For humanity to reproduce steadily, every woman must have at least two children. In the 1960s, the figure was five children per woman, and by 2017 it had fallen to 2.43. Bloomberg came to this conclusion by analyzing statistics for 200 countries.
- On average, the global “substitution level” exceeds the required level — 2.1 children per woman — but the median values are completely different. More than half of the countries are already below this border, partly offset by immigration, since fertility is declining in the same countries that look most attractive to visitors – the United States and western Europe.
- So far, these are just warnings. According to the UN, by 2100 the population should increase by 3 billion people. And then you will need to look for non-standard solutions.
Why is this important?
The issue of fertility does not exist in a vacuum: new people are needed to produce and consume more goods and services, accelerating the economy. Therefore, it’s not enough to create conditions that, as planned by the authorities, should encourage women to give birth more (although there are examples of harmless and successful solutions, for example, generous maternity payments in Scandinavia or China’s refusal of the one-child policy), Bloomberg writes. One can think about how to integrate mothers and women in general into the economy and workflow. Now, according to Bloomberg, slightly more than half of all women in the world work.
Simple integration into the economy is also not enough: it is important not just to work, but to work productively. In 2000-2017, productivity growth influenced economic growth much more than fertility and unemployment, Bloomberg reported, citing OECD data. However, everything is ambiguous here: in 2017, productivity growth was driven by 90% of the potential for economic growth, but in Saudi Arabia in the same period 62% of the potential population growth.