Low Birth Rate
A country’s birth rate is the total number of children born annually per 1000 members of the population. This number is calculated in several ways, including the tally of live births through census or other official records, estimated through demographics. Birth rates, along with death and migration rates, are used to calculate population growth.
Many nations in the world now face the problem of a low, or declining birth rate, also known as sub-replacement fertility. This is a situation in which each new generation is smaller than the previous. In 2010, approximately 48 percent of the world lives in areas with sub-replacement fertility, including most of Europe, Canada, Australia, Brazil, Russia, China, and Iran. The countries with the lowest birth rates are Hong Kong, Macau, Singapore, Taiwan, Lithuania and the Ukraine.
There are several factors for a low birth rate in a given country. High education leads many individuals to delay marriage and starting a family, and educated individuals tend to have less children. Increased urbanization around the globe is also a contributor to low birth rates, since there is no need for extra labor, as in rural areas. Widespread availability and acceptance of contraceptives is also a factor in low birth rates.
Low birth rates have become national issues. China recently dropped its one child policy and many European governments have adopted policies encouraging more women to have children.