Population structure is a key factor in a countries economy or society. The population structure can consequently ‘make’ or ‘break’ a country. Population structure is represented more commonly by a population pyramid, which focuses on the main influences of age, gender and life expectancy. A country can be made, simply by having a large working age group, keeping the economy of the country strong and more stable. If as country has a small working age group then the country will be suffering in it’s economy and also the society will start to decline in it’s strength.

This Is obviously only one example, so to discuss this statement I will study two examples were the population structure is making it, and two examples were the population structure is breaking it. First of all are the examples were the population structure is breaking the country. Japan is severely in trouble, it has an ageing population and a low infant mortality (only 1. 4 children on average are born per women). The low infant mortality is resulting in the school intake being reduced by 0. 6% per year. Not only does Japan have a low infant mortality, it also has a high life expectancy which is estimated at 81years old.

In fact, it is predicted that by 2015, 25% of the population will be ages 65 and over, which is massive compared to US’s and the EU’s 15%. In a century the whole population would have almost halfed! The country labour force is also shrinking by 0. 6% per year. The economy is suffering due to all of these reasons. To be able to cope with the ageing population, pension schemes have been introduced, all consisting of fewer benefits and less money. The economy is being drained so the rising taxes and rising retirement age have been introduced. These may help the economy but they have effects upon the society.

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People start to realise they cannot rely on the government to sustain their future. They start to save their money, planning ahead. This drains even more money out of the economy and make the new schemes virtually pointless. Equal opportunities and plan for gender equality in 2000 is the only thing that can start to balance out the population structure and ‘repair’ the economy and society. Another country which is being ‘broken’ is South Africa. South Africa suffers from the highly spread able STD known as HIV. There is a high birth rate, averaging out at 19 children per 1000.

This is a serious problem and is the main reason why the country is breaking. The HIV has resulted in the population structure having a low life expectancy of only 42,73 years! HIV killing 370,000 of the whole population is showing just how much of a problem there is. The high birth rate shows that there is a high risk of pregnancy, which would be correct due to a lack of contraception and a lack of education which would actually provide knowledge on how to prevent births. The economy is small and has little effect to keep the country sustainable and the sociable moods are a risk. There is a high crime rate, especially rape.

A high birth rate combined with a small economy spells disaster and results in the country slowly, but surely declining. South Africa could effectively get to the point of no return, where there will be no recovery of the breaking of the country. Moving onto countries that are being made by the population structure, we see China. China has a huge population number, consisting of over 1,313,973,713 people. Out of this huge population it has 71. 4% who are active people, over 1/6th of the whole world’s labour force! China has developed a massive economy due to the economic boom. Not only are the local people being attracted, but also migrants.

Such labour force means that there are plenty of people searching for jobs, everyday! Therefore more businesses and more industries are set up, meaning more money into the countries economy. There is a high birth rate of 13 children and also a high life expectancy of 72. 58 years. This is quite high and shows the reason why the one baby policy was introduced into China, forcing each family to only have one child. The society however is affected, especially due to the low wages compared with the west, which is always being cut due to no problems with the economy. This is a main reason why China has become the world’s leading economic country.

The second country which is being made is surprisingly the LEDC, Brazil. Brazil’s population is fairly average in shape; however you can see a high birth rate of 16. 55 per 1000 and a high life expectancy of 71. 97 years (not forgetting that Brazil is an LEDC). This combination will eventually result in a highly active population, if things keep stable. The work force will continue to rise, providing a plentiful workforce, which gives expansion into industries, hence creating a more wealthy economy. The tourist industry is a main attraction in Brazil, development of services, and the general economy will retrieve even more publicity.

Eventually the quality of life will be very high, meaning less social issues, and the crime rate will decrease. A problem could be that it ends up with an unsustainable population structure like Japan however a child policy seen in China could easily eradicate this possibility. To conclude, I can see clearly that the population structure does indeed make or break a country; Japan and South Africa show how a country is broken due to low birth rates, and high life expectancy’s, and how diseases or natural occurrences can have a breaking effect.

China and Brazil show how the high birth rate and high life expectancy can result in a country being made. All examples show how a certain area, such as birth rate or life expectancy can have large effect on the economy and society of a country. We can see comparisons in areas of the same structure and how they have an effect of the outcome when combined. The population structure does have its limits as one structure eventually ‘transforms’ into another. A country will go in cycles, from being made to being broke.


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