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3.6: Fertility

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  • Fertility is the actual level of reproduction of a population per individual, based on the number of live births that occur. Total fertility is the average number of children born to each woman, over the woman’s lifespan, in a population. Birth rate and fertility are closely linked terms. As a country moves through the demographic transition model, fertility rates decrease. Overall, fertility rates have decreased for most countries and regions over the past 50 years (Figure \(\PageIndex{1}\)). However, there is still a significant amount of variation among different regions of the world.

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    Figure \(\PageIndex{1}\): Shows the total fertility of different regions of the world. The blue bars are the total fertility estimates from 1950-1955. The red bars are the total fertility estimates from 2010-2015. More developed regions include Europe, Northern America (US and Canada), Australia, New Zealand and Japan. Less developed regions comprise all regions of Africa, Asia (except Japan), Latin America and the Caribbean plus Melanesia, Micronesia and Polynesia. Oceania includes Australia, New Zealand, Melanesia, Micronesia and Polynesia. Data are from the United Nations, Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Population Division. World Population Prospects, 2015 Revision. UN