According to a research published in the journal Science (July 29, 2011), future trends in global population growth could be significantly affected by improvements in both the quality and quantity of education, particularly female education. Projections of future population trends that do not explicitly include education in their analysis may be flawed, it said. The integration of education in the analyses adds a ‘human quality’ dimension to projections of fertility, mortality, and migration. As education also affects health, economic growth, and democracy, these projections provide a more comprehensive picture of where, how, and under what conditions human well-being is increasing. The study uses a novel ‘multi-state’ population modelling approach to incorporate education attainment level, along with age and sex.
The research reinforces earlier findings that the level of formal education achieved by women is, in most cases, the single most important determinant of population growth. More educated women generally have fewer children, better general health, and higher infant survival rates. Researchers Wolfgang Lutz and Samir KC from the Wittgenstein Centre for Demography and Global Human Capital — a collaboration between the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA), the Vienna Institute of Demography (VID) of the Austrian Academy of Sciences (ÖAW) and the Vienna University of Economics and Business (WU), evaluated the effect of education on population growth to 2050 using four alternative education scenarios based on identical sets of educationspecific fertility, mortality, and migration rates. The authors emphasise that the effect of better education on population growth may not be obvious for some time as because the effect on fertility of girls entering school now may not be evident for about 15 years, when they enter their prime child bearing. The research highlights the strong link between economic growth and ‘human capital.