Baby boom for some countries, bust for others, says study
PARIS: Soaring birth rates in developing nations are fuelling a global baby boom while women in dozens of richer countries aren’t producing enough children to maintain population levels there, according to figures released on Friday.
A global overview of birth, death and disease rates evaluating thousands of data-sets on a country-by-country basis also found that heart disease was now the single leading cause of death worldwide.
The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) used more than 8,000 data sources to compile a detailed look at global public health. It found that while the world’s population skyrocketed from 2.6 billion in 1950 to 7.6 billion last year, that growth was deeply uneven according to region and income. A total of 91 nations, mainly in Europe and North and South America, weren’t producing enough children to sustain their populations.
But in Africa and Asia fertility rates continued to grow, with the average woman in Niger giving birth to seven children during her lifetime.
Ali Mokdad, professor of Health Metrics Sciences at IHME, told AFP that the single most important factor in determining population growth was education. He said, “The more a woman is educated, she is spending more years in school, she is delaying her pregnancies and so will have fewer babies.”
The IHME found that Cyprus was the least fertile nation, while women in Mali, Chad and Afghanistan have on average more than six babies.
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