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Catholic World News

Dramatic fertility decline in Muslim world

July 11, 2012

“The remarkable fertility declines now unfolding throughout the Muslim world is one of the most important demographic developments in our era,” write Nicholas Eberstadt and Apoorva Shah in Policy Review. “Yet it has been ‘hiding in plain sight’--that is to say, it has somehow gone unrecognized and overlooked by all but a handful of observers, even by specialists in the realm of population studies.”

“All 48 Muslim-majority countries and territories witnessed fertility decline over the three decades under consideration,” they add, as Muslim nations as a whole have witnessed a decline of “an estimated 2.6 births per woman between 1975 and 1980 and 2005 and 2010.”

“Contraceptive prevalence has only limited statistical power in explaining fertility differentials for Muslim-majority populations--and can do nothing to explain the highly inconvenient fact that use of modern contraceptives remains much lower among Muslim-majority populations than among non-Muslim societies of similar income level, despite the tremendous fertility declines recorded in the former over the past generation,” Eberstadt and Shah add.


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