As of midyear 2016, Tanzania had a population of 55.6 million, annual population growth rate of 3.1%, and 45.2% of Tanzania’s population was under age 15. The Total Fertility Rate, or the average number of children per woman over the course of her lifetime, had declined from 6.2 children in 1990 to 5.2 children per woman in 2015. In order for Tanzania to realize a demographic dividend, fertility must continue to decline. Combined with the right investments in health, education, and job creation, a decline in fertility could open a window of opportunity for economic growth.

Population pyramids can be used to show change to age structure over time as well as projected changes to age structure in the future. Looking at Tanzania’s population pyramids, change to the age structure is evident starting at “Tanzania 2030”.

Tanzania’s population pyramids from 1970 to 2010 reveal only a slight narrowing at the base of the pyramid. Indeed, between 1970 and 2010, fertility did decline from 6.8 children per woman to 5.4 children per woman. However, Tanzania’s population age structure hasn’t changed significantly in the last 40 years, total fertility rates remain high and, in general, each working age adult supports several dependents. Desired family size remains large in Tanzania, with men and women, on average, wishing to have a family of nearly 5 children. “Tanzania 2030” shows more noticeable narrowing of the bottom of the pyramid, based on United Nations projections that assume a decline in total fertility to 4.2 children per woman over her lifespan. “Tanzania 2050” shows further narrowing of the base of the population pyramid, based on the assumption that fertility will decline further to 3.3 children per woman. In this 2050 scenario, Tanzania would have a larger proportion of the population working-age and, if able to secure employment, able to contribute to economic growth.

Working Towards a Demographic Dividend in Tanzania

If Tanzania makes substantial investments in reproductive health and family planning, then fertility levels may begin to decline more significantly, and children will be more likely to achieve better basic levels of health. With additional investments in health and education and economic initiatives to facilitate job creation, Tanzania may be able to experience the rapid economic growth known as a demographic dividend. There is some ongoing work on the topic of a demographic dividend in Tanzania.


Population Reference Bureau, 2014 World Population Data Sheet, (Washington, DC: Population Reference Bureau, 2014).

United Nations Population Division, World Population Prospects: The 2012 Revision, (New York: United Nations, 2013).

World Bank Group. (2014) World DataBank. Retrieved from

Education statistics were taken from the most recent Demographic and Health Survey for each country.

World Bank Group. (2014) Worldwide Governance Indicators. Retrieved from

World Economic Forum, Global Competitiveness Report 2014-2015, (Geneva: Switzerland, 2014).


Gini index measures the extent to which the distribution of income or consumption expenditure among individuals or households within an economy deviates from a perfectly equal distribution. Thus a Gini index of 0 represents perfect equality, while an index of 100 implies perfect inequality.

Dependency ratio is the ratio of dependents--people younger than 15 or older than 64--to the working-age population--those ages 15 to 64. Although each country’s experience is different, countries that have realized a demographic dividend typically have a dependency ratio of less than 50 dependents for every 100 working-age adults.

Worldwide Governance Indicators are measured on a scale from -2.5 to +2.5. The closer to 2.5 the rating is, the stronger the governance. Government Effectiveness is a composite governance indicator with data from multiple sources. Political stability and Absence of Violence/Terrorism is a composite governance indicator with data from multiple sources More information on methodology available at:

Global Competitiveness Index defines competitiveness as the set of institutions, policies and factors that determine the level of productivity of a country. The level of productivity, in turn, sets the level of prosperity that can be earned by an economy. The different aspects of competitiveness are captured in 12 pillars, ranging from institutional strength to market size.