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Report Predicts Sharp Decline in Global Fertility Rates

A recent report indicates that by the end of the century, the majority of births will occur in low to lower-middle-income countries, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa.
The study, published in The Lancet, suggests fertility rates will drop below population maintenance levels in most countries, leading to a stark divide. Countries with a 'baby boom' are likely to face increased economic and political challenges, according to IHME's Stein Emil Vollset.

The research, part of the Global Burden of Diseases Study and incorporating data up to 2021, projects that 97% of 204 countries will have fertility rates below the replacement threshold by 2100. Notably, more than half of the world's births will be in sub-Saharan Africa.

Global fertility rates have decreased from 5 children per woman in 1950 to 2.2 in 2021, with 54% of countries already below the replacement level. Countries like South Korea and Serbia are seeing rates below 1.1 child per woman, foreshadowing potential workforce shortages.

Lower fertility rates in affluent countries may be due to increased female education and career opportunities. However, the decline also emphasizes the need for better access to contraception and education in many regions. As populations contract, immigration may become crucial for economic stability.

The study's authors acknowledge limitations in their data, particularly due to the COVID-19 pandemic's impact.
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