flag
  • 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.
  • For more stories go to www.BusinessInsider.co.za.  

The world's population is ageing, thanks to improving vaccines, antibiotics, and other medical technologies.

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

Jae C. Hong / Business Insider

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

Shiraaz Mohamed

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

Themba Hadebe / Getty Images

4. Chad - 46.86% under 15

3. Uganda - 47.41% under 15

2. Mali - 47.53% under 15

1. Niger — 50.12% under 15

Receive a daily email with all our latest news: click here.

Also from Business Insider South Africa: