MCDB 150 - Global Problems of Population Growth

Lecture 05 - Why Is Africa Different? In addition to cultural controls acting to maximize fertility, there are important, and often competing, interests of individual families to limit fertility. Unwanted births are dealt with by infanticide in many cultures. Additionally, fertility is regularly controlled by limiting marriage within a culture. Another very important factor in population growth, especially in the tropics, is food availability. Heavy rains in the tropics wash nutrients away, leaving deficient soils. Much of Africa is either too dry or too wet. Africa was, until recently, not densely populated. Since land was available and because more children meant more security and power, a culture evolved that emphasized high fertility, justified by the need for descendants to pacify ancestors. Sub-Saharan (tropical) Africa has the highest birth rates in the world. As an example, Niger, just south of the Sahara desert has a fertility rate of almost eight children per woman while, in the Mediterranean zone, Morocco, just north of the Sahara, but also a Sunni Muslim country, has a rate of only 3.3 children per woman. (from

Lecture 05 - Why Is Africa Different?

Time Lecture Chapters
[00:00:00] 1. Review and More on Cultural Controls on Fertility
[00:09:53] 2. Individual Level Controls on Fertility
[00:23:38] 3. Fertility Control by Controlling Child Bearers
[00:27:53] 4. Underpopulation in Africa
[00:36:28] 5. Agricultural Productivity in African Tropics
[00:50:43] 6. World Agricultural Comparisons
[00:53:34] 7. Diseases in Africa and Underpopulation

Lecture 5 - Why Is Africa Different?
Instructor: Robert Wyman. Transcript [html]. Audio [mp3]. Download Video [mov].

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Lecture 01 - Evolution of Sex and Reproductive Strategies
Lecture 02 - Sex and Violence Among the Apes
Lecture 03 - From Ape to Human
Lecture 04 - When Humans Were Scarce
Lecture 05 - Why Is Africa Different?
Lecture 06 - Malthusian Times
Lecture 07 - Demographic Transition in Europe; Mortality Decline
Lecture 08 - Demographic Transition in Europe; Fertility Decline
Lecture 09 - Demographic Transition in Europe
Lecture 10 - Quantitative Aspects
Lecture 11 - Low Fertility in Developed Countries
Lecture 12 - Human and Environmental Impacts
Lecture 13 - Fertility Attitudes and Practices
Lecture 14 - Demographic Transition in Developing Countries
Lecture 15 - Female Disadvantage
Lecture 16 - Population in Traditional China
Lecture 17 - Population in Modern China
Lecture 18 - Economic Impact of Population Growth
Lecture 19 - Economic Motivations for Fertility
Lecture 20 - Teen Sexuality and Teen Pregnancy
Lecture 21 - Global Demography of Abortion
Lecture 22 - Media and the Fertility Transition in Developing Countries
Lecture 23 - Biology and History of Abortion
Lecture 24 - Population and the Environment