In 1996, five years before he received the Nobel Prize in economics, George Akerlof in “An Analysis of Out-of-Wedlock Childbearing in the United States” labeled contraception the “technology shock” that gave us the death of the ‘shot-gun marriage’ and the rise of single motherhood. A  second paper refined his argument still more. One of his coauthors was his wife, Janet Yellen, who later became Chairman of the Federal Reserve System, the central bank of the United States.  Central banks around the world now must deal with the slowing velocity of money as marriage and birth rates fall in developed countries, leading to less spending on children and new homes, phenomena closely linked to rates of contraception.  These unintended consequences are playing out in the most unforeseen ways, one of which is the growing shortage of native-born workers in the developed economies of the world, a vacuum drawing young legal and illegal immigrants from poorer homelands in search of a better life.

Below we give the data on fertility and contraception rates.  2.1 children per woman is the “replacement” fertility rate, which would keep a nation’s population stable.

Fertility are dropping world-wide at an alarming rate inching towards the replacement rate of 2.1 children per woman.  The present world fertility rate is 2.4 and is declining at a steady 5.25% per decade. At this rate the whole world will be below replacement rate within 30 years.  Once below it seems no county has been able to get it back up despite its best efforts. In other words we will face a world economy of constantly contracting markets. A company with contracting markets is in trouble. Economies with contracting markets are similarly in trouble.  There is time to correct this (one generation) but so far no nation has figured out how to do it.

What follows is fertility and contraception rates for

  • The regions of the world, rank-ordered by rates of fertility
  • Individual countries, further divided into two:
  • The six most populous countries, that together make up more than half the world’s population
  • 12 notable individual nations


It continues here.