Global Decline in Fertility Rates

There has been a global decline in fertility rates, say researchers. The study, published in the Lancet, followed trends in every country from 1950 to 2017. They found fertility rates had fallen so much that almost half of countries around the world are facing are not having enough children to maintain their population size.

Women in 1950 had an average of 4.7 children. Last year women has an average of just 2.4 children. Researchers point out that the demographic shift of having “more grandparents than grandchildren” will bring about profound changes to society.

But the global averages hide significant differences between nations and regions. In Cyprus women have one child on average, the UK is not much higher at 1.7, similar to most Western European countries. While the fertility rate in Niger, west Africa, is 7.1.

When the fertility rate drops below approximately 2.1  the population will eventually start to decline. In 1950, there were no nations in this position. Society is rapidly transitioning to a point of a declining population. As more countries advance economically, more will have lower fertility rates.



Photo: “Venus of Willendorf” by Georgi Nemtzov is licensed under CC BY 2.0