Overpopulation is one of the major challenges that India faces today. According to a UN report titled The World Population Prospects: The 2017 Revision, India’s population will surpass China’s in roughly seven years. The report, which was released in June 2017, also highlights the fact that the fertility rate of Indians has more than halved from a staggering 4.97 during 1975-1980 to 2.3 for 2015-2020. By 2025-30, the fertility rate was expected to go down to 2.1 and slide to 1.86 during 2045-50 and 1.78 during 2095-2100, the report had said.
As per the National Family Health Survey-4 (2015-16 data), India’s TFR is 2.2 (down from 2.7 in 2005-06) but there are wide variations between states. While in UP it is 2.7, the figure is 1.6 in Kerala.
Talking about fertility rate,a recent report released by Bhutan shows that the country, which is known for its happiness index, has achived a total fertility rate (TFR) of 1.9. The report titled Bhutan Living Standards Survey Report-2017 aso reveals that the country is headed towards a population reduction after the TFR has gone down to 1.9 from 2.1 in 2012.
Here’s everything you need to know about fertility rate and its situation across the globe :
What is TFR?
TFR is defined as the total number of children born or likely to be born to a woman in her lifetime at the prevailing rate of age-specific fertility in the population. As per the National Family Health Survey-4 (2015-16 data), India’s TFR has come down to 2.2 from 2.7 in 2005-2006 but there are wide variations between states.
Population stabilisation is said to be achieved at a TFR of 2.1 because at that fertility rate, a population just replaces itself. According to WHO, a rate of 2.1 is required to keep the population stable, i.e., newborns will replace those who die without any deficit but if the rate is less than 2.1, fewer people will be born than the number of people who will die.
A higher TFR would mean an increase in population, which in turn will effect the country’s overall demoraphics such as illiteracy and poverty. If the fertility level is reduced, it would not only result in a slower pace of population growth but would also result in a more aged population. As the fertility levels of various countries have gone down, the proportion of older persons has increased while the proportion of younger persons has gone down.
The UN report also suggests that fertility has declined in all regions of the world over the past few years. While in Africa, the region with the highest fertility rates, it has fallen to 4.7 births per woman during the period 2010-2015 from 5.1 births per woman in 2000-2005. It was during the same time period that the fertility levels also fell in Asia from being 2.4 to the current 2.2.
The fertility rates in Latin America and the Caribbean also saw a decline from 2.5 to 2.1 and that of Northern America went down to 1.85 from 2.0. Howver, Europe’s case has been different where the fertility rate has increased from 1.4 births per woman to 1.6 during the same period. And as far as Oceania and its fertiity rate is concerned, it has changed very little since 2000 at 2.4 births per woman during both the periods.
Coming to the least developed nations, they continue to have a relatively high fertility rate at 4.3 births per woman in 2010-2015. These countries have also witnessed a rapid population growth at 2.4 per cent per year. The combined population of 47 such countries is said to rise by 33 per cent between 2017 and 2030 which will take their combined population to 1.9 billion people in 2050 against the current population of one billion.
The total fertility is expected to decrease to 2.2 in 2040-2050 from 2.5 births per woman globally but if Europe and Northern America are concerned, the total fertility is projected to increase to 1.78 from 1.60 in Europe and to 1.89 from 1.85 in Northern America.
Fertility rate is expected to fall in Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean and Oceania. The largest reduction in fertility rate is projected to happen in Africa. Fertility levels in all regions of the world will converge to levels around or below the replacement level by 2095-2100, the report adds.
The report further suggests that 46 per cent of the world’s population lived in countries with a fertility level below 2.1 births per woman in 2010-2015. It says that low-fertility countries now include all of Europe and Northern America along with 19 Asian countries, 15 from Latin America and the Caribbean, 3 in Oceania and 2 African countries.
Among the low-fertility countries, the ones with the largest population are China, USA, Brazil, the Russian Federation, Japan and Vietnam. Sixty-nine per cent of the world’s population is expected to live in countries with fertility levels of less than 2.1 children per woman.
The ten most populous countries with below replacement fertility are China, the United States of America, Brazil, the Russian Federation, Japan, Vietnam, Germany, the Islamic Republic of Iran, Thailand, and the United Kingdom (in order of population size).
According to WHO, the total fertility rate has declined in all South East Asian countries barring Timor-Leste where it has gone up. Out of seven countries that had TFR during 1985-1990 higher than the world average, three (Maldives, Bhutan, Bangladesh) had over 50% decline by 2005-2010, two (Nepal and Myanmar) between 40% and 50%, one (India) 35%, and the remaining one (Timor-Leste) minus 25% (increase instead of decrease)