Stagnation in the decline of the world population growth rate during the 1980s

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Science  07 Aug 1992:
Vol. 257, Issue 5071, pp. 761-765
DOI: 10.1126/science.1496396


The world human population growth rate after World War II passed through three phases: the rise in the 1950s and 1960s, the fall (though still at a positive level) in the 1970s, and the plateau in the 1980s. The rise was produced by the global decline in death rates, the fall was mainly due to the reduction of fertility in a number of developing countries, and the stagnation of growth rate decline was attributable to three major factors. First, substantial fertility declines started around 1970 and stalled around 1980 in both China and India. Second, the age structure of population changed in favor of higher birth rates. Third, although fertility started to decline significantly around 1970 mainly in East Asia, Southeast Asia, and Latin America, few countries have begun fertility declines since then. Many countries in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia have not started substantial fertility reductions, deepening the gap between developing countries that are moving to lower fertility levels and those that are left behind.