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Why the demographic transition is speeding up

Dec 11th 2021

AS BIRTH ANNOUNCEMENTS go, it was momentous. On November 24th India’s government declared that the country’s fertility rate had dropped to 2.0 children per woman. That is below the replacement rate—at which new births are sufficient to maintain a steady population—and puts India in the company of many richer economies. Indeed, fertility rates are now below replacement level in all four “ BRIC” countries (Brazil, Russia, India and China), with the population probably falling in Russia and China. It is no surprise that emerging economies should follow a demographic trajectory similar to that travelled by rich economies before them. But the pace of change seems to be accelerating, with potentially profound implications for the global economy.

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