BIRTH RATES IN HALF OF
WORLD’S COUNTRIES PLUNGE
The world is reaching a “watershed” where nearly half of its countries are in the midst of a “baby bust” with birth rates below levels needed to maintain population size, a major international report has found.
The annual Global Burden of Disease
Study shows that 91 of 195 countries now have fertility rates below replacement level — currently 2.05 births on average for every woman.
The report also shows that in 2017 global life expectancy increases stalled, meaning migration will become ever more important to maintain population and economic growth.
In the UK, where life expectancy lat-lined last year for the irst time on record, experts suggest this could further stoke the anti-immigration tensions that led to the 2016 vote to leave the EU. “These statistics represent both a ‘baby boom’ for some nations and a ‘baby bust’ for others,” said Dr Christopher Murray, director of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington, which led the international study.