Yet their fertility rates remain at 4.6 to 4.7 children per woman, and a future halt in fertility decline in those countries would surprise no one.
A central tenet of demography is that global population will peak at 9 to 10 billion this century and then gradually decline as poorer countries develop.
But that assumption may be overly optimistic — and if it is, population will continue to rise, placing enormous strains on the environment. Leading demographers, including those at the United Nations and the U. Census Bureau, are projecting that world population will peak at 9.5 billion to 10 billion later this century and then gradually decline as poorer countries develop. What if population continues to soar, as it has in recent decades, and the world becomes home to 12 billion or even 16 billion people by 2100, as a high-end UN estimate has projected?
Some advanced Indian states, such as Kerala and Tamil Nadu, have excellent family planning programs and fertility rates of 1.8 children per woman, which will lead to declining populations in those states.
But some of India’s poorest and most populous states — Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh — have total fertility rates ranging from 3.3 to 3.9.