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Population Development

Within a span of 35 years, between 1975 and 2010, Yemen’s population increased from 6 to 23 million. At the present growth rate of 3%, one of the highest in the world, Yemen’s population would reach 34 million by 2025. The issue of population growth is one of the most important challenges facing the country today. 

Rapid population growth slows down Yemen’s development in many ways. It increases the pressure on the limited area of arable land and scarce water resources to produce food, making it harder to improve food security and combat malnutrition. The population is young, with 45% under the age of 15, resulting in a rapid rise in the school age population and demand for education. Demand for other public services including health care and social protection services is creating similar pressure, with growing rate of unemployment. 

Population growth is related to a number of factors. Early marriage, limited girls education, high female illiteracy, high adolescent fertility rate and the low use of contraceptives, all contribute to the relatively high total fertility rate (TFR) (6.2 births per woman). The unmet need for family planning is high (37%), and cultural taboos and misconceptions impede access to existing services. 

UNFPA supports the government with data collection for policy, planning and programming. Improvements in data availability and analysis will result in improved decision-making, policy formulation and resource allocation around population dynamics, sexual and reproductive health, and gender equality. 

UNFPA provides technical and financial support for the implementation of the Demographic Health Survey (DHS and the 2014 Census.