If the average fertility rate in 1970 still held true, the global population would be 14 billion, or twice what it is today. So what’s behind the change? Choices by women, according to a new report on global fertility rates.
Despite strong opposition from governments and established religions, the birth rate began to fall in English-speaking countries and Nordic countries from around 1870. Over the following 50 years, other European countries followed.
Previous research shows that the Australian decline was associated with the agency of women increasing through the universal education of girls. This meant that women, rather than men, were putting themselves in charge of fertility decision-making, McDonald says.
The importance of the link between women’s education and the decline in birth rate is an obvious one . . .