Fertility Decline in the Muslim World: A Veritable Sea-Change, Still Curiously Unnoticed

"When you look at pictures from the Arab spring, you see these gigantic crowds of young men, and it confirms the impression that the Muslim Middle East has a gigantic youth bulge -- hundreds of millions of young people with little to do. But that view is becoming obsolete. As Nicholas Eberstadt and Apoorva Shah of the American Enterprise Institute point out, over the past three decades, the Arab world has undergone a little noticed demographic implosion." - David Brooks, New York Times

Key Facts:

  • Iran's fertility rate declined by more than 70 percent between 1975 and 2005. Its level is comparable with the New England states, the region in America with the lowest fertility.
  • A woman in Oman today has 5.6 fewer babies than a woman in Oman 30 years ago.
  • Algeria, Bangladesh, and Morocco all have fertility levels corresponding to the state of Texas, while Indonesia's is almost identical to Arkansas'.
  • Lebanon's fertility level is lower than New York State's.


Read the full working paper here.

"The critical determinant of actual fertility levels in Muslim and non-Muslim societies alike at the end of the day would appear to be attitudinal and volitional, rather than material and mechanistic." Eberstadt and Shah note that access to birth control has not been a highly significant factor in this trend.

Nicholas Eberstadt is a political economist and demographer at the American Enterprise Institute. He has served as a consultant to the World Bank, State Department, USAID, and the Census Bureau. Eberstadt is available for interviews and can be reached through [email protected].

For help reaching any AEI scholars and for all other media requests, please contact Jesse Blumenthal at [email protected] or 202.862.4870.

AEI's in-house ReadyCam TV studio may be booked by calling VideoLink at 617.340.4300. For radio interviews, please e-mail [email protected] to reserve AEI's ISDN facilities.

Also Visit
AEIdeas Blog The American Magazine
About the Author

 

Nicholas
Eberstadt

What's new on AEI

AEI Election Watch 2014: What will happen and why it matters
image A nation divided by marriage
image Teaching reform
image Socialist party pushing $20 minimum wage defends $13-an-hour job listing
AEI on Facebook
Events Calendar
  • 20
    MON
  • 21
    TUE
  • 22
    WED
  • 23
    THU
  • 24
    FRI
Monday, October 20, 2014 | 2:00 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.
Warfare beneath the waves: The undersea domain in Asia

We welcome you to join us for a panel discussion of the undersea military competition occurring in Asia and what it means for the United States and its allies.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014 | 8:30 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.
AEI Election Watch 2014: What will happen and why it matters

AEI’s Election Watch is back! Please join us for two sessions of the longest-running election program in Washington, DC. 

Wednesday, October 22, 2014 | 1:00 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.
What now for the Common Core?

We welcome you to join us at AEI for a discussion of what’s next for the Common Core.

Thursday, October 23, 2014 | 10:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.
Brazil’s presidential election: Real challenges, real choices

Please join AEI for a discussion examining each candidate’s platform and prospects for victory and the impact that a possible shift toward free-market policies in Brazil might have on South America as a whole.

No events scheduled this day.
No events scheduled today.
No events scheduled this day.
No events scheduled this day.