The Four Dividends: How Age Structure Change Can Benefit Development
The demographic dividend is defined as the accelerated economic growth that can occur as a population age structure matures, given strategic investments in health, education, economic policy, and governance. This web feature expands the concept of the demographic dividend to project four potential sets of benefits—in addition to economic growth, it outlines benefits in health, education, and governance. A country’s likelihood of making substantial gains in each of these four sectors is tied to its age structure.
This feature explains how each of these “dividends” becomes more likely as countries progress through the demographic transition from high fertility to low fertility. For each dividend, as a country’s population matures and reaches a specific age-structure threshold, the benefits of that specific dividend become more likely than not. Voluntary family planning services that support individuals’ rights to choose the number, timing, and spacing of their pregnancies also contribute to changes in a country’s age structure that advance social, economic, and health gains for families and communities, including attainment of the four dividends. With a better understanding of the potential benefits of age-structure change across four key development sectors, policymakers can effectively channel investments in family planning and other programs to promote a demographic transition and achieve development goals.