Knowing a country’s population growth or decline rate is useful for all nations, even the least developed. The fertility rate is a popular indicator used to gauge this increase.
When determining a country’s replacement rate, fertility and birth rates are often employed as indicators of how many new citizens are born each year compared to how many people die each year.
The expansion or contraction of a country’s population may substantially influence its progress and economic security.
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Fertility rate criteria
Two common assumptions are used to simplify the process when calculating fertility rates. First, it implies that a woman’s fertility increases with age (with a peak in her early 30s) and that this pattern continues throughout her childbearing years.
First, it presupposes that every woman will be able to have children throughout those years (ages 15 to 44, or in some cases, ages 15 to 49).
High and lows in the fertility rate.
World fertility rates in 2019 were 2.4 children per woman, according to the World Bank. Australia, much of Europe, and South Korea all have lower rates than nations with a lesser level of economic development or prosperity (such as the United States).
More women are acquiring an education and pursuing their jobs before having a family, which has been attributed to a fall in the worldwide fertility rate and fewer childhood fatalities.
There should be 2.1 children born to each woman to sustain the population level of civilization. Countries having fertility rates below this threshold may see gradual aging of their populations and shrinkage of their total population.
Some nations, particularly those facing overpopulation, may benefit from lower fertility rates and the accompanying population shrinkage by lessening the demand for infrastructure and social services.
A workforce that lacks fresh employees to replace those who are retiring, or too few workers contributing to social programs (such as Social Security in the U.S.) that assist individuals who cannot work or have retired, might result in declining fertility rates.
Most Fertile Countries (by births per woman) – World Bank 2021 – Top 10 (2019 data):
- Niger – 6.8
- Somalia – 6.0
- Congo (Dem. Rep.) – 5.8 (tie)
- Mali – 5.8 (tie)
- Chad – 5.6
- Angola – 5.4
- Burundi – 5.3 (tie)
- Nigeria – 5.3 (tie)
- Gambia – 5.2
- Burkina Faso – 5.1
The World Bank’s 2021 rankings of the 15 countries with the lowest fertility rates (based on births per woman):
- South Korea – 0.9
- Puerto Rico (U.S. territory) – 1.0
- Hong Kong (China SAR) – 1.1 (tie)
- Malta – 1.1 (tie)
- Singapore – 1.1 (tie)
- Macau (China SAR) – 1.2 (tie)
- Ukraine – 1.2 (tie)
- Spain – 1.2 (tie)
- Bosnia and Herzegovina – 1.3 (tie)
- San Marino – 1.3 (tie)
- Moldova – 1.3 (tie)
- Italy – 1.3 (tie)
- Andorra – 1.3 (tie)
- Cyprus – 1.3 (tie)
- Luxembourg – 1.3 (tie)
Fertility rates in Africa
Several nations in Africa have the highest fertility rates. 4.6 is the world’s highest average fertility rate for Sub-Saharan African nations. With 6.8 children per woman, Niger topped the list, followed by Somalia (6.0), the Democratic Republic of the Congo (5.8), Mali (5.8), and Chad (5.8%). (5.6).
At only 2.2 children per woman, Tunisia has the lowest fertility rate in Africa. The lowest incidence of HIV infection in Africa is still in the middle of a list of more than 200 nations and territories. Niger has maintained its position as the world’s most populous country, with 46 births per 1,000 inhabitants in 2019.
Several factors contribute to high rates of abortion in Africa: poor contraceptive usage, early and universal marriage; high fertility rates; early childbirth; and the high societal values put on motherhood.
The UN’s study on the topic cites these factors. Nigeria’s fertility rate has dropped from 6.35 in 1960 to 5.3 in 2019. However, this is a worldwide trend, not a regional one, as many other African nations are seeing.
Fertility rates in Asia
Only Puerto Rico (1.0 children per woman), Singapore (1.1), and the Chinese Special Administrative Region Hong Kong (1.1) have lower fertility rates than South Korea.
Fertility rates in China (1.7) and India (2.2)—the world’s two most populated countries—are in the lower-middle range. A country’s reproductive health policy and cultural norms affect both numbers.
For example, China had a one-child policy until around 2016, but in August 2021, approved legislation proclaiming that married couples might have up to three children informally.
In the 1990s, Afghanistan had one of the world’s highest fertility rates, at over 8.0. The current fertility rate in the nation is 4.5. Since more Afghan women are gaining an education and finding work, the number of women in Afghanistan has decreased.
Immediately after the Taliban was driven from Afghanistan, NATO nations assisted in the form of funding for schools, family planning clinics, and birth control to help the population.
As a result, infant mortality rates have also decreased. It will be some time before we know how the Taliban’s 2021 regaining of Afghanistan will affect these accomplishments and the country’s fertility rate.
Although Pakistan’s fertility rate of 3.5 is far from the highest, its fast-expanding population is a cause for concern due to its limited resources and undeveloped infrastructure.
Across the nation, schools, medical facilities, and low-income neighborhoods are being overwhelmed by an influx of too many people. Pakistan’s population increase is often blamed on a lack of family planning and birth control and other religious and political pressures.
Fertility Rates in Europe
No nations in Europe have a fertility rate exceeding 2.0, which is a worldwide trend, and the fertility rate has decreased in recent years. Socioeconomic incentives to postpone childbirth, a decrease in the expected number of children, a deficit in child care, and a shift in gender roles have all been cited as contributing causes.
In Europe, France has the highest fertility rate, with a rate of 1.9. This rate, however, falls short of the 2.1 births per woman needed to maintain the population.
French fertility rates are among Europe’s highest. As the nation’s population continues to decline, the government has emphasized initiatives to raise the number of families in the country.
In Italy, where the fertility rate is presently 1.3, the dwindling population is likewise a cause for worry. Italian first-time moms are the oldest in Europe, with an average age of 31.
Women in Italy are unable to have children early in life because they lack the financial resources to raise a kid, and the government does not help with the expenses of raising a child.
Because of Italy’s low birth rate and higher life expectancy, the country’s population is much older than the average for Europe (which is 42.8 years).
In 2019, the fertility rate in Norway was expected to be 1.5 children per woman. The average age of first-time moms in Norway is now 29.5, which has a significant impact on the country’s fertility rate.
Also See: Suicide Rate by Country 2022
In addition, the number of big families is declining. Norwegian authorities are considering ways to promote motherhood, such as compensating mothers in pension savings for each child they have.
List of countries with the highest fertility rates:
- Niger (6.9)
- DR Congo (5.9)
- Mali (5.9)
- Chad (5.7)
- Angola (5.5)
- Nigeria (5.4)
- Burundi (5.4)
- Burkina Faso (5.2)
- Gambia (5.2)
- Uganda (5)
|16||Central African Republic||4.7000|
|26||Republic of the Congo||4.4000|
|31||Sao Tome and Principe||4.3000|
|48||Papua New Guinea||3.6000|
|106||Saint Kitts and Nevis||2.1000|
|116||Antigua and Barbuda||2|
|122||Saint Vincent and the Grenadines||1.9000|
|141||Trinidad and Tobago||1.7000|
|172||United Arab Emirates||1.4000|
|182||Bosnia and Herzegovina||1.3000|