In this week’s economist there are a number of good Geography and geography related articles.
The cover story is on the falling fertility rate globally. It is well worth a read especially as this weeks issue is half price £2 instead of £4.
The key points made by the article are:
- In the next few years only half of humanity will be having enough children to replace itself – the fertility rate of half the world will be 2.1 or below.
- According to the UN Population Division 2.9 billion out of 6.5 billion people were living in countries below this point in 2000-5.
- The number will rise to 3.4 billion out of 7 billion in the early 2010s.
- The countires include Russia, Japan, Brazil, Indonesia, China, and South India.
- This change is changing traditional family life by enabling women to go to work and childrent to be educated.
- In rich countries the replacement rate is 2.1, in poorer countries it can be over 3 (due to higher child mortality.)
- The global replacement rate is 2.33.
- By 2010 the global fertility rate will fall below the global replacement rate for the first time.
- Modern Malthusians have discounted this as they believe the absolute number is what matters and that is still set to rise by 2.4 billion by the next 40 years.
- Population can rise but fertility fall because of inertia.
There is also some interesting research on the economics of fertility.
- Fertility begins to drop at an annual income of $1,00-$2,000 and falls until it hits replacement level at an income per head of $4,000 to $10,000.
- Research has been done that on average Women in developing countries want one less child than they are having.
- In 2002 a quarter of all pregnancies in developing countires were unplanned.
- In Africa there are 25million woment that want to get contraceptives but cannot use them.
- This impolices that fertility in some countries would be even lower if more family planner were available.
This article is well worth a read and there also some really good graphs and diagrams.
The sources that the economist used to produce this article are available on their website here.