Brief Review of World Demographic Trends - Explaining Population Trends: Fertility and Infant Mortality Rate
15 Pages Posted: 24 Nov 2012 Last revised: 13 Oct 2014
Date Written: November 23, 2012
In the present report, we continue to look how fertility rates and infant mortality rates may help explain global population trends.
In summary, fertility rates in Asia, and Latin America and the Caribbean have been declining by quite a lot, which explains the decline in births in those regions. On the other hand, fertility rates increased recently in North America and Europe, which explains the increases in births there. Finally, Sub-Saharan Africa has the highest fertility rate, and consequently the highest number of births. However, the fertility rates in Sub-Saharan Africa have been declining. So while the number of births continue to increase, it is increasing at a slower rate.
Infant mortality rates (IMR) declined in all regions but the rate of decline varied considerably. IMR was very high in Sub-Saharan Africa, declined the least, and by 2005-2010 was the highest of anywhere. IMR was the lowest in Europe and North America, declined substantially, and was still the lowest in 2005-2010. IMR also declined substantially in Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean, and North Africa, and, by 2005-2010, were generally at levels comparable to Europe and North America in the 1950s.
Because IMR was high and didn't decline by much in Sub-Saharan Africa, the fertility rate didn't contribute as much to population as it would have if the IMR had been lower. That is, the highest world population growth is in Sub-Saharan Africa (see the first report), but if IMR in Sub-Saharan Africa had been lower, the population growth would have been even higher. Fertility rates are declining in Sub-Saharan Africa, but so are infant mortality rates, and so if the IMR declines faster than does the fertility rate then declining fertility rates will not result in lower numbers of infants and children.
Keywords: infant mortality rates, mortality, international development, international studies, development, demography, population
JEL Classification: N30, I31, J11
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation