A huge study recently published in The Lancet medical journal has taken a close look at population growth around the world.
Do families still have 2.4 children?
Whilst the global average in 2017 is holding fast at the traditional 2.4 children, the study has revealed that women in New Zealand are, on average, having 2.1 children each. This compares with 1.7 in the UK, 1.8 in the USA and 1.9 in Australia.
Countries that had the highest birth rates were Niger (7.1), Chad (6.7), Somalia (6.1), Mali (6.0) and Afghanistan (6.0).
New Zealand women are most likely to have children between the ages of 30 to 34 years old, with the second most likely age bracket being 25-29 years old.
The world’s population
The study also looked back at population growth since 1950. Back then the world had 2.5 billion people and women were having, on average, 5 babies each. Since 1970 the world’s population has doubled and currently stands at 7.6 billion.
New Zealand’s population has grown from 1.9 million in 1950, to 3.2 million in 1980, and currently is around 4.4 million.
This video from the American Museum of Natural History shows how our population has grown and the effect world events like the Industrial Revolution have had on our population.
Is our population out of control?
Climate change, depletion of resources, species extinction, and many more of Earth’s current issues have been caused, at least in some part, by the growth of the human population. We are a very successful species. But are we destined to be too successful for our planet to bear?
It’s a controversial subject, but population control exists beyond the well known one-child policy introduced in China in the 1970’s (which has now been relaxed to two children). Other countries have from time to time introduced policies promoting either a restriction on the maximum number of children a couple should have, or more commonly, encouraging couples to have more children to boost the country’s population. These usually carry financial incentives. Countries like India and Pakistan encourage couples to wait a while to have children or to space them out more. Unfortunately some countries have in the past taken population control beyond encouragement and carried out sterilisation without consent or enforced a contraception ban.
How many kids do you have compared to your own parents? Join the discussion in the comments below.
This article was written by Julie Scanlon, Editor for Kidspot NZ.
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