Demographic pressure and development in a gender perspective: a focus on sub-Saharan Africa

  • Fausta Ongaro Università di Padova
  • Silvana Salvini Università di Firenze


High fertility and demographic pressure – combined with lack of gender equality and women’s empowerment - may put in doubt development. The aim of our analysis is to study the role played by both the demographic pressure and social behavior on the Human Development Index (HDI) in the sub-Saharan Africa. After analyzing the territorial variability of HDI among and into some countries at district level in years around 1990, 2000 and 2010, we intend to understand if there is some form of association between Municipal Human Development Index and some indicators of socio-demographic structure.The hypothesis we want to verify is that the higher the level of demographic pressure (expressed by dependency ratios) and the worse the social context, the lower the level of development, according to the approach of “demographic window”. This study enriches the literature by exploring the effect of the demographic window of opportunity on economic growth at district level within some countries of sub-Saharan Africa, in relationship with some indicators of women’s status and gender equality as proxies of women’s empowerment. Our results demonstrate a negative effect of the dependent population (young and old people) and a positive effect of indices of women’s empowerment on development.In the model explaining the relation between development, dependency ratios and women’s empowerment at local level, the inclusion of the dummies of the countries does not change the effects of the covariates, thus suggesting that the former relationships are not mediated through the country-time variables


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Author Biographies

Fausta Ongaro, Università di Padova
Dipartimento di Scienze Statistiche15
Silvana Salvini, Università di Firenze
Dipartimento di Statistica, Informatica, Applicazioni “G.Parenti”,