Traditions Change: Birthrates Drop in Latin America and Asia

The Washington Post recently reported on plummeting birth rates in Brazil, a country with traditionally big families. The consistency of this swing across such a large, economically, geographically and politically diverse country was striking to demographers. It reflects an even larger trend across much of Latin America, which has seen women go from having almost six children each in 1960 to an average of 2.3 today. This tendency has also reached Asia, which has seen similar declines, but as the population-focused Guttmacher Institute reports, much of sub-Saharan Africa remains all too fertile with birth rates double that of Asia and Latin America. An exception is Ethiopia, which, according to RH Reality Check "is uniquely positioned to push the envelope on reproductive health and women's rights since its national policies are relatively progressive among African nations.” (For a different take on Ethiopia's progressivism, check out Mountainfilm in Telluride 2009 guest Nick Kristof's piece in The New York Times.)

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