PARIS – The birth rate in developing countries is increasing the global baby boom, but women in dozens of richer countries are not bringing enough children to maintain their populations.
A worldwide overview of birth, death and disease rates, which evaluated thousands of country-based records, also found that heart disease is the leading cause of death worldwide today.
The Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME), founded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, at the University of Washington, has used more than 8,000 data sources – over 600 of them new – to gain one of the most detailed insights into the world healthcare.
Her sources included in-country research, social media and open source material.
She noted that while the world's population exploded from $ 2.6 billion in 1950 to $ 7.6 billion last year, growth varied greatly by region and income.
According to the IHME study, ninety-one nations, mainly in Europe, North and South America, did not produce enough children to sustain their current population.
In Africa and Asia, however, fertility rates continued to grow, with the average woman in Niger giving birth to seven children during her lifetime.
Ali Mokdad, Professor of Health Metrics Sciences at IHME, told AFP that education is the most important factor in determining population growth.
"It depends on socio-economic factors, but it is a function of women's education," he said. "The more a woman is educated, the more she spends school years, she delays her pregnancy and will therefore have fewer babies."
The IHME noted that Cyprus was the least fertile nation on earth, giving birth to the average woman only once in her life.
In contrast, women in Mali, Chad and Afghanistan have on average more than six babies.
The United Nations predicts that by the middle of the century there will be more than 10 billion people on Earth, which is broadly in line with IHM's projection.
This raises the question of how many people can support our world, known as the "carrying capacity of the earth".
Mokdad said that as the population in developing countries continues to rise, their economy generally grows.
This typically has an impact on fertility rates over time.
"In Asia and Africa, the population is still growing and people are moving from poverty to better incomes – unless there are wars or riots," he said.
"Countries are expected to develop better economically, and fertility is more likely to decline and settle there."
Not only are there billions of us more than 70 years ago, but we are living longer than ever.
The study published in the medical journal The Lancet showed that men's life expectancy increased from 48 years in 1950 to 71 years. It is now expected that women will reach the age of 76, compared to 53 years in 1950.
Longer life brings with it own health problems. burden our healthcare systems more.
IHME said heart disease is now the leading cause of death worldwide. It was not until 1990 that neonatal diseases were the biggest killer, followed by lung disease and diarrhea.
Uzbekistan, Ukraine and Azerbaijan had the highest mortality rates due to heart disease. South Korea, Japan and France were among the lowest.
"They see lower mortality from infectious diseases as countries get richer, but also more disability when people live longer," Mokdad said.
He points out that while the number of deaths from infectious diseases such as malaria and tuberculosis has declined significantly since 1990, new noncommunicable killers have taken their place.
"There are certain behaviors that lead to an increase in cardiovascular disease and cancer. Obesity is No. 1 – it increases year by year and our behavior contributes to it. "