Population growth rates in dozens of developing States set to decline: UN expert

Population growth rates in dozens of developing States set to decline: UN expert

Thanks to greater opportunities for couples to determine the size of their families, population growth rates in dozens of developing countries are expected to decrease in the coming years, a senior United Nations population official reported today.

Thanks to greater opportunities for couples to determine the size of their families, population growth rates in dozens of developing countries are expected to decrease in the coming years, a senior United Nations population official reported today.

"What we've observed over the past 35 years is a remarkable decline in fertility in the world, from 5 children per woman in 1965 to about half that - an average of 2.5 - today," Joseph Chamie, the Director of the UN Population Division, told a press briefing in New York. "The demographic transition - the transition from high death rates and birth rates to low rates - has enormous implications for every society, every individual, every woman, every child."

"This is something we should view as good news," he stressed, lauding the fact that men and women now had greater control over the number and spacing of their children. He added that the UN "certainly has had a role in assisting countries and individuals" in this area.

Mr. Chamie's briefing was held as experts from around the world gathered at UN Headquarters in New York to discuss the implications of new UN statistics on growth rates in so-called "intermediate fertility countries" - those 74 nations where fertility levels will fall below replacement by 2050.

Among those intermediate countries are some of the most populous States in the world, including India, Bangladesh, Brazil, Indonesia and Mexico, according to the UN Population Division. Experts are discussing this trend and related issues - such as the status of women, the HIV/AIDS epidemic, education and national population policies - during a four-day session scheduled to wrap up on Thursday.