Charted: The Global Decline of Fertility Rates
Over the last 50 years, fertility rates have dropped drastically around the world. In 1952, the average global family had five children—now, they have less than three.
This graphic by Pablo Alvarez uses tracked fertility rates from Our World in Data to show how rates have evolved (and largely fallen) over the past decades.
What’s The Difference Between Fertility Rates and Birth Rates?
Though both measures relate to population growth, a country’s birth rate and fertility rate are noticeably different:
- Birth Rate: The total number of births in a year per 1,000 individuals.
- Fertility Rate: The total number of births in a year per 1,000 women of reproductive age in a population.
As such, the fertility rate is a more specific measure, which as Britannica highlights, “allows for more efficient and beneficial planning and resource allocation.” Not including immigration, a given area needs an overall total fertility rate of 2.1 to keep a stable population.
Global Fertility Rates since 1952
For the last half-century, fertility rates have steadily decreased worldwide. Here’s a look at the average number of children per woman since 1952:
|Year||Average # of children per family||% change (y-o-y)|