‘Baby bust’ warn­ing as global fer­til­ity rates fall

Western Morning News (Saturday) - - Uk And World News -

De­clin­ing fer­til­ity rates around the world are lead­ing to a “baby bust” in many coun­tries in­clud­ing the UK, health ex­perts have warned.

Glob­ally, fer­til­ity rates, which rep­re­sent the av­er­age num­ber of chil­dren a woman de­liv­ers over her life­time, have de­clined since 1950 and in 91 na­tions, rates are now not high enough to main­tain cur­rent pop­u­la­tion lev­els.

The large-scale study, pub­lished in the Lancet, found that in 2017, 91 coun­tries (in­clud­ing the UK, Sin­ga­pore, Spain, Nor­way and South Korea) had rates lower than two and were not main­tain­ing their cur­rent pop­u­la­tion size.

Mean­while, 104 na­tions were see­ing pop­u­la­tion in­creases due to their high fer­til­ity rates (rates above two).

The low­est rate was in Cyprus where, on av­er­age, a woman now gives birth to one child through­out her life, while the high­est was in Niger, with a to­tal fer­til­ity rate of seven chil­dren.

The fer­til­ity rate in the UK is 1.7, which is sim­i­lar to most Western Eu­ro­pean coun­tries.

Dr Christo­pher Mur­ray, di­rec­tor of the In­sti­tute for Health Met­rics and Eval­u­a­tion (IHME) at the Univer­sity of Washington, said: “These sta­tis­tics rep­re­sent both a ‘baby boom’ for some na­tions and a ‘baby bust’ for oth­ers.

“The lower rates of women’s fer­til­ity clearly re­flect not only ac­cess to and avail­abil­ity of re­pro­duc­tive health ser­vices, but also many women choos­ing to de­lay or forgo giv­ing birth, as well as hav­ing more op­por­tu­ni­ties for ed­u­ca­tion and em­ploy­ment.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.