Last updated: July 23, 2013

Is there a relation between religion and the number of babies per woman? (VIDEO)

Banner Icon Do Muslim women have more babies than their Christian counterparts? Is there an impact of religion on the number of babies per woman? Hans Rosling breaks stereotypical myths about religion and sexuality by examining the relationship between number of babies and religion during his TED talk in Doha 2012.

Some of Rosling’s conclusions…

- During the last 50 years the majority (approximately 80%) of the world’s countries (from the US to Bangladesh) have gone from having 6-7 children per woman to an average of 2.4 in 2010.

- This trend is seen across the religious spectra and regardless of income level. 

- Yemen went from having 7.3 in 1950 to 5.1 babies/woman in 2011, Iraq 8.1 to 4.6, Saudi Arabia 7.2 to 2.7, Morocco from 7.2 to 2.2, Turkey from 7.0 to 2.1 and Iran 7.1 to 1.6.

- The fastest population growth is witnessed in the countries with highest mortality rate. Part of the explanation lies in the fact that the death of a child is compensated by having another. 

- In Qatar, the number of babies per woman has decreased from 7 in 1964 to 2 in 2011. According to Qatar’s social trend report the most important factors behind the decreasing fertility rate are “increased age of first marriage, increased educational level of Qatari women, and more women integrated the labor force.”

- Babies per woman decrease when:
1. Children survive
2. Many children are not needed for work
3. Women get education and join the labor force
4. Family planning is accessible  

- “We are still debating peak oil but we’ve definitely reached “peak child!
The number of children per woman is no longer growing in the world but is instead likely to remain at an average of two babies per woman. However, despite this trend it is inevitable that the world population increases with 2-3 billion and reaches a level of 10 billion.

- Religion has very little to do with the number of babies per woman!

Christine Petré
Christine Petré is an editor at Your Middle East. You can follow her work at www.christinepetre.com.
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