Replacement Fertility Declines Worldwide

Falling population, dropping support: A sharp drop in population is reported for Ukraine, and the United States is among the nations with low public spending for family benefits

Many countries in the world are undergoing demographic transition, with fertility rates below replacement level for more than 80 nations, about half of the world’s population. Women are choosing to have fewer children for many reasons related to financial and personal costs as well as uncertainty over good jobs and reliable social protections. Bleak projections warn of declines in populations, accompanied by smaller working-age populations and a larger proportion of elderly dependents. This problem is especially apparent in developed countries, and current immigration levels are not enough to offset the potential repercussions of a smaller working-age population and the economic costs of a larger elderly population. Too many governments ignore the challenge until confronted with costly government programs and a shrinking workforce. Fertility incentives are costly and deliver only modest impact. Demographer Joseph Chamie concludes, “Communities that refuse to adjust will only exacerbate the consequences of these powerful demographic trends.” – Yale Global