THE WORLD’S VANISHING CHILDREN
Throughout the world birth rates and total fertility rates are plunging faster and further than ever recorded in human history. Despite all the apocalyptic doomsday predictions of overpopulation propagandists, the fact is that population growth rates in many countries are already below replacement level and the world’s growth rate is rapidly approaching that figure. If current trends continue, the world’s population will peak by the middle of the century and then begin demographic freefall.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, in each of the following 100 nations the current total fertility rates are now at or below the population replacement level-generally held to be 2.1 births per woman per completed reproductive lifetime.
Total Fertility Rates (TFR) at
or Below Replacement Level
|Population||Total Fertility Rate|
|Bosnia & Herzegovina||4498976||1.7|
|British Virgin Islands||23098||1.7|
|Hong Kong S.A.R.||6940432||1.3|
|Isle of Man||75441||1.6|
|North Mariana Islands||82459||1.8|
|St. Pierre & Miquelon|
|St. Vincent & the Grenadines|
Excerpted from Global Population Profile: 2002,
U.S. Census Bureau, U.S. Department of Commerce,
March 2004. Mid-year 2002 populations,
in thousands, from Table A-4, *Population by
Region and Country: 1950 to 2050*; 2005 Total
Fertility Rates from Table A-9, *Total Fertility by
Region and Country: 1990 to 2050.*
Total Fertility Rate (TFR):
The average number of children that would be born per woman if all women lived to the end of their childbearing years and bore children according to a given set of age-specific fertility rates.
Calculating the TFR involves determining the fertility rate for various cohorts of potential mothers (from age 15 to 19 through age 45 to 49); summing these; and multiplying by the size of the age interval (five).
The TFR is one of the most important fertility measures; it answers as nearly as possible the question: How many children are women currently having?
Replacement Level Fertility (RLF):
The level of fertility needed so that a child is born to replace each person in the parents’ generation. Over a period of time, the continuous occurrence of replacement level fertility will produce zero population growth in the population under consideration. The Magic Number 2.1 : In the industrialized nations, and in particular, in the United States, the RLF that will produce a condition of zero population growth is widely accepted as 2.1, i.e. 2.1 births per woman per reproductive life span. Most demographers agree that if a nation’s TFR=RLF= 2.1, population growth will ultimately cease and the country’s population will stabilize. In the less developed countries of the world, the impact of higher mortality rates on replacement fertility levels results in RLF figures greater than 2.3. In certain Asian lands like China, the strong cultural preference for boys, now readily implemented via sex-selection abortion, has led to such unprecedented imbalances in the malefemale sex ratios that current RLF numbers are probably higher than 2.4 or even 2.5.