Abstract

This paper has two principal aims: (1) to analyze and measure how the demographic variables—mortality, fertility, and im migration—affect the cost of education; (2) to evaluate what possibilities developing countries, such as those of Latin America, have for a rapid educational improvement.

The paper relates demographic and educational variables of three different populations: Sweden, 1840–1965; the United States, 1850–1960; and Latin America, 1930–2000. Three educational variables are also considered: (a) school attendance rates by sex and age; (b) distribution of students of same age by grade; and (c) cost of student by grade.

Demographic changes in countries such as Sweden and the United States were favorable for the development of education. For the future, unless an increase of fertility occurs, mortality and fertility changes will not have a significant effect on the cost of education in these countries. In current less developed countries the demographic changes during the past were less favorable to educational development. A future reduction of fertility will significantly help them to achieve a higher educational level.

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