This post is by Pallavi Rao from Visual Capitalist
Visualizing the World’s Plummeting Fertility Rate
At the dawn of the 19th century, the world population hit a big milestone: 1 billion people.
Over the next 220 years, the number grew to eight times that, or the 8 billion people who live on the planet today, with half of the growth occurring since 1975.
This continuous climb in global population has been possible thanks to advancements in healthcare and nutrition. However, the UN forecasts that rapid growth will slow down—and may even stop entirely by 2100—because of falling fertility rates.
What does that mean for modern nation states conditioned to expect a constant influx of new citizens and labor to power their economies? And how can those changing economies adapt to a shrinking population?
To understand that, we need to first untangle fertility rates, and why they’re falling.
Explained: Fertility and Replacement Rates
The total fertility rate is the average number of births per woman over a lifetime. This measurement makes two key assumptions, however:
- The woman will live to the end of her childbearing years
- The woman will bear children according to the age-specific fertility rates currently observed
Both assumptions add some uncertainty to future fertility rate projections. However, decades of past data collected by the World Bank help show some overall trends around the world, and in many countries.