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Learning lessens early marriages and births

Education empowers women to overcome discrimination. Girls and young women who are educated have greater awareness of their rights, and greater confidence and freedom to make decisions that affect their lives, improve their own and their children’s health and chances of survival, and boost their work prospects. One in eight girls is married by the age of 15 in sub-Saharan Africa and South and West Asia, and one in seven has given birth by the age of 17. Ensuring that girls stay in school is one of the most effective ways of averting child marriage and early birth. Education is also a key factor in hastening the demographic transition to lower birth and mortality rates.

In Ethiopia, 32% of girls with less than primary education were married before the age of 15, compared with less than 9% of those with secondary education.

In Angola, the fertility rate of a woman with no education was 7.8 children, compared with 5.9 children for a woman with primary education and 2.5 children for a woman with secondary education or more.

In Pakistan, while only 30% of women with no education believe they can have a say over the number of children they have, the share increases to 52% among women with primary education and to 63% among women with lower secondary education.

If all countries expanded their school systems at the same rate as the Republic of Korea and Singapore, there would be almost 850 million fewer people in the world by 2050 than if enrolment rates remained at 2000 levels.

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*Fertility rate is the average number of children that would be born to a woman over her lifetime

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Coming soon: Come back to this site on 19 September 2013 for more infographics, from the people at Information Is Beautiful...