Population increase in Asia and Africa is also associated with still young populations. Despite widespread declines in fertility, mortality is also declining and that keeps the population younger than it might otherwise seem. Furthermore, as John Wilmoth, Director of the Population Division notes in his press release, we cannot just sit back idly and assume that fertility will continue to drop.
Our medium-variant projection assumes that fertility will continue to decline in countries where fertility is above the replacement level, and to increase slightly in countries where it is very low. However, such changes will not happen automatically. In effect, we are assuming that countries will continue to respond to the challenges presented by relatively high or low levels of fertility by adopting policies that help to enable couples, both men and women, to control the number, the timing and the spacing of their children.There is a lot of change taking place and a lot of work to do, and the obsession in rich countries with the long-term impact of low birth rates is not helping us to generate good global policy.