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Global Birth Rates Fall

The latest World Fertility Report from the UN shows birth rates have fallen dramatically in the twenty-year period surveyed. Total fertility (number of babies a woman can expect to have over her lifetime) fell from 5.9 to 3.9 in Developing Countries, which make up 80% of world population and are the main contributor to global growth. For the Developed World, total fertility fell from 2.6 to 1.8 (Australia is 1.7). The fall in total fertility is due to great progress in family planning with use of contraceptives in developing countries now 30% compared to 18% in the 1970s. China's "one-child" policy has not doubt been a big contributor.

African countries make up the top 10 fertility countries, lead by Niger, Oman, Mali, Uganda and Burundi ranging from 7.0 to 7.5. Bottom 10 include Hong Kong, Slav and Czech countries and Spain, Bulgaria and Italy ranging from 0.9 to 1.2.

Mirroring the low levels of fertility in the developed world is the deferral of marriage and age of first birth, now associated with the big fuss made about women turning 30 and ticking clocks. The UN report shows the latest median age of mothers at first birth is 29.6 in New Zealand (highest in the world), followed by UK and Spain 29.1, Switzerland 28.8, France 28.7 and Netherlands 28.6. Australia is 27.7.

Read the UN Report at http://www.un.org/esa/population/publications/worldfertility/World_Fertility_Report.htm

Posted Saturday, 5 February 2005

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