Here are the top three key findings:
Fertility has declined significantly since the 1994 International Conference on Population and Development, yet 66 countries remain with high fertility levels (more than 3.2 children per woman). The number of low-fertility countries (with 2.0 children per woman or less) has increased from 51 countries at the time of the 1994 ICPD to 70 countries today.The high fertility countries of Africa help to account for the problems faced by Nigeria, Chad, and Cameroon as they battle Boko Haram. Indeed, all of the political hot-spots south of the Mediterranean involve high fertility countries. On the other hand, the trouble spot in Eastern Europe--between Russia and Ukraine--involve two below replacement countries trying to figure out how to navigate when on the edge of depopulation. Neither demographic extreme seems to be amenable to political stability.
High-fertility countries are increasingly concentrated in sub-Saharan Africa (45 out of 66 high- fertility countries) while low-fertility countries are becoming more diverse geographically, including many more countries in Asia and Latin America and the Caribbean (31 out of the 70 low-fertility countries are from regions outside of Europe).
There have been substantial declines in adolescent fertility in many high-fertility countries, but adolescent fertility remains very high in Middle Africa and Western Africa. Angola, Chad, Mali and Niger stand out with adolescent birth rates of above 180 births per 1,000 women aged 15-19 years in 2005-2010. Adolescent fertility also continues to account for a high proportion of births in many low-fertility countries in Latin America and the Caribbean; in five low-fertility countries, all in Latin America and the Caribbean, 15 per cent or more of all births were to adolescent mothers.
One reason for people thinking that high fertility is behind us is that the UN projections assume that will be the case. These assumptions are unlikely to hold if efforts to provide contraception, along with education to young people, are not supported.