Population distribution refers to the ways in which the population of a given country is distributed into certain categories such as age, sex, occupation and geographical distribution.
This is the break down of the population of a country into age groups. age distribution in economics is very important as it shows the usefulness of population and the supply of labor required in different sectors of the economy. The population of a country can be divided into the following three age groups. These are; 0-17 years, 18-60 years and 60 years and above.
From the above classification, the population within the age bracket 0-17 years includes the infants, children, pupils in nursery, primary, secondary and tertiary institutions. This age group is called dependent population because they are not economically productive as they cannot be employed in the labor market. They will need to depend on the other groups for their needs. If the population of this age group is very high, it has lots of economic implications such as putting more pressure on the working class, low savings, provision of schools and other children goods and services.
The age group 18-60 years is popularly referred to as the active population or working population or labor force. this is the economic age bracket that are involved in productive activities or employment. because they are the working population and depend on themselves for substance, they are collectively called independent population. If the number of people in this group is high, there will be higher supply of labor and higher standard of living.
The age group 60 years and above is the old age, just like the children (0-17 years), they do not involve themselves in productive activities hence they are also classified as dependent population. In summary, the age distribution of any given population can be grouped as follows:
0-17 years is children (dependent population)
18-60 years is adult (working population or labor force)
60 years and above: Old age (dependent populations).
Importance of Age distribution of Population
1. Determination of tax: With the knowledge of age distribution of the population, the expected tax can be determined based on the number of people in the working group of labor force.
2. Knowledge of dependent: The number of the dependents (0-17 years and 60 years and above) can be determined easily through age distribution in a population.
3. Size of labor force: With a good age distribution, the number of people working can easily be determined.
4. Determination of government budget: The age structure of a population will assist government to draw up its budget. If for example the population of the children (0-17 years) is very high, it means the government will need to vote a huge amount of money to provide goods and services required by this age group than for other groups.
5. Production pattern: the age distribution of the population will help the manufacturer to determine the pattern of production to meet the needs of a particular age group.
6. It determines the nature of market: The understanding of the age structure of a population will help to determine the nature of market, eg, a population with high number of children will create more market for children goods and services.
7. It determines the birth and death rates: the age structure of a population will determine the rate of birth and death, eg, when the population of old people is higher than that of other groups, it means the death rate is going to be higher.
8. It determines the standard of living: The age structure of a given population will reveal the income per capital and standard of living. While high dependency population reduces income per capital and standard of living, high working population or labor force increases income per capital and standard of living.