Topics: Demography, Population, Population ecology Pages: 6 (1614 words) Published: April 29, 2015
[1b] Explain the main factors that have contributed to the sudden spurt in the population growth rate since the mid 1950’s. (Marks 15) The population growth rate in Mauritius since mid-1950’s has seen a sudden increase and this was mainly due to the health conditions, fertility rate, age structure, health care services, old age pensions. In 1952, the general population of Mauritius increased to around 148 thousands more precisely 70 thousands males and 78 thousand females.


The health conditions in Mauritius were poor in the 17, 18 and 19 centuries. There were epidemics and parasitic diseases. The Spanish flue in 1919 shot the mortality rate. 60 per 1000 people were killed by the Spanish flue. Thus, the early period was one of high death rates as well as birth rates with the population remaining almost constant. Improvements in the health conditions were present in the year 1920 where the death rate fell. There was the chlorination of water supply and campaigns against malaria and hookworm. Soon there was the eradication of malaria which brought about with the introduction of DDT in 1948 which caused a fall in the death rates. From around 27 per 1000 in 1926- 1940, death rates fell to 11 per 1000 in 1956-1960.


In addition, the fifties were a period of high fertility. After being around 35% for most of the time after 1920, it shot up to 44.7% in the 1946-1950 and 43.3 % live births in the 1954-1956. The 1950’s were the baby boom for Mauritius as it was in many other parts of the world.


A special feature of the early 1950 was the youthful character of the population. 43% of the population was under 15 years of age in 1957; the population in the age group 15-64 compromised 53% of the population and above 60 years old made up only 3% of the population.


The population growth rate in Mauritius in the mid 1990’s was also affected by the health care facilities. Prior to the creation of the ministry, health care services were the responsibility of the medical and health department, which had been created in 1894. With the setting up of the ministry, systematic improvement were made for the provision of health care. Medical facilities were available but not free of charge. The establishment of a free national health service was an outstanding development in the health care in the pre independence era. All these contributed to a better standard of living and hence a fall in death rate.


Moreover, in 1950, a non-contributory old age pension was introduced. It was provided to old persons aged 65years and above and blind persons above 40 years. This also improved the standard of living of the people and the life expectancy of old aged persons were also improved.

Hence to conclude, not a single factor but different factors together have led to the sudden spurt in the population growth rate since mid-1950.

[2] What were the major outcomes from the sudden increases in the population since the1950’s? What were the measures recommended by Meade to remedy this situation? (Marks 12).

The main factors that have contributed towards the sudden increase in the population in Mauritius since the 1950’s have already been identified in question 1(b). The outcomes of such an increase was first of all on the economy of the country. The economic situation of Mauritius fell drastically. A rise in the population growth of about 3% per annum and a gross national product(GNP) at constant prices increasing at a rate of about 1%-2% had automatically generate a fall in the gross national product per capita since the increased in the GNP was not being matched to the increase in population rate. The gross national product per head was used as an indicator of standard of living hence a fall in the GNP per head from RS 1078 in 1953 to RS 956 in 1958 implied a fall in the standard of living of the population. This...
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