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Demography can be defined as the study of human population. It involves taking statistics on their size, distributions and structures plus how they change due to birth, deaths, aging and migration of persons. Here we investigate the demographic characteristics of an industrialized country (France) and an advanced developing country (South Africa). France republic is the largest country in West-Europe with an exclusive Economic Zone covering an area of 11,035,000 km, second after United States. For over 500 years in the past, France has possessed major power and great influences in Europe and also the world. In around 1800, France faced a typical historical population evolution. France population grow was quite slow due to diminishing birth rates which may explain the collapse of France in the Second World War. Perhaps if she would have experienced a strong growth like of Germany by then, they would be presently summing up to about 110 million (Oppenheimer, 2008).
South Africa is a Parliamentary Democracy state in the southern tip of Africa with a coastline in both the Indian and Atlantic Oceans of about 2,800 kilometers. She has got nine provinces and eleven official languages allowed by their constitution. They include; Afrikaans, English, isiNdebele, isiXhosa, isiZulu, Sepedi, Sesotho, Setswana, siSwati, Tshivenda, and Xitsonga. The country composition is 79.4% black; 9.2% white; 8.7% coloured; 2.7% Asians.
France occupies an area of 551,670 sq. km. (220,668 sq. mi.) with a current population of 64.7 million. The majority ethnic groups are the Celtic, Latin, Slavic, North African, Sub-Saharan African, Indochinese plus a minority Basque. In terms of Religion, the majority is Roman Catholics followed by Muslims, Protestants and a few Jews. French National Institute of Statistic approximates that 8% of the country's population are foreign-born immigrants. According to Gerard Noiriel,' one third of the population currently living in France is of "foreign" descent.'
On the other hand, South Africa occupies an area of 1.2 million sq. km. (470,462 sq. mi.) and a current population of about 50 million. Christianity is the predominant religion before the traditional African, Hinduism, Islam and Jewish. Most of her population is concentrated in urban areas due to rural urban migrations in such for jobs and better resources. City of Johannesburg has the highest population of almost 3.9 million people followed by Cape Town (Leonard, 2001).
The population growth in France is 0.5% per year. This is due to infant mortality rate of 3.8 per 1000 live borns, a total fertility rate of 1.97 per woman and life expectancy of 81 years. The majority lie between the ages 15-64 years constituting 65% of the total population whereby the lower age bracket constitute 18.6% while the upper takes up the remaining 16.4%. The sex ratio is 0.98 for the total population but 1:1 for the majority age bracket. Population growth rate in South Africa is 1.2%, an aggregate of infant mortality rate of 47per 1000 live births; birth rate of 19.6% and death rate of17% per 1000 population; total fertility rate of 2.33 new born per a woman. The reflected life expectancy ratio it 49.2 years, very low as compared to 81years of France (Oppenheimer, 2008).
France has a GDP of $2.66 trillion and per capita GDP of $33,678. Economic activities undertaken in agricultural sector includes products like wheat; sugar beets; wines and dairy products (Oppenheimer, 2008). Industrial economic activities produce aircrafts, electronics, food processing, machinery and steel which they export. She is a major trading partner to U.S and European Union. S.A yields a GDP of $287 billion and a per capita income of $5,787. The GDP composition is 7% Agriculture and mining, 20% industrial activities and 73% service industry. Their economic activities are base on natural resources with an exception of petroleum products and bauxite. Worldwide, she is the only country that utilizes coal to manufacture fuel. She is one of the main world producers of gold, platinum, manganese and chrome (Leonard, 2001).
In conclusion, France is more developed than South Africa as shown by their GDPs. The fact that South Africa has got unemployed persons while France outsources manpower explains the differences in economic stabilities. The quality of basic and medical care is better in France, evident by the low infant mortality rates and high life expectancy, than in South Africa. In spite of all these differences, it does not mean that the developing countries cannot stabilize like the developed but some effort and measures should be taken to ensure controllable demography, better and free education and medical care. With numerous programmes by the developed countries to help the developing countries we shall be able to create a better world.