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Half the world faces a population decline, scientists

Половине стран мира грозит сокращение населения, - ученыеThe study showed, the decline in the fertility rate has put half the world on “baby crisis”.

Scientists have concluded that the world has witnessed a significant decline in the number of children who give birth for the life of the average woman.

The study showed, the decline in the fertility rate has put half the world on “baby crisis” (eng. baby bust phenomenon, the opposite of the baby boom, i.e. the boom – ed.), transmits Bi-bi-si. In these countries, the number of newborns will be enough to save the current population. The researchers said that the result was “a big surprise”.

In particular, the study analysed trends in all countries from 1950 to 2017. It showed that in 1950, every woman in her life were born an average of 4.7 of the child. Last year the figure was twice lower and 2.4. This figure hides huge variation between countries. For example, the fertility rate in Niger is 7.1 children, whereas on the island of Cyprus each woman has only one birth. In the UK, the figure is 1.7, which roughly corresponds to the figures in most Western European countries.

The total fertility rate is the average number of children each woman gives birth to in her entire life. It’s not the same as the fertility rate – number of births per thousand population in one year. When the total fertility rate of the country decreases and remains below the level of 2.1, that in the end, its population will begin to decline (the threshold for a baby crisis is significantly higher in countries with high child mortality). In 1950 no country was in a similar position. The head of the Institute of metrics and evaluation of health University of Washington Christopher Murray said: “We have reached a watershed, for which half of the countries total fertility is below the level of simple reproduction of the population. If nothing changes, the population in these countries continues to shrink.”

“This is a significant transition. This is a surprise even to people like me. The idea that this applies to half of the world, really surprise people,” he added. Low total fertility is mainly observed in more economically developed countries. These include most European countries, USA, South Korea and Australia. This does not mean that the number of inhabitants in these countries began to fall. At least until that doesn’t happen, because the population consists of births, deaths and migration. So the birth rate began to change, may take a generation. “Soon we get to a situation when the country will begin to struggle with population decline,” said Professor Murray. In half of the countries are still born enough children, so the population grew, however, the more countries increases the level of its economic development, the less there is total fertility rate.

38-year-old Rachel Jacobs from the British County of Kent gave birth to her only daughter seven years ago. “Before, I was focused on my career. When I was pregnant, I was still focused on career. Now I know that our family survives on the money that we earn, and will have the opportunity each year to go to rest. If we had another baby, stay, we would have not been able to afford. I’d rather give all the best to our daughter than to be a mother of several children, which we will be able, to feed and clothe. My partner and I think about the future. We want to be able to support the daughter financially when she will study at the University, and to help with the purchase of housing. I wouldn’t ever tell her she can’t go to a party or afford a new sweater for Christmas,” said the woman.

The decrease in the number of births per woman is due to three key factors:

The reduction of child mortality, which women are having fewer

The growth of access to contraception

A higher level of employment and education among women

In many ways, the decline in fertility rate is a success story. Without an inflow of migrants will be faced with aging and declining population. According to the Director of Oxford Institute for the study of population ageing George Leeson, this in itself is not bad, but the whole society will need to prepare for the massive demographic change. Here’s what he said: “the demographic Issues influence every aspect of our lives. Look out the window at people on the streets, at home, for transport, of consumption – all this is subordinated to demography”.

“What we are preparing, is determined not only by population but also its age structure, which varies, and so fundamental that we are not yet fully comprehended it not,” said Leeson. He believes that labour market needs will change, so the idea to retire at 68 years would be untenable. The report States that the countries that will be affected will be forced to think about increasing the number of migrants (it is fraught with its own problems) or the promotion of fertility (such measures often do not reach their goal).

Study author Christopher Murray says: “If all goes as usual, the future will be few children and a lot of people older than 65 years, and this state of Affairs maintain itself to the international community will be extremely difficult. Think how serious are the social and economic consequences for the society in which grandparents more than the grandchildren.” “It seems to me, is well aware of Japan. There is decreasing population, but I think many Western countries have not faced it because there are low birth rates offset by migration. But across the world migration will not solve the problem”, he added. Have a decreasing birth rate and the reverse side: this process can benefit the environment, considering how it affect people now.

Since 1950, China has experienced enormous population growth: a sharp rise from about half a billion to 1.4 billion people. But in this country, there is problem with the fertility rate, which in 2017 amounted to only 1.5 children per woman. Recently, the country moved away from its famous policy of “One family – one child”.

The reasons why developed countries have a fertility rate below 2.1 is not, lies in the fact that not all children survive to adulthood, and boys on average are born a little more than girls. In China, according to statistics, 100 girls born 117 boys, indicating “an extremely high prevalence of abortion on grounds of gender and even the murder of newborns,” the study authors write. In this case, to preserve the population will need more newborns.

Половине стран мира грозит сокращение населения, - ученые
Половине стран мира грозит сокращение населения, - ученые

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