The world’s population will reach the seven billion mark on October 31 and with the increase in population, Sri Lanka too will face a number of challenges, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) said today.
UNFPA sources said Sri Lanka would have to face a number of socio-economic challenges with the increasing population such as rising unemployment, the need to increase access to information on reproductive health and an increase in educational opportunities.
They said Sri Lanka had one of the fastest ageing populations in the developing world with 10 percent of the country’s population being over 60 years of age.
The sources said that by 2025 the elderly would account for 20 percent of the country’s population with women outnumbering men.
They said adolescents and youth account for 26 percent of the country’s population and is the largest youth population in Sri Lanka’s demographic history and while Sri Lankan youth population between ages 15 to 24 is 5.6 million they lack accurate information on reproductive health and contraception.
According to the UNFPA the unemployment rate has risen from 29 percent in 1990 to 30.8 percent in 2005. The national rate of contraceptive use has also increased from 61.7 percent to 70.2 percent from 1987 to 2007. However contraceptive use has not been adequate in some areas such as Batticaloa where contraception use was 34.5 percent.
With the rising population new challenges arise and these need to be addressed, the sources said. (Olindhi Jayasundere)