The Coming Population Crash

How boom is turning to bust. Half the world's women are having too few babies to sustain present populations.

Population Crash

The size of each territory shows the relative proportion of the world's population living there.

NB: Replacement level varies with each country, from 2.04 (RĂ©union) to 3.35 in AIDS-ravaged Swaziland. World average is 2.3.

EUROPE: With fertility below 1.5 from Madrid to Moscow, fears are growing of a demographic implosion. The last couple of years have seen a slight rise, but will it persist?

IRAN: Mullah power need not mean high fertility. In contrast to its neighbors, Iran has a fertility rate of a below-replacement 1.7 children per woman.

CHINA: Official figures say fertility in the world's most populous country is 1.8 children per woman, but unofficially it looks like 1.2.

Population Crash
PHILIPPINES: The world's largest supplier of nurses and sailors is one place where the Catholic Church still imposes its grip. With abortion banned and contraception ostracized, fertility remains at 3.3.

SOUTH AFRICA: Women have an average 2.4 children today. Given the death rate from AIDS, that is below replacement level. The country could soon be contracting.

AUSTRALIA: Aussie women are still on childbirth strike, despite cash baby bonuses and ministerial exhortations to have "one for Mum, one for Dad, and one for the country."

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