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Total fertility rate

Number of children a woman is expected to have barring select circumstances / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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The total fertility rate (TFR) of a population is the average number of children that would be born to a female over their lifetime if:

  1. they were to experience the exact current age-specific fertility rates (ASFRs) through their lifetime
  2. they were to live from birth until the end of their reproductive life.[1]
Map of countries by fertility rate (2022), according to the Population Reference Bureau

It is obtained by summing the single-year age-specific rates at a given time. As of 2023, the total fertility rate varied widely across the world, from 0.78 in South Korea[2] to 6.73 in Niger.[3][4]

Fertility tends to be correlated with levels of economic development. Historically, developed countries have significantly lower fertility rates, generally correlated with greater wealth, education, urbanization, and other factors. Conversely, in least developed countries, fertility rates tend to be higher. Families desire children for their labor and as caregivers for their parents in old age. Fertility rates are also higher due to the lack of access to contraceptives, stricter adherence to religious beliefs, generally lower levels of female education, and lower rates of female employment.

As of 2020, the total fertility rate for the world is 2.3.[5] Global TFR has declined rapidly since the 1960s, and some forecasters like Sanjeev Sanyal argue that the effective global fertility rate will fall below global replacement rate, estimated to be 2.3, in the 2020s.[6][7] This would stabilize world population sometime during the period 2050–2070.[6] This differs from projections by the United Nations which predict some growth in world population will continue up to 2100.[8] Taken together, these projections indicate that the human population will achieve zero growth sometime in the second half of this century.