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A study says that fertility decline is a global phenomenon that will increase

A study says that fertility decline is a global phenomenon that will increase

Fertility is insufficient to maintain population numbers, as is the case in the majority of countries, this is confirmed by a large-scale study published Thursday, warning of imbalances that seem to be increasingly noticeable from one region to another in the world.

“Fertility is declining worldwide,” sums up the work published in the scientific journal The Lancet, noting that more than half of countries already have a fertility rate too low to maintain their population level.

“In the future, fertility rates will continue to decline around the world,” he adds.

The study is based on figures from the Global Burden of Disease Program, a huge program funded by the American Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation that aims to collect health data from most countries.

The researchers not only assessed current fertility rates in these countries, but also sought to calculate future developments based on several predictive variables, such as education levels or infant mortality.

The researchers concluded that by 2050, three-quarters of countries will have insufficient fertility rates to maintain their populations. By 2100, most countries will be affected.

Researchers also expect that the population of poor countries will continue to increase for a long time, especially in sub-Saharan Africa, while it will decline in developed countries. This imbalance, according to them, threatens “serious consequences at the economic and societal levels.”

This work is taking place in a context in which many countries are concerned about the evolution of their populations, such as France, where President Emmanuel Macron has called for “demographic rearmament.”

However, the predictions of the Lancet study should be taken with caution, as researchers from the World Health Organization emphasize in the same issue.

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They criticize several methodology choices, highlighting in particular the weakness of the data currently available in many poor countries. They basically believe that “we should favor nuance rather than sensationalism when we talk about declining fertility rates.”

They also emphasize that such a phenomenon can have advantages (environment, food, etc.), as well as disadvantages (retirement systems, employment, etc.). Note in particular that there is no “clear way” to act on this.