Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Embrace Falling Fertility

 Recent figures revealed that, globally, women now have on average 2.4 children in their lifetime a measure known as total fertility rate (TFR). But while in some countries that figure is far higher – in Niger it is more than seven – in almost half of countries, including the UK, Russia and Japan, it has fallen to below two.

 Sarah Harper, former director of the Royal Institution and an expert on population change, working at the University of Oxford, said that far from igniting alarm and panic falling total fertility rates were to be embraced, and countries should not worry if their population is not growing. She warned that the focus on boosting populations was outdated and potentially bad for women. Empowering women might do more to change a country’s total fertility rate than pushing pro-natalism, said Harper, although that would not necessarily cause a baby boom. “In those societies that enable women to stay in the labour market and have children, they will go from none or one child probably up to two per woman.”

And there was another solution: movement of people – something Harper said had helped Europe and north America cope with ageing populations, boosting economies since the second world war.

“Migration is that wonderful balancing act,” she added.

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