How Do The Birth and Death Rates Are Influencing the World Population?
Dec 15, 2023 By Triston Martin

The world population topped 7.9 billion in 2023 and is growing steadily. UN DESA estimates that the world population will reach 8.5 billion by 2030. It may peak at 9.7 billion in 2050 and stabilize at around 11 billion by 2100.

Birth Rates As A Declining Trend

Birth rates, which affect population dynamics, are falling worldwide. The worldwide birth rate averaged 37.2 per 1,000 in 1950. This rate declined to 18 births per 1,000 by 2021. This drop is greater in wealthy nations. Italian and Spanish birth rates by country are among the lowest in the world, frequently below 1.5 children per woman, much below the replacement threshold of 2.1.

Reduced Death Rates

Global mortality was 20 per 1,000 in the early 20th century. It dropped to 7.6 fatalities per 1,000 in 2021.

Japan and Switzerland, with high life expectancies, have among of the lowest mortality rates, below ten per 1,000. Death rates are still high in certain emerging nations, particularly those with poverty, violence, or disease outbreaks.

Factors Influencing Birth and Death Rates

Economic Development and Birth Rates

National birth rates and economic growth are strongly correlated. Lower birth rates occur when economies expand. Access to education, particularly for women, and more wealth are associated with fewer children per household in industrialized countries. South Korea's fast economic growth since the late 20th century has coupled with one of the world's lowest fertility rates, 0.84 children per woman in 2021.

Cultural and Social Factors

Cultural and social norms significantly influence birth rates. High birth rates may result from traditional civilizations' emphasis on prominent families. Many Western nations have later marriages and births, lowering birth rates. The average first-time mother age is rising. In 2019, the typical EU woman gave birth at 29 years old.

Lifestyle and Environmental Factors

Environmental and lifestyle factors can affect mortality rates. In nations with high pollution, low water quality, or poor sanitation, mortality rates are more significant. Lifestyle factors, including obesity, smoking, and drinking, may also raise death rates. Russia has one of the highest alcohol-related death rates in the world, which increases its mortality rate.

Government Policies and Interventions

Government policies and interventions can significantly impact both birth and death rates. Family planning, education, and women's empowerment policies reduce birth rates. However, better healthcare spending, immunization programs, and public health efforts may lower mortality rates. From 1979 to 2015, China's one-child policy drastically changed birth rates.

Global Population Dynamics

Aging Populations in Developed Countries

Population aging is a major consequence of decreased birth rates, particularly in affluent nations. Japan and Italy confront issues from aging populations. In 2021, 28% of Japanese were 65 or older, reducing the workforce and raising healthcare and pension expenditures. This demographic shift poses challenges for economic growth and social support systems.

Youthful Populations in Developing Countries

In contrast, many developing countries, particularly in Africa and parts of Asia, have youthful populations due to high birth rates. Countries like Nigeria and Pakistan have a median age of below 20 years. This demographic trend presents both opportunities and challenges. While a young population can be a boon for economic growth and innovation, it also requires significant investments in education, healthcare, and employment opportunities to harness this potential.

Urbanization and Population Distribution

Changes in birth and death rates affect urbanization. Many emerging nations have fast urbanization due to higher birth rates and rural-to-urban migration. Urbanization is expected to reach 68% of the global population by 2050. Urban planning, infrastructure, and sustainability are affected by this change.

Global Migration Trends

Another consequence of varying demographic trends is global migration. People relocate from poorer areas with higher birth rates to more developed ones with lower birth rates. This migration may reduce labor shortages in wealthy nations but exacerbate the concerns of integration, cultural diversity, and social cohesion.

Regional Variations in Birth and Death Rates


Asia, the most populous continent, exhibits various demographic patterns. Japan and South Korea have elderly populations and falling birth rates. Indian and Bangladeshi populations are youthful despite declining birth rates. India's fertility rate is reaching replacement at 2.2 children per woman in 2021.


Its high birth rates and fast population increase distinguish Africa. Nigeria and the DRC have high fertility rates, frequently reaching five children per woman. These nations struggle to provide education, healthcare, and jobs due to population expansion.


European countries generally exhibit low birth rates and aging populations. Countries like Germany, Italy, and Spain have some of the lowest fertility rates globally, often below 1.5 children per woman. This demographic trend leads to workforce shortages and increased pressure on social security systems. Immigration from countries with higher birth rates is one of the responses to these challenges.

The Americas

Immigration helps keep birth rates around replacement in North America's US and Canada. Brazil has a declining birth rate, whereas Guatemala has a high birth rate.


Oceania presents a mix of demographic trends. Australia and New Zealand, with more developed economies, have birth rates around the replacement level and face challenges similar to those of other developed nations. In contrast, many Pacific Island nations have higher birth rates and younger populations.

Projected Global Population Trends

According to the UN, the global population might reach 9.7 billion by 2050 and 11 billion by the end of the century. These forecasts depend on fertility rates, which legislation and societal changes may affect.

Developed countries with aging populations need to implement strategies to manage the economic and social challenges this presents. These may include policies to increase workforce participation among older adults, encouraging higher fertility rates through family-friendly policies, and investing in automation and AI to mitigate labor shortages. For example, Japan invests in robotics to assist in healthcare and other sectors impacted by its aging population.

In nations with high birth rates, investing in girls' education has reduced fertility. Additionally, healthcare and family planning access must be improved. Economic development policies may unleash the potential of a young population, converting demographic difficulties into growth possibilities.