Low Fertility Rates are Exaggerated

This extremely important paper argues that fertility rates in high-income countries are not as low as normally quoted.[1] Indeed, contemporary very low rates (e.g. 1.3 children per woman in Italy) are partly an artefact of delayed pregnancy, not reduced pregnancy. The standard method that imputes age specific rates from earlier cohorts underestimate life-time fertility over the epoch when age of first pregnancy is increasing. This means that dependency ratios are not as low as had been assumed hitherto. You can see why the CLAHRC WM Director thought this paper very important.

— Richard Lilford, CLAHRC WM Director


  1. Myrskylä M, Goldstein JR, Cheng YA. New Cohort Fertility Forecasts for the Developed World: Rises, Falls, and Reversals. Pop Develop Review. 2013; 39(1): 31-56.

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