The birth rate in Syria has declined drastically over the past three decades, reported Teshreen. daily. According to figures quoted in the newspaper, in 1999 the rate of birth was down to 3.7 births a year per woman, compared to an average of 8.5 births per woman in 1970.
According to the report, the average age at which Syrians are getting married has also changed. Whereas in 1970 Syrian men used to marry at the average age of 25.9, today they are getting married at 28.9. Women are marrying at the average age of 25.1 as opposed to 20.6 in 1970.
However, although these numbers show a drastic decrease in the size of families throughout the nation, Syria still maintains its relatively high population growth rate compared to other countries. With a total population of about 15 million people in 1999—not including 18,000 Arabs living in the Israeli-occupied—Golan Heights—nearly 50 percent of the citizens are under the age of 15. Currently, the population growth rate is around 3.5 percent, meaning a doubling of the country's population every 18 years.
Rapid population growth, coupled with a sluggish economy has caused a variety of problems. Every year an estimated 200,000 are added to the workforce, resulting in high unemployment rates and low salaries for those who can find work. About 30 percent of the population resides in the Damascus region, which also happens to be the country’s main commercial and industrial center. – (Albawaba-MEBG)
© 2000 Mena Report (www.menareport.com )