These are the countries with the youngest populations in the world – and South Africa is way down the list
- In some countries, children make up a disproportionately high percentage of the population.
- The World Bank tracks the percentage of each country's population that's aged 14 or younger.
- Among the countries with the most children are Nigeria, Afghanistan, and Uganda.
- South Africa, for all its reputation as a young country, is pretty old in African terms.
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But some countries are still disproportionately young - with children comprising as much as 50% of their populations.
According to the United Nations, disproportionately young populations typically belong to developing countries due to poverty, high child mortality rates, and a lack of infrastructure, medical resources, and education.
In recent years, scholars such as economist Andre Gunder Frank have also cited European colonisation of these countries during the 16th to 20th centuries as a cause to the overall lack of resources leading to disproportionately young populations.
The World Bank tracks the percentage of each country's population under the age of 15, allowing us to see which countries had disproportionately young populations in 2018, the most recent year for which data is available.
Though South Africa has a large population of young people – and a reputation as a young country – it is practically ancient by the standard of many African countries. According to the latest available population estimates a little under 20% of the population is under the age of 15 right now.
By contrast there are 25 countries in the world, most of them elsewhere in Africa, where where children make up more than 40% of the population.
These are the countries with a much higher proportion of children than South Africa.
25. Guinea — 42.03% under 15
24. Republic of Congo — 42.11% under 15
23. Cote d'Ivoire — 42.28% under 15
22. Sao Tome and Principe — 42.44% under 15
21. Benin — 42.48% under 15
20. Cameroon — 42.50% under 15
19. Afghanistan — 42.64% under 15
18. Senegal — 42.73% under 15
17. Central African Republic — 42.84% under 15
16. Timor-Leste — 43.52% under 15
15. Malawi — 43.74% under 15
14. Nigeria — 43.84% under 15
13. Zambia — 44.46% under 15
12. Mozambique — 44.53% under 15
11. Tanzania — 44.69% under 15
10. Burkina Faso — 44.95% under 15
9. The Gambia — 45.07% under 15
8. Burundi — 45.09% under 15
7. Democratic Republic of Congo — 46.16% under 15
6. Somalia — 46.33% under 15
5. Angola - 46.62% under 15
4. Chad - 46.86% under 15
3. Uganda - 47.41% under 15
2. Mali - 47.53% under 15
1. Niger — 50.12% under 15
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