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Female fertility rate across MENA 2018 by country

Female fertility was the highest in Yemen in 2018 at an approximate of 3.8 births per woman, followed by Iraq and Palestine at about 3.7 and 3.6 births per woman respectively. In comparison, the United Arab Emirates had the lowest fertility rate of about 1.4 births per woman in 2018.

Fertility rates over time

Fertility rates have been declining over the years from 2.9 in 2010 to 2.8 in 2018 in the Middle East and Africa region. The population of a country starts declining due to the decline in fertility rates when the fertility rate drops below the threshold of approximately 2.1. This effect is more prominent in countries with high child mortality rates as child survival is one of the main factors affecting fertility rates. Parents are more likely to attempt to replace lost children or have more children as insurance when experiencing early child mortality. In the MENA region, child mortality witnessed a significant decline over the past decade.

Factors affecting female fertility

The variation in fertility rates across countries is very evident. Developed countries have lower fertility rates between 1 to 3 births per female, while developing countries have higher rates that could reach 7 births per female. Female fertility rates drop as countries develop economically. It was found that a higher income and education decreases female fertility. Increasing the employment of women also reduces female fertility as it increases their opportunity cost of bearing children.

Total fertility rate across the Middle East and North Africa in 2018, by country

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Supplementary notes

* Includes the Arab population of the West Bank and Gaza.

Note: Data for each country are from various census years.

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Statistics on "Population in the GCC"

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