Nepal should invest in education, skill development, empowerment and employment to get benefited from the demographic dividend, says the United Nations Population Fund’s (UNFPA) report on demographic dividend of Nepal.
Demographic dividend generally refers to the period, where a country witnesses decline in fertility and mortality rates.
In terms of demographic dividend, fertility in Nepal declined by 63 percent during 1976-2014 from 6.3 children per woman to 2.3, driven by public inclination towards having smaller families and better access to contraception.
Declining birth rate results in small size of youth-dependent population, thus freeing the working-age population to move for work.
The number of working Nepalese has surpassed the country’s total population and a similar trend is expected to continue till 2047.
However, Nepal has witnessed a big pool of young population aged 10-24 years because of demographic changes in the past decades. This group includes adolescents aged 10-19 years and youth aged 15-24 years.
As per the National Population and Housing Census 2011 of the Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS), 32.8 percent of Nepalese comprised of adolescents and youths in 2011.
According to CBS statistics, the proportion of Nepali youth will remain above 25 percent until 2031.
This group of young population will add to the economic development of the country if provided with proper learning and work opportunities, noted the report.
However, finding jobs and migrating for employment remain a challenge for this young population group as most of them are living in rural areas.
In this regard, the report urges that investment in human development, targeting adolescents and youth are most critical to ensure opportunities for youth and spur innovation needed for a sustainable future.
The report noted that investment in education and healthcare should not be limited to men as 53 percent of the working Nepalese in the age group of 15-64 years are women.
“So, the opportunity to enrich the lives of young people, including males & females and enable them to expand their individual choices and shape an innovative & sustainable future is important,” says the report.