Fertility Levels and Trends as Assessed in the 2012 Revision of World Population Prospects”

January 22, 2014 • Family Planning, Daily Email Recap

Fertility Levels and Trends as Assessed in the 2012 Revision of World Population Prospects”
See (PDF): http://www.un.org/en/development/desa/population/publications/pdf/fertility/Fertility-levels-and-trends_WPP2012.pdf

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
Since the 1950s the world has experienced profound declines in fertility and an increased postponement of the start of childbearing, though the level and pace of change in fertility have varied markedly among countries and areas. Historical trends in the timing and pace of fertility decline inform projections of future fertility levels, and the path that fertility is projected to take will have crucial implications for sustainable development and the health and well-being of individuals. The report Fertility Levels and Trends as Assessed in the 2012 Revision of World Population Prospects, prepared by the Population Division of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs of the United Nations Secretariat, presents a concise description of current fertility levels around the world, historical trends in the level and timing of fertility and projections of fertility to 2100, including the relative impact of fertility on population growth.

The key findings of this report are:

7. Fertility is a major contributor to population growth in many countries with projected fast population growth. In other countries, with projected total fertility below replacement, the fertility component will have a negative impact on population size over the period 2010-2100. In absolute terms, the impact of the fertility component by 2100 varies from an additional 647 million people in Nigeria to a decline of 425 million people in China.

1. Total fertility worldwide is currently about 2.5 children per woman but this masks considerable diversity, with 12 countries or areas with total fertility above six children per women while 75 have below-replacement level fertility. The least developed countries have the highest total fertility at above 4.5 children per woman.

2. Fertility has declined worldwide to unprecedented levels, from 5.0 children per woman in 1950-1955 to 2.5 children per woman in 2005-2010. The pace of change was particularly rapid from 1970-1975 to 1990-1995 when total fertility fell from 4.4 to 3.0 children per woman.

3. Fertility declines were significant in all regions with substantial and sustained fertility declines in Asia and Latin America and the Caribbean in particular, where total fertility declined from 5.8 and 5.9 children per woman, respectively, in 1950-1955 to about 2.3 children per woman in 2005-2010. The decline in fertility in Africa has been less rapid, declining from 6.6 children per woman in 1950-1955 to 4.9 children per woman in 2005-2010.

4. Nearly half of the world’s population currently lives in countries or areas with below-replacement level fertility, with some countries reaching historically unprecedented low fertility levels below a total fertility of 1.3 children per woman. Conversely, about seven per cent of the world’s population currently lives in countries or areas with total fertility above four children per woman.

5. Childbearing is being increasingly postponed to older ages and the adolescent birth rate has declined in all regions. Postponement of childbearing has become a feature of Europe, Northern America and parts of Asia with an increasing mean age of childbearing. In Africa and Latin America and the Caribbean, there has been little change in the mean age of childbearing and the adolescent birth rate has also remained high in both these regions.

6. The total fertility of the world is projected to decrease to 2.2 children per woman by 2045-2050 and further decrease to 2.0 children per woman by 2095-2100 under the medium variant fertility projection. Europe is the only region where fertility is projected to increase (to 1.8 children per woman in 2045-2050) whereas all the other regions are projected to see further declines in fertility. Total fertility in Africa is projected to decline to 3.1 children per woman by 2045-2050 while all other regions are projected to have below-replacement total fertility by that time.

 


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