Thursday, July 8, 2010

Money and Babies

I just stumbled on this graph, which makes the relationship between income and total fertility -- the number of babies a woman has in her lifetime -- very clear. The data comes from the UN, and most experts think it is pretty reliable. The 2.33 line is one estimate of the replacement rate that would hold populations steady in the long run, but that is based on infant and child mortality rates for the world as a whole now. For advanced countries, the replacement rate is around 2.05, which happens to be the total fertility rate in the US and Iceland. All other European countries are below replacement, along with Brazil, Chile, China, Japan, both Koreas, and Burma. Very high birth rates of more than 4 children per woman are now only found in Africa, Afghanistan, Yemen, and Iraq.

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