A new study of last 70 years shows that global Total Fertility Rates (TFR) have decreased by 50% since the 1950s. Essentially the only geographical area in the world which maintains a fertility rate doubling their population is in sub-Saharan Africa, and some of the most populous areas on Earth are now firmly in negative population growth.
Population and fertility by age and sex for 195 countries and territories, 1950–2017: a systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2017
Population estimates underpin demographic and epidemiological research and are used to track progress on numerous international indicators of health and development. To date, internationally available estimates of population and fertility, although useful, have not been produced with transparent and replicable methods and do not use standardised estimates of mortality. We present single-calendar year and single-year of age estimates of fertility and population by sex with standardised and replicable methods.
From 1950 to 2017, TFRs decreased by 49·4% (95% uncertainty interval [UI] 46·4–52·0). The TFR decreased from 4·7 livebirths (4·5–4·9) to 2·4 livebirths (2·2–2·5), and the ASFR of mothers aged 10–19 years decreased from 37 livebirths (34–40) to 22 livebirths (19–24) per 1000 women. Despite reductions in the TFR, the global population has been increasing by an average of 83·8 million people per year since 1985. The global population increased by 197·2% (193·3–200·8) since 1950, from 2·6 billion (2·5–2·6) to 7·6 billion (7·4–7·9) people in 2017; much of this increase was in the proportion of the global population in south Asia and sub-Saharan Africa. The global annual rate of population growth increased between 1950 and 1964, when it peaked at 2·0%; this rate then remained nearly constant until 1970 and then decreased to 1·1% in 2017. Population growth rates in the southeast Asia, east Asia, and Oceania GBD super-region decreased from 2·5% in 1963 to 0·7% in 2017, whereas in sub-Saharan Africa, population growth rates were almost at the highest reported levels ever in 2017, when they were at 2·7%. The global average age increased from 26·6 years in 1950 to 32·1 years in 2017, and the proportion of the population that is of working age (age 15–64 years) increased from 59·9% to 65·3%. At the national level, the TFR decreased in all countries and territories between 1950 and 2017; in 2017, TFRs ranged from a low of 1·0 livebirths (95% UI 0·9–1·2) in Cyprus to a high of 7·1 livebirths (6·8–7·4) in Niger. The TFR under age 25 years (TFU25; number of livebirths expected by age 25 years for a hypothetical woman who survived the age group and was exposed to current ASFRs) in 2017 ranged from 0·08 livebirths (0·07–0·09) in South Korea to 2·4 livebirths (2·2–2·6) in Niger, and the TFR over age 30 years (TFO30; number of livebirths expected for a hypothetical woman ageing from 30 to 54 years who survived the age group and was exposed to current ASFRs) ranged from a low of 0·3 livebirths (0·3–0·4) in Puerto Rico to a high of 3·1 livebirths (3·0–3·2) in Niger. TFO30 was higher than TFU25 in 145 countries and territories in 2017. 33 countries had a negative population growth rate from 2010 to 2017, most of which were located in central, eastern, and western Europe, whereas population growth rates of more than 2·0% were seen in 33 of 46 countries in sub-Saharan Africa.