Jamaica’s population won’t exceed three million

By Caribbean Medical News Staff

According to the Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ), the population will not exceed three million and this is based on declining fertility rates, high external migration, and declining mortality.

This was disclosed by Toni Shae-Freckleton, manager of the PIOJ’s Population and Health Unit when she addressed a recent JIS Think Tank in observance of Safer Sex Week, which was observed from mid-February, 2014.

Freckleton also said the decline in fertility could also be attributed to the success of the  Two is Better Than Too Many campaign launched in the 1980’s, noting that the drive had impacted current declining fertility rates.

“There has been discussion about Jamaica’s population growing out of control and that is not the case. Data from the Population and Housing Census and projections coming out of the Statistical Institute of Jamaica (Statin) indicate this on all levels” she stated.

In addition, Shae-Frecketon noted that the population of Jamaica was also aging with an increase in the over-60 age group (the fastest growing segment in the population) which she attributed to better health care and improved life expectancy. She also indicated that fertility rates have declined, however, with statistics revealing that the average children per woman had declined to  2.1 children based on the last Reproductive Health Survey of 2008.

“The last Housing and Population Census indicates that this particular age group is shrinking…when this is superimposed on replacement level fertility, which is an average of 2.1 children per woman, we have seen, over time, the vast improvements that Jamaica has made in the area of fertility and we are fast approaching replacement level fertility. Once we get to that point, this is where we are seeing the possibility of a declining population if it goes unchecked,” she stated.

Meanwhile, Chairman of the National Family Planning Board, Dr Sandra Knight said “with that campaign, we had encouraged and advocated for one woman to have two children based on the population analysis data that we had coming in and the probability of the population being too great for the resources that were present at the time.”

These changes are in concert with and speak to the success of Jamaica’s Population Sector Plan of Vision 2030 which has a goal of 2.1 children per woman by 2010 and maintained at this level.

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