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Consequences of rapid population increase in Kenya


Date Posted: 7/9/2014 11:29:42 AM

Posted By: Wishstar  Membership Level: Gold  Total Points: 7507

Consequences of Rapid Population Increase in Kenya

There are many ways of looking at the effects of a rapidly increasing population. There are problems in all of the areas of the society. The increasing number of new born children has led to a situation whereby more than fifty percent of the population in Kenya is composed of young people below the age of sixteen years who are dependent upon the remaining population. These young people need food, clothing, shelter, education, health care, transport, recreation and job opportunities.

The government, through the tax payer, has to provide most of these services while parents have to provide food, clothing, shelter and school fees. The nation as well as the parents, have to carry this burden of dependency when the number of youngsters who cannot produce goods and services exceeds the number of producers.

Kenya's high potential agricultural land is only eighteen percent of the total land area. If semi arid areas are included, the percentage of agricultural land is increased to thirty percent. This area is too small to support a high population. On the other hand, agriculture has not been able to grow at the same rate as the population. As a result, per capita food consumption is lower today than it was a few years ago. If the population growth rate continues, thousands of Kenyans would starve to death. We are all aware of the periodic drought, famine and starvation in some countries.

In our attempt to increase food production for an increasing number of people, we have cultivated the steep hillsides, river valleys, shallow soils and semi arid areas. All these areas cannot withstand a lot of interference by man. Over exploitation of such areas leads to severe erosion, environmental degradation and loss of productivity. Through this process, the future production potential of

our soil is being lost through mismanagement.

Industrial production has not been able to keep pace with the population growth. Kenyans have fewer goods and services per capita today than a few years ago. Industrial development, and the provision of schools, hospitals, transport and other social amenities have not kept pace with the increased population. The quality of service provided in this facilities has therefore been declining instead of improving. In spite of constructing more and larger hospitals, the queues at out patient departments are getting longer and health services continue to be overloaded.

All the extra Kenyans need to be housed. Development of houses is a slow and expensive undertaking. As the population increases, most Kenyans are doomed to live in slum cities and shanty towns. These temporary structures which are often constructed with low quality materials are a major hazard. Such unplanned shanty towns have no waste disposal systems, safe water, social amenities, or schools. They are breeding grounds for diseases, crime and frustrations.

Originally, people used to go to towns because of the job opportunities that were available there. Today, people move to towns as a result of rural despair. The family land has been sub divided until it can no longer produce food for the family. Without other sources of income, the stage is set for the family to move in search of greener pastures.

Lacking necessary skills for urban living, rural people who are forced into the urban exodus, by poverty, settle in the shanty towns. In these shanties, they find life exceedingly difficult. They try to live like rural people in an urban setting which only complicates their lifestyles.

As the population increases, people will continue to be more crowded. The more people there are in the nation, the higher the population density per given area. Overcrowding creates several problems including competition,violence, stress and other environmental diseases like high blood pressure and heart disease. Urban crime is often as a result of anonymity.

Overcrowding makes people settle wherever there is empty space without caring about the consequences. In Nairobi, people are known to build houses in flood prone areas, whereas in rural areas, people are building on steep slopes that are clearly inaccessible by roads.

As the population increases, forests are cleared to make room for agriculture and to provide firewood as well as building materials. This will inevitably lead to environmental degradation, floods and excessive soil erosion. The production capacity of our soil is likely to be lost at the time when it is most needed to feed the increasing population.

As people increase, they tend to keep more animals to provide them with meat and milk. More animals lead to over grazing and soil erosion. When semi arid areas are seriously overgrazed and eroded, they turn into deserts.

As the population increases,more and more children are being born. They need more schools, teachers and books. The quality of education is threatened due to too many children being handled by too few teachers. Too many teachers are being trained in a hurry to cope with increasing demand. The nation's resources are not able to provide the necessary educational materials that are essential for modern education.

Economic growth cannot keep pace with population growth. Every year, thousands of school leavers join an already flooded labor market. This situation makes grown up children who should be economically independent to continue depending on parents, friends and relatives. It also leads to idleness, mental depression and frustration.

A lack of sufficient job opportunities leads to under employment, a situation whereby highly qualified personnel are employed in very junior positions or in jobs where their skills are not fully utilized.

In order to solve these problems, we can begin to develop strategies in every sector of the economy which are aimed at lowering the birth rate. We can suggest ways to improve the efficiency of family planning programmes and the status of women and children. We can also promote direct and indirect policies that will ultimately lead to the adoption of a small family norm. Lastly, we should aim at providing the necessary services to all individuals irrespective of gender and marital or socioeconomic status to achieve this end.

Next: Education for the Physically Challenged in Kenya
Previous: Improvement of modern Kenyan educational system

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