In recent years, the global birth rates and fertility rates have dropped dramatically. Fewer people are having babies, and parents are having fewer babies.
In 1950, women had 4.7 children on average. According to 2018 World Bank Data, the global fertility rate was 2.4 children per woman. Rates vary significantly between countries and are significantly higher in the world’s least developed countries, averaging at 4.0. If the fertility rate falls below 2.1, the population replacement rate, then the population will start declining.
The global fertility rate has dropped drastically and caused concern in many countries. Several countries are already facing aging and even declining populations. Twenty-three nations, including Japan and Spain, could see their populations halved by 2100. Japan already has one of the oldest populations worldwide, with about one-third of its citizens over 655 years old.
Aging populations negatively impact countries in several ways. A rapidly aging population means fewer working-age people, decreasing overall economic productivity and GDP growth. For example, Japan’s workforce is projected to shrink by 8 million by 2030.
Furthermore, with fewer people working, funding for safety-net programs such as U.S. Social Security could become underfunded. This causes working-age people to pay more to support the elderly, and public budgets would face the burden of the higher total cost of health and retirement programs.
Currently, there are an estimated 2 billion children in the world ages zero to 14-years-old. Because of the declining fertility rates, this number is expected to peak in 2050 at 2.06 billion and then decrease to 1.9 billion again in 2100.
In 2017, the number of children under five years old was 681 million. This is expected to fall to 401 million in 2100. On the other hand, the number of people over 80 was 141 million and is projected to climb all the way to 866 million in 2100.
Because of higher fertility rates, some countries have significantly younger populations. For example, Niger’s fertility rate is 6.9 children per woman, and 50.6% of its population is under 15. With a current population estimate of about 25 million, about 12.5 million people are under 15.
The ten countries with the most children (ages zero to 14), as a percentage of their population, are:
On the other hand, some countries have very low percentages of their populations under 15. Only 9.4% of Monaco’s population is zero to 14. Taiwan’s is 12.4%, Japan’s is 12.5%, and South Korea, Singapore, Hong Kong, and Qatar’s are 12.8%.
% of Children
|Central African Republic||48.13%|
|Republic of the Congo||41.05%|
|Sao Tome and Principe||39.47%|
|Papua New Guinea||34.25%|
|Saint Vincent and the Grenadines||21.93%|
|Trinidad and Tobago||19.05%|
|Antigua and Barbuda||18.55%|
|United Arab Emirates||15.23%|
|Bosnia and Herzegovina||14.87%|
Nigeria has the highest birth rate, with 47.28 annual births per 1000 people.