Fertility Collapse Demands New Cultures

Birth rates are falling much faster than many dominant narratives imply. The global fertility rate for all of Latin America and the Caribbean fell below the replacement rate of 2.1 babies per woman in 2019. India will achieve that status in 2024. China is expected to be at half its current population by 2066. First-generation immigrants to the US fell below the replacement rate in 2019. Already, 115 countries representing about half the world’s population are beneath replacement, and by the end of the century nearly every country in Africa is projected to have a rapidly declining population.

People underestimate how quickly this effect will be felt. South Korea currently has a total fertility rate of 0.81. For every 100 South Korean great-grandparents, there will be 6.6 great-grandkids. At the 0.7 fertility rate predicted in South Korea by 2024, that amounts to 4.3 great-grandkids. It’s as if we knew a disease would kill 94 percent of South Koreans in the next century.