544 PART NINE THE REAL ECONOMY IN THE LONG RUN This problem is most apparent in the case of human capital. Countries with high population growth have large numbers of school-age children. This places a larger burden on the educational system. It is not surprising, therefore, that educational attainment tends to be low in countries with high population growth. The differences in population growth around the world are large. In devel-oped countries, such as the United States and western Europe, the population has risen about 1 percent per year in recent decades, and it is expected to rise even more slowly in the future. By contrast, in many poor African countries, population growth is about 3 percent per year. At this rate, the population doubles every 23 years. Reducing the rate of population growth is widely thought to be one way less developed countries can try to raise their standards of living. In some countries, this goal is accomplished directly with laws regulating the number of children
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