Fertility rate of the world and continents 1950-2020

The overall fertility rate of the world has dropped from 5 children per woman in 1950, to 2.5 in 2020, which means that women in 2020 will, on average, halve half the amount of children during their lifetime than women did seventy years ago. This change has come as a result of increased access and reliability of contraception, a huge reduction in infant and child mortality rate, and increased educational and vocational opportunities for women. The continents that have felt the greatest change over this seventy year period are Asia and Latin America, where women today will have approximately three to four fewer children than their counterparts in the 1950s. While most continents saw significant declines in fertility rates in the 1960s and 1970s, Africa did not see this development until much later, although the fertility rate is expected to reach 4.4 in 2020, with further reduction still to come, as the other continents' rates plateau.

Fertility rate in each continent and worldwide, from 1950 until 2020*

WorldAfricaAsiaEuropeLatin America and CaribbeanNorth AmericaOceania
2015-20202.474.442.151.612.041.752.36
2010-20152.524.732.211.62.141.852.44
2005-20102.584.92.331.562.262.012.54
2000-20052.655.082.451.432.491.992.46
1995-20002.785.352.611.432.771.952.48
1990-19953.015.722.91.573.0822.52
1985-19903.446.193.51.813.451.882.53
1980-19853.596.53.691.883.941.792.63
1975-19803.866.644.11.984.441.772.76
1970-19754.476.75.062.174.922.023.25
1965-19704.936.715.752.375.462.553.59
1960-19655.026.75.82.575.833.283.97
1955-19604.96.625.592.665.853.614.1
1950-19554.976.575.832.665.833.343.89
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Sources

Release date

June 2019

Region

Worldwide

Survey time period

1950-2019

Supplementary notes

*The numbers given are averages of the fertility rates over five year periods

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