Population Problems of Developing Countries

More than 80% population of the world lies in developing countries. The list of developing countries is very long. It includes all the countries of Asia (except only Japan), Africa, Latin America and some countries of Southern Europe.

The level of economic, social and technological development in these countries is, however, low and very low which has been affecting the agriculture efficiency and productivity of industrial development. In this article, we will discuss various population problems in these developing countries.

Most of the Asian countries like China, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, Philippines, and Nepal, are overpopulated and have a high growth rate. On the contrary, there are many countries which are treated as underpopulated.

They are underdeveloped because their population is relatively small and inadequate to utilize their abundant natural resources. Such countries are Brazil, Columbia, Peru, Argentina, etc. in Latin America; Russian Siberia, Kazakhstan and other countries of Central Asia.

These countries have abundant natural resources which cannot be developed due to lack of population. Thus, population problems of different developing countries may differ considerably.

Some of the significant population problems of the developing countries have been briefly discussed here.

The Rapid Growth of the Population:

The population of the developing countries has increased at a rapid pace due to sharply declining death rates and high birth rates.

In most of the developing countries, birth date continued to remain at a high level but the death rate has been checked because of the development and extension of medical facilities and improvement of sanitation and nutrition.

Causes of decline in death rate include general growth in income levels, control of epidemics, the decline in the incidence of malaria, influenza and other diseases, control of famines, etc. It is an admitted truth that malnutrition is an important factor underlying high mortality rates in developing countries.

The main cause of the high birth rate in the developing countries includes the predominance of agriculture, the universality of marriage, lake of education, mass poverty, and social and religious superstitions.

Many developing countries are passing through the stage of overpopulation and consequently are facing various population problems e.g. unemployment, poverty, shortage of food, clothing, shelter, water and other essential amenities.


The economies of most of the developing countries are largely based on agriculture. The secondary sector (manufacturing) and tertiary (services) sector are relatively less developed.

They are limited opportunities for employment for unskilled, semi-skilled and skilled and educated persons. In rural areas, a large number of agricultural workers face the problem of various type of unemployment.

In urban areas too unemployment is a common phenomenon. Many educated and skilled technocrats also have very limited opportunities for proper employment.

Consequently, both skilled and unskilled workers have to migrate to other areas or countries in search of employment.

Unemployment in rural areas proceeds rural to urban migration and thus big towns and cities become overcrowded, making living conditions to poorer and resulting in numerous social, economic and environmental problems.

Poverty and Malnutrition:

Poverty and resultant and malnutrition are common features of the developing countries. Due to mass poverty, people face a shortage of food supply and a balanced diet.

Their standard of living is low and housing condition is also poor and very poor. The low standard of hygiene and quality of nutrition lead to many health problems. Poverty comes in the way of improving health and housing conditions.

Backward Economy:

Most of the developing countries of the world have an agrarian economy which is yet backward. The agricultural works are mostly done by obsolete equipment and traditional methods resulting in low productivity.

Owing to the lake of knowledge of modern technology and proper financial resources, farmers rarely apply chemical fertilizers and other inputs in required quantities. Thus, the production per unit area is low and agriculture is not well developed.

The major part of the workforce is generally unskilled which has no proper knowledge and background of industrial development. Because of the underdevelopment of the industrial sector, the pressure on agriculture continuously increases.


Illiteracy is one of the major population problems in these countries. The female illiteracy rate is amazingly higher than the other counterpart.

Being, illiterates, people will not shed irrational ideas and religious superstitions and continue to have big families and will remain in poverty. Now it is quite obvious that education alone can change the attitudes of the people towards family, marriage and the birth of a child.


Some of the developing countries are underpopulated. The population problems of these countries are different from those of the overpopulated or densely populated countries.

Rate of economic development is slow in such countries because of small population size. Brazil, Columbia, Zaire, Central Asia, Asian Russia, Argentina, etc. have tremendous natural resources but have not well developed because of the lake of the population.