India: Tackling global below fertility issue!

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below replacement fertility

Some issues are very less talked about but still holds are great concern by us, one of them is- below replacement fertility rates. Being the second largest population of the world, India is indeed solving the global fertility issue! Where on one hand having such massive population seems an issue, on the other hand it also seem promising for the country. But what actually is thie below fertility issue?

While underdeveloped countries in Africa and Asia face the threat of unsustainable population growth and limited resources, many wealthy nations have the opposite problem a declining population that could pose a threat to the future of humanity. This means that people are not producing as much offspring’s as needed to replace the last generation. According to the World Health Organization, we need to average about 2.1 children per woman today just so we have enough people to replace the previous generation. But the developed countries such as China, Japan, European countries and America are all under this 2.1 average of per women birth rate. So what happens if that number dips below 2.1? There’s going to be a domino effect. As all of us get older, there’s going to be a shrinking younger population, which is going to lead to rising labor shortages in not only the world’s biggest economies like India but all around the globe. Once in 1980, China proposed the policy of one child, though dismissed in 2015, faces a huge decline in the birth rate till today. Similarly in Japan or Hungary, women are producing less kids. The problem is so crucial that the governments now are even proposing money just to have more kids, like one seen in Japan.  

Below replacement fertility rates

The most common measure of fertility, the period total fertility rate, refers, however, to a two-sex population which includes both male and female births. TFR indicates the number of births women would have, on average, if during their reproductive lifetime they experienced the age-specific fertility rates observed in a given period of a year in the absence of mortality. In 2016, Singapore reported lowest TFR. In the 20th Century the Earth’s population increased from 1.6 billion to 6.1 billion as a result of high fertility and low death rates. But during the past 50 years the average birth rate has halved, due to the widespread introduction of contraception and the trend of women entering into the workforce and postponing having babies. In fact, the fertility rate around the world is lower than it has ever been!

below replacement fertility

Childbearing has declined by 50%, 50 to 60 years ago women in developed and developing countries combined had on an average 5 children, but now the world average is about 2.5 children per woman. The new idea of the small family arose typically in the urban industrial society. And that it was first introduced to tackle over population, but now as the idea is pretty attractive and conservative, we have low fertility as a consequence of that. The major reason is mobility of people especially the youngs and the city lifestyle that reduced the pressures toward traditional behavior exerted by the family and communities. This conservative behavior has quarreled up so many different issues which are usually ignored as considering unimportant. For countries in Africa and Asia this concept of ‘ideal’ family provide promising outcome whereas for developed countries the same could become a challenge. The government policies of limiting family structure was only introduced for highly populated regions such as India and China.

Now why don’t people have babies? Well one reason- financial concerns. Raising kids is no doubt a stress to your pockets. With the cost of education, health and food increasing- raising a child is costlier than ever. And this is the major reason why people consider having less kids. So what’s the solution for this? Well, it is impossible to reduce the cost for education, health care or food but it is possible for the government to introduce smart policies, like one which is being implemented by many countries that is paid maternity leave. Yes whereas countries like India has paid maternity leave, countries like America doesn’t. So we need to provide such assets where parents can actually enjoy few leisure’s just by having more babies. And apart from these theoretical approaches, having babies is just beautiful. Passing on a life is more of a humanitarian trait other than anything else. It offers infinite possibilities for humanity, love, and care.  

This situation needs a more dynamic and analytic solution, as some countries are overflowing with human population while other countries doesn’t even spare a thought on having a child. So the solution should be awareness on why sustainable growth is needed and why population rate should be stable, this odd even scenario will soon change the face of earth if not tackled properly. With social and economic development, including those forces favoring low fertility, and the changing lifestyles of women and men, high birth rates can easily be replaced by the below fertility replacement which will soon overtake all the countries in the 21st century.

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