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Demographic Pressure and Population Policies in Rwanda, 1962-1994.

Population and Societies

319, December 1996

IIt would be absurd to cite overpopulation in Rwanda as the cause of the tragedies it and its neighboring countries are presently suffering. The political crises have political causes and the criminal acts have their own perpetrators. However, it would be no less absurd to deny the role that population density, fertility levels and trends, and other economic, sociological and cultural factors have played in the succession of crises plaguing this area. In July 1996, John May, as a doctoral candidate in demography at the Sorbonne, presented a well-received dissertation, entitled "Urgency and Complacency: Demographic Pressure and Policy Responses in Rwanda (1962-1994)." He initiated this research when he was the 1991-92 Visiting Scholar at the Population Reference Bureau in Washington, DC. Currently a senior demographer at The Futures Group International in Washington, DC, John May in this article presents an overview of the demographic situation in Rwanda, a country that continues to suffer the chronic problems associated with rapid population growth.