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Lancet: Total Fertility Rate (TFR) declines across the world

Why is it in the news?

  • Lancet’s ‘Global Burden of Disease’ study finds Total Fertility Rate (TFR) decline across the world since 1950.

 Key Findings from study

  • Global TFR Decline: The Total Fertility Rate (TFR) worldwide has more than halved from 4.84 in 1950 to 23 in 2021.
  • Projected TFR: Projections estimate a further decline to 1.83 in 2050 and 1.59 in 2100 globally.
  • Countries Below Replacement Rate: In 47 countries, fertility has been below the replacement rate from 1950 to 2021.
  • India’s TFR: India’s TFR notably decreased from 6.8 in 1950 to 91 in 2021, with projections indicating further declines to 1.29 and 1.04 in 2050 and 2100, respectively.
  • Primary Drivers of Declining Fertility: Improving access to modern contraceptives and female education are identified as two primary drivers of declining fertility rates.
Replacement Rate

·       The replacement rate is the minimum rate necessary for the generational replacement of a population, assuming no migration.

·       Generally accepted as a Total Fertility Rate (TFR) of at least 2.1.

·       TFR represents the average number of children a woman would have in her childbearing years, typically considered to be ages 15-49.


Impact of Low Levels of Fertility

  • Changes in Age Structure: Low fertility rates result in a growing elderly population and a shrinking working-age population, impacting labour force dynamics.
  • Strain on Healthcare and Social Systems: This demographic shift may increase the burden on healthcare and social systems due to a larger elderly population.
  • Empowerment of Women: Lower fertility rates can improve women’s decision-making power within households.

Policy Suggestions

  • Pro-natal Policies: Implement policies such as child-related cash transfers and tax incentives to encourage childbirth.
  • Access to Modern Contraceptives: Ensure widespread access to modern contraceptives to empower individuals to make informed choices about family planning.
  • Expansion of Female Education: Invest in expanding access to education for women, which correlates with lower fertility rates.
  • Investment in Social Security and Healthcare: Strengthen social security programs and healthcare infrastructure to support aging populations and address associated challenges.

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