Data Interpretation: the United States and Nigeria
Public health is paramount for all nations in the world. Every country should know the size and the composition of its population to develop health policies and programs that will cater to every group. The World Health Organization conducts research regarding issues that affect health and identifies data that is essential in decision-making in different countries. Such data include that of the United States and Nigeria as they are interpreted and compared below.
The growth rate of Nigeria's population is three times bigger than that of the United States because that the rate of the last was 0.75 % in 2015 (World Health Organization, 2016) while that of Nigeria was 2.67 % in the same year (World Health Organization, 2016). Several factors contribute to the difference in the growth rate of the population in the two countries. One could be that the US is a developed nation while Nigeria is a developing one. In developing countries, the levels of poverty and unemployment are high. Families tend to bear more children with the hope that one if not all will prosper and save the rest from poverty. Additionally, those who are not employed have more time with their partners, and sex serves as a stress reliever of lacking a job.
Another reason is the deficiency of adequate education and facilities for family planning. In the United States, facilities providing education regarding family planning such as contraceptives are readily available. In the USA, the contraceptives prevalence is about 76.4 % ("United States Demographics Profile 2016", 2016) while in Nigeria, the rate is relatively small with about 15.1 % ("Nigeria Demographics Profile 2016", 2016). An additional contributing factor could be the issue of alcoholism. In Nigeria, children start drinking alcohol at the age of 15 in some regions while in the United States, this age is 21 years (World Health Organization, 2016b). Even in some parts of Nigeria, 36 % of the population is alcohol-addicted (World Health Organization, 2016a). Alcoholism can lead to sex and unwanted pregnancies.
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The population of the United States is composed of around 18.84 % of the children aging between 0 and 14 years, 15 and 24 years are 13.46 %, 25 to 54 years compile 39.6 %. Those aging between 55 and 64 years make 12.85 % of the whole population while those above the age of 65 are 15.25 % ("United States Demographics Profile 2016", 2016). On the other hand, around 42.79 % of the population of Nigeria is composed of people aging between 0 and 14 years. 19.48 % is 15 - 24 years, 30.65 % is 25 -54 years, 3.96 % is 55 - 64 years, and about 3.12 % is over 65 years ("Nigeria Demographics Profile 2016", 2016). Additionally, the population that is living in the urban area in Nigeria was estimated to be about 47.8 % in the year 2015 ("Nigeria Demographics Profile 2016", 2016) while in the United States such a criterion was around 81.6 % in the same year ("United States Demographics Profile 2016", 2016). Between 0 to 54 years, the numbers of males are almost equal with of the female while after 54 years, the number of women in the population exceeds that of men in both countries. ("United States Demographics Profile 2016", "Nigeria Demographics Profile 2016", 2016) The community composition indicates that the population of Nigeria is growing at a higher rate than that of the United States.
The total dependency ratio in the United States is around 50.9 % while the dependency ratio of the youth is about 28.6 %, and that of the elderly is 22.3 % ("United States Demographics Profile 2016", 2016). Conversely, in Nigeria, the dependency ratio is 87.7 % whereby 82.6 % of the rate is comprised of the youth and 5.1 % of the elderly people ("Nigeria Demographics Profile 2016", 2016). The data evidently shows that there is a high level of youth unemployment in Nigeria compared to that in the United States where it is relatively small.
The rate of mortality is comparably lower in the United States than in Nigeria. The population aging five years and below is affected very much by deaths. In Nigeria, the under-five mortality rate is about 117 deaths per 1000 live births (World Health Organization, 2016) while in the US, it is about seven deaths (World Health Organization, 2016b). Additionally, the maternal mortality ratio is much higher in Nigeria than in the United States. This indicates that the provision of infant and maternal health facilities and care in Nigeria is destitute compared to that of the United States. In the US, the antenatal healthcare is more than 90 %; and skilled health personnel attends more than 95 % of births (World Health Organization, 2016b), but in Nigeria, it is less than 55 % and 50 % respectively (World Health Organization, 2016a). Besides, there is a variation in the gender mortality rate in both countries. The death rate in males is higher in both countries compared to the female mortality rate. This can be explained by the genetic composition of the male and the female. However, infants and children under five years in both countries benefit from immunization services from the government.
Infants and children aging 12 years and below benefit more from health care interventions from the government. The responses include vaccination against measles, smear-positive treatment of TB, post-natal health care, and provision of skilled health personnel to attend to births. Moreover, the government in both countries strives to provide clean water for drinking and enhanced sanitation facilities.
The life expectancy differs significantly in both countries at birth and sixty. In America, the life expectancy at birth is about 79 (World Health Organization, 2016b). However, it is below 60 in Nigeria (World Health Organization, 2016a). It shows that a young one in the US has higher chances of growing than in Nigeria. The difference occurs because the USA provides high-quality health service at birth compared to Nigeria where the quality of the services is relatively weak. Additionally, life expectancy in the US is higher at 23 (World Health Organization, 2016b) compared to Nigeria which has about 17 (World Health Organization, 2016a). Further, healthy life expectancy at birth in the USA is higher than in Nigeria.
If I were a public health official who is looking at the data for the first time, the question that I would raise is how the gap of life expectancy between the two countries can be reduced. Another issue is how the expectation of healthy life can be enhanced in both countries. Healthcare and facilities differ significantly in both nations across all age groups, and the rate of mortality is much higher in Nigeria compared to the US. Additionally, the data indicates that 100% of the US population benefits from improved drinking water and sanitation (World Health Organization, 2016b) compared to Nigeria where only less than 60 % can reach such services (World Health Organization, 2016a). An assumption would be that the level of economic development creates the differences.
In conclusion, statistical data of a country are important in providing information to the government and policy makers that will enhance service provision to the citizens. High-quality services, especially healthcare, improve the life expectancy of the population.