Mention fertility problems and most people think about aging would-be mums who may left it too late. Here a Canadian newspaper looks at the national problem of low and possibly reducing fertility rates. NZ, by the way, is just below replacement level at 2.01. Canada's rate is 1.5
By the year 2015, for the first time in the history of Canadian population statistics, there will be more people over the age of 65 than under the age of 15. Even the normally staid national bureau of record-keeping, Statistics Canada, declared, "This would be an unprecedented situation in Canada," when it announced late last year the critical turning point in a population projections report.
These projections, which were shaped by various growth scenarios, predicted fertility rates ranging from a low of 1.3 babies per woman to a high of 1.7 babies per woman. That puts Canada in line with the growing roster of nations beset by declining fertility: France, 1.9; Australia, 1.7; Germany, 1.3; Italy and Spain, 1.2, Japan, 1.2; Korea, 1.1.
Only the United States is conspicuous among its industrialized neighbours for a fertility rate that continues to remain above what is known as replacement level, with 2.01 babies per woman. The main reason for this difference seems to be in the fertility rate among women aged 24-29, which has been cut almost in half in Canada and many of the other nations with declining fertility, but which remains virtually unchanged in the U.S., where more traditional values prevail, says demographer Alain Belanger, the demographer behind Statistics Canada's latest projections.
Traditional values? The reason that NZ and the US have higher rates is the higher rates of birth to minorities. They have bigger families and higher proportions of young women.
In 2001, non-Hispanic whites had an average of 1.9 births per woman, compared with 2.0 births among Asian Americans, 2.1 births among American Indians, 2.2 births among non-Hispanic blacks, and 3.2 births among Hispanics.
The comparatively high rate in New Zealand reflects the higher fertility rates of Māori (2.65 births per woman in 2004) and Pacific women (2.94 in 2000–2002). The non-Maori fertility rate is 1.86
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