Lesson 6, Topic 1
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# Population Structure / Distribution

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Population distribution refers to the ways the population of a given country is distributed into certain categories such as age, sex, occupation, and geographical distribution.

### Age Distribution:

Age distribution is defined as the breakdown of the population of a country into age groups. Age distribution is very important in economics because it shows the usefulness of the population and the supply of labour required in different sectors of the economy.

The population of a country can be divided into the following age brackets.

These are:

i. 0 â€“ 17 years.
ii. 18 â€“Â  60 years.
iii. Above 60 years.

From the above classification, the population within the age bracket 0 – 17 years includes infants, children, and pupils in nursery, primary, secondary and tertiary institutions. This age group is called dependent population because they are not economically productive as they cannot be employed in the labour market. They will need to depend on the other groups for their needs.

The age group 18 â€“ 60 years is popularly referred to as the active population or working population, workforce or labour force. This is an economic age bracket that is involved in productive activities or employment. Because they are the working population and depend on themselves for subsistence, they are collectively called independent population. If the number of people in this group is high, there will be a higher supply of labour and a higher standard of living.

The age group above 60 years is old age. Just like the children (0 â€“ 17 years), they do not involve themselves in productive activities hence they are also classified as dependent population.

Dependent population is defined as that part of the population that does not work and relies on others for the goods and services they consume. … In general those categorized as dependents include the children and the elderly.

In summary, the age distribution of any given population can be grouped as follows:

i. 0 â€“ 17 years – children (Dependent population)
ii. 18 â€“ 60 years – adults (working population as labour force)
iii. Above 60 years – old age (Dependent population)

### Importance of Age Distribution of Population:

1. Knowledge of Dependent Population: The number of dependentsÂ can be determined easily through age distribution in a population.

2. Size of Labour Force: With a good age distribution the number of people working can easily be determined.

3. Determination of Government Budget: The age structure of the population will assist the government to draw up its budget.

4. It Determines the Birth and Death rates: If there is a higher percentage of old people, the death rate will be higher, and vice versa.

5. It Determines the Standard of Living: The age structure of a given population will reveal the income per capita and standard of living, while dependent population reduces income per capita and standard of living, a high working population or labour force increases income per capita and standard of living.

6. It determines the Nature of the Market: For example, if there is a high working population, the demand for transportation services, including sales of cars, will increase.

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