Submitted by Taps Coogan on the 18th of August 2018 to The Sounding Line.
On a number of occasions here at The Sounding Line, we have discussed the trend of declining fertility rates around the world. Fertility rates have fallen below replacement levels throughout much of Europe, the Americas, and Asia. While fertility rates still remain high in much of Africa, the Middle East, and South Asia, they are declining there too. In fact, as the following map from Reddit user Areat illustrates, compared to the 1970s, fertility rates are now lower in every single country on earth.
What is driving the global trend of declining fertility? While there are undoubtedly multiple factors behind the trend, the following chart illustrates that increases in economic productivity (often considered a proxy for wealth) have been closely correlated with falling fertility rates, not just in developed economies but around the world.
(If you cannot view the chart click on the title below)
The phenomenon of synchronized global economic growth has been so ubiquitous since at least the 1980s that the term ’emerging markets’ has become the standard descriptor of every country in the world that is not already a ‘developed economy.’
The sharp economic deterioration now being witnessed in Turkey, Argentina, Venezuela, etc…, and the economic slowdown in China points to a possible shift in this dynamic. Unlike during the 2008 financial crisis or previous recent recessions, the current emerging market problems are not strictly cyclical nor part of a synchronized global slowdown. To a greater extent than in recent memory, the current emerging market crises are arising from deterioration in good governance, long term misallocation of capital, and the abandonment of free-market principals. That may point to an end to nearly 40 years of ubiquitous synchronized global growth. It could also point to an inflection point in universal declining global fertility rates.
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