Sub-national Estimates of Human Capital Indicators: Localizing Investments for the Demographic Dividend

Sainan Zhang, Edilberto Loaiza, Rachel Snow


Declining fertility in many countries of Africa and Asia combined with a growing proportion of people of working age is opening potential for a demographic dividend in many countries. A demographic dividend is defined as the economic benefit that can arise when a population has a relatively large proportion of working age people coupled with a history of effective human capital investment. Adopting the Global Agenda Council policy framework on achieving a demographic dividend, this research has developed a method for measuring human capital needs at the national and sub-national level by using a “demographic dividend index”. By mapping the dependency ratios and human capital indicators of the districts of Nepal, this paper illustrates an innovative descriptive method for showing policy makers the priority geographic areas for investments that will maximize prospects for a demographic dividend. Besides the identification of priority districts using the index, the research visualizes the spatial distribution of each indicator, as well as further disaggregates the indicators by urban/rural and gender. This disaggregated data are helpful in identifying the key issues within districts, as well as reducing urban/rural and gender inequality in each district level. The findings provide important insights pertaining to place of residence and gender issues.


demographic dividend, human capital, empowerment, education, employment

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ISSN 2308-7854 (online); ISSN 0850-5780 (print)

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