Saturday, 22 January 2011
Female fertility: The top ten
Demographics - this will be a new topic for the blog. So, lets start at the top; the ten countries with the highest female fertility rate - the average number of children a woman has during her lifetime. All of them are in Africa.
Full disclosure - I don't believe in the over-population myth. It leads to all sorts of moral confusion. Often, there is an implicit racist assumption behind the claims of over-population. A child born into a poor family in Africa is just as valuable as one born into a privileged consumption-drunk wealthy family in the industrialized world.
The high birth rate in Africa is nothing to worry about. Their carbon footprint is low, the children of Africa aren't responsible for global warming, and if Africans want large families, it is their right.
However, I do worry about the low birth rate in Europe. In most countries in the continent, the female fertility rate is below the level necesary to replace the population. This has led to a dangerous imbalance in the age distribution. We now have far too many old people relative to children. Ultimately, it will lead to economic stagnation and an intolerable fiscal burden.