World faces ‘baby bust’ as fer­til­ity falls

Sunday Star-Times - - WORLD -

Al­most half of all coun­tries are fac­ing a ‘‘baby bust’’, with in­suf­fi­cient num­bers of chil­dren be­ing born to main­tain their pop­u­la­tion size.

The fig­ures, pub­lished in

have re­vealed a ‘‘remarkable’’ global de­cline in fer­til­ity rates, re­searchers say.

The to­tal fer­til­ity rate a pop­u­la­tion needs to re­place it­self from gen­er­a­tion to gen­er­a­tion, as­sum­ing no mi­gra­tion, is about 2.05.

To­day, 91 out of 195 coun­tries have fer­til­ity rates be­low this.

The trend is thought to be driven by fac­tors in­clud­ing bet­ter ma­ter­nal ed­u­ca­tion, bet­ter ac­cess to con­tra­cep­tion and peo­ple choos­ing not to have chil­dren.

The study looked at fer­til­ity trends in every coun­try be­tween 1950 and 2017. Over­all, women in 1950 had an aver­age of 4.7 chil­dren in their life­time, fall­ing to 2.4 last year.

The re­port says coun­tries fac­ing pop­u­la­tion de­cline have op­tions in­clud­ing poli­cies to en­cour­age women to have more chil­dren, which have lim­ited im­pact; lib­er­al­is­ing their ap­proach to im­mi­gra­tion; or in­creas­ing the re­tire­ment age.

AP

Cen­tral Amer­i­can mi­grants dis­cuss their jour­ney north to the US yes­ter­day, us­ing a map posted in­side a sports com­plex in Mex­ico City where thou­sands of mi­grants have been camped out for sev­eral days.

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