15 to 19 years, 124 have had children, which is very high. This has implications of failure to complete education, gender based violence, poor health and poverty cycles.
The report indicated that 13% of the 15 to 19 year old adolescents were using contraception between 2005 and 2011 while 20% of those aged 20 to 24 used contraception.