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Natural Awakenings Tucson

Falling Fertility Rate Threatens World Stability

Newborn Baby


As reported in The Lancet, researchers at the University of Washington Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation showed the global total fertility rate (TFR) nearly halved from 1950 levels, when women had an average of 4.7 children each, to 2.4 in 2017. The study indicates it could fall below 1.7 by the turn of the century. As a result, global population may peak at 9.7 billion around 2064 before falling to 8.8 billion by 2100. Some nations will also age dramatically, with as many people becoming senior citizens as those being born. If the fertility rate falls below a ratio of about two to one, then the size of the population starts to fall.  Funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the report states, “Our findings suggest that continued trends in female educational attainment and access to contraception will hasten declines in fertility and slow population growth. A sustained TFR lower than the replacement level in many countries, including China and India, would have economic, social, environmental and geopolitical consequences. Policy options to adapt to continued low fertility while sustaining and enhancing female reproductive health will be crucial in the years to come.”