This Bulletin examines the evidence that the world's fertility has declined in recent years, the factors that appear to have accounted for the decline, and the implications for fertility and population growth rates to the end of the century. On the basis of a compilation of estimates available for all nations of the world, the authors derive estimates which indicate that the world's total fertility rate dropped from 4.6 to 4.1 births per woman between 1968 and 1975, thanks largely to an earlier and more rapid and universal decline in the fertility of less developed countries (LDCs) than had been anticipated. Statistical analysis of available data suggests that the socioeconomic progress made by LDCs in this period was not great enough to account for more than a proportion of the fertility decline and that organized family planning programs were a major contributing factor. The authors' projections, which are compared to similar projections from the World Bank, the United Nations, and the U.S. Bureau of the Census, indicate that, by the year 2000, less than 1/5 of the world's population will be in the "red danger" circle of explosive population growth (2.1% or more annually); most LDCs will be in a phase of fertility decline; and many of them -- along with most now developed countries -- will be at or near replacement level of fertility. The authors warn that "our optimistic prediction is premised upon a big IF -- if (organized) family planning (in LDCs) continues. It remains imperative that all of the developed nations of the world continue their contribution to this program undiminished."
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||55|
|State||Published - Oct 1 1978|
ASJC Scopus subject areas