Saturday, February 22, 2014

How will birth rates shape out in the Middle East?

It is by now well established that there has been a dramatic demographic transformation in the Middle East. Over the past 30 years, most countries have seen their average birth rates fall from around 6 or 7 to less than 3 children per woman today.

So how will these trends continue in the coming decades?

This chart shows the latest UN forecasts for a number of key countries in the Middle East.

The notable outlier in this picture is Israel, where the birth rate has remained relatively flat over the past 30 years and is not expected to change much in the coming decades.

In fact, of the 15 countries in the Middle East, Israel had by far the lowest birth rate in 1985. However, by 2035 Israel is expected to reach one of the highest rates in the region (second only to Iraq).

It should be noted, however, that while the projections for most of these countries are likely to turn out reasonably accurate, the projections for Israel will most certainly not.

Because it is not feasible that Israel's birth rate will remain around 2.9, albeit with a very moderate decline. In fact, there are only two possible outcomes; either the birth rate will rise in the coming years or it will decline rapidly.

Look out for the next blog to understand why this is...