|The United Nations shared the World Population Prospects 2019 last June. It showed that the current world population is at 7.7 billion and projected that it will reach 9.7 billion by 2050 / Photo by: Al Jazeera English via Wikimedia Commons|
The United Nations shared the World Population Prospects 2019 last June. It showed that the current world population is at 7.7 billion and projected that it will reach 9.7 billion by 2050. The report also confirmed that there is a falling fertility level and that the list of countries that are experiencing a decline in their population size is growing.
Global Fertility Rate
The UN said that the global fertility rate fell from 3.2 births per woman in 1990 to 2.5 this year and will continue to decline to 2.2 births per woman in 2050. For the human population to maintain its numbers, each woman must bear an average of 2.1 children.
In Malaysia, its Department of Statistics recently released a report that of all the babies born in the country in 2018, 51.7 percent of them were male and the country’s fertility rate fell to 1.8 babies per woman from 2017. This year, Malaysia’s fertility rate also dropped 1.3 percent from the previous year. Such a percentage is equivalent to one baby born every minute, 57 babies every hour, and 1,375 babies every day.
Mean Age of Childbearing
The mean age of Malaysian mothers at their first live births was 27.8 years in 2018, reported Business Insider Malaysia. An increase in the average age of moms at their first birth means that the country’s reproductive period is likewise getting shorter. Since Malaysia’s fertility rate has fallen alarmingly, Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng said during the 2020 budget hearing that couples trying the in-vitro fertilization method could withdraw from their Employee’s Provident Fund to help them for the procedure. This is a part of the government’s effort to increase the country’s fertility rate.
|In Malaysia, its Department of Statistics recently released a report that of all the babies born in the country in 2018, 51.7 percent of them were male and the country’s fertility rate fell to 1.8 babies per woman from 2017 / Photo by: CEphoto and Uwe Aranas via Wikimedia Commons|
Americans Not Making Babies Enough
Health contributor Linda Carroll and physician-journalist Shamard Charles, M.D. shared that more Americans are not making “enough babies to replace” the current generation. They cited the 2019 data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The fertility rate should be 2,100 births per 1,000 women of childbearing years over their lifetime. However, the recent CDC report showed that it is only 1,765.5 per 1,000 women. This means that America is 16 percent below the average number they need to keep their population stable without relying on immigration. For seven years, the country’s total fertility rate has been on a decline and 2017 was their biggest drop in recent history. While there is no explanation for the fertility rate drop, experts believe that it is due to several factors such as a decline in teenage pregnancies, availability of contraception, and women pursuing education and jobs. Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health’s professor Dr. John Rowe said that generally, women today are getting married later in life and delay childbearing, not realizing that there are also limitations to what fertility treatments can do for them.
Japan’s Fertility Crisis Is Worse Than Before
In another report by CNN citing Japan’s preliminary government data, the fertility crisis in the country is also worsening. From the first seven months of 2019, the country had the sharpest drop in birth counts in the last 30 years.
From January to July year-over-year, births in Japan dropped 5.9 percent as more Japanese women delay childbearing or prefer not to bear a child at all. The country’s Ministry of Health, Labor, and Welfare also revealed that the official number of births in 2018 was 918,397. Such does not include the babies born to foreigners in their country or the Japanese babies born abroad.
Japan National Institute of Population and Social Security Research’s spokesman Yasushi Mineshima said that the fertility crisis is because of the shrinkage in the number of women of childbearing age. Also, more women are entering the workforce, delaying having kids. The average age of Japanese mothers who gave birth to their first child was 25.6 in 1970 and rose to 30.7 in 2018. Another factor in the declining birth rate in Japan is that marriage rates also dropped. In their country, kids born out of wedlock are frowned upon.
Nonprofit Hellenic Association of Geriatrics and Gerontology (HAGG) likewise shared that Greece has been hit by a low birth rate. Even to the most optimistic forecast, the country’s population will be below 10 million by 2050. By that year, teenagers will make up not more than 12 percent of Greece’s population and the average population will be 50 years old. At best, the number of economically active people will be at 3.7 million. The financial crisis is seen as one of the factors that affect the country’s birth rate, according to a study carried out by the University of Piraeus researchers.
The World Bank meanwhile shared that the total fertility rate of other countries is as follows: Austria 1.5, Bangladesh 2.1, South Korea 1.1), Puerto Rico 1.1, and China 1.7. There are still some rich countries that were able to achieve the replacement fertility level or close to it, like France.
Governments should find ways to encourage citizens to have more babies or help in child-rearing. In Singapore, for instance, couples receive a cash gift for every child born. In South Korea, the state allows couples to marry cheaply.
|The financial crisis is seen as one of the factors that affect the country’s birth rate, according to a study carried out by the University of Piraeus researchers / Photo by: trolvag via Wikimedia Commons|