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Population and Employment - Business Studies Form 3


Population is the total number of people living in a particular area at a given time.Employment on the other hand refers to a situation where a person is engaged in a particular activity.

Information about population is important for planning and preparation of development plans

Basic concepts in population

The following are the basic concepts used in population.

Fertility: refers to the ability of a woman to give birth to a live child within the productive child bearing average age that ranges 15-45 years.

Fertility rate on the other hand refers to the average number of births per 1000 women.

Factors that determine fertility rate are:


Mortality: This is the number of deaths among members of a population in a given period.
Mortality rate or death rate therefore is the number of deaths per 1000 people in a given period.

Categories of mortality rate

Factors determining mortality rate are:

i) Use of modern technology has led to improved quality and quantity and variety of goods thus improved standards of living
ii) Political stability has reduced mortality rate
iii) Due to research which has led to modern medicine consequently better control of diseases

iv) Environmental conservation and better hygiene has reduced contamination and infections thus reducing death rate.


Population growth rate

It refers to the rate at which population changes in a country in a specific period of time for instance one year. Population can increase due to an increase in birth rate or reduce due to an increase in death rate.


This is a situation in a country where its resources cannot be fully utilised due to lack of sufficient labour. For example a country may have natural resources but may lack the appropriate labour force to exploit them.


This is a situation in a country where the population is higher than the resources available. Examples of such resources include land and machinery.

Optimum population

This is a situation in a country where the size of population is adequate for full utilisation of the available resources.The diagram below gives a summary of under population, over population and optimum population.

Ageing population

This refers to a population whose composition has a high proportion of old people of 60 years and above.The population structure below illustrates an ageing population.

Young population

This is a situation where a higher percentage of population in a country comprises of young people compared to the old people.The population structure below illustrates a young population.


Declining population

This is where the population of a country or an area is decreasing as a result of a higher death rate than the birth rate.

Implications of population size and structure on the development of a country

Population size is defined as the number of people in a given area at a given period of time. The population of Kenya is estimated to be 40 million people according to 2009 census.

On the other hand population structure refers to the composition of people in reference to sex, age and geographical distribution. Population structure and size may have positive or negative implications on the economic development of a country.


Positive implications of a large population

  • Increase in supply of labour
  • High levels of savings, taxation revenues and investment opportunities.
  • Increased demand for goods and services
  • Increased creative and innovative
  • Maximum utilization of resources
  • Boosts defense and security
  • Increase in foreign trade thus creating wealth.


Meaning of employment
This is a situation where an individual is involved in productive activities in order to earn income.

Forms of employment
There are two forms of employment; self employment and salaried employment.
Self employment: refers to a situation where an individual works for one' self to generate income.

Salaried employment: is a situation where an individual is hired to offer services for payment.

Unemployment refers to a situation where an individual is capable and willing to work at the wages being offered but cannot get a job or work.

The following pictures illustrates examples of a person in self employment and salaried employment.

Types of unemployment

The following are types of unemployment:

Cyclical unemployment

It is caused by changes in the level of economic activities.

Seasonal unemployment

It is caused by the changing seasons for example in agriculture and tourism. When such activities are off season the workers are rendered jobless.

Technological unemployment

This is brought about by the increased use of modern machines by firms rendering workers jobless. For example Automated Teller machines, Vending machines, among others.

The tea picking machine has rendered people jobless.

Click on the play button to view employees using computers.Increased use of machines has rendered workers jobless.

Frictional Unemployment

This arises when:

  • when individuals are changing jobs
  • when individuals are unaware of existence of jobs elsewhere
  • reluctance to take up jobs else where
  • on completion of a temporary employment

Disguised unemployment

In this an individual is employed but the earnings are not commensurate to their skill and experience.

Residual unemployment

It affects people with physical or mental disabilities because they are unable to engage themselves in productive activities.


The causes of unemployment are;

High population growth rate

There is where there is high population growth rate as compared to job opportunities in the economy.

Technological changes

This is unemployment due to use of modern machines by firms.

Inappropriate education system

This occurs where the education system does not instill the right skills which young people can use to engage themselves in income generating activities.

Inadequate capital

This occurs due to low incomes which limit savings and investments for establishing and expansion of businesses.

Low entrepreneurial skills and culture has led to low income generating activities.

Poor planning and mismanagement of public resources by those entrusted with resources.


Education reform

To ensure that the education system is skill oriented to cope with the changing world. Introduction of TIVET (Technical Industrial Vocational and Entrepreneurial Training) programmes in Kenya is a way of educational reforms.

Rural development

Projects such as electrification, water supply, communication, roads and other facilities are installed in rural areas to discourage people from moving to urban areas. The new constitution devolves power and resources to counties.

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This is to ensure that employees acquire necessary skills to cope with technological advancement in their areas of specialisation.

Land reforms

A good land tenure system that encourages equitable distribution of land should be adopted so that idle land can be rented, sold or given out to those who will utilize it ultimately,for example the national land policy in the new constitution.

Affirmative action

This is a way of reducing inequality for example empowering women and minority groups in the rural areas.

Government initiated programmes

These programmes include Kazi Kwa Vijana initiative and Youth Enterprise Fund to empower the youth while there is a Women Enterprise Fund to assist women with loans.

Provision of loans

There are several organizations that offer loans to organized groups such as banks, co-operatives, micro-finance institutions such as Faulu Trust Fund, Kenya Women Finance Trust, among others.

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