infographic from The Economist shows just how dramatically fertility rates have fallen in Asia. (The Economist calls this a gentle decline, but I find it more dramatic than that). From a fertility rate of 5.8 in 1980, Asia will hit the magic 2.1 in 2014, bringing the population to equilibrium, a pattern mirrored almost exactly in Latin America.
The drop in fertility is more widespread than just in China where the one-child policy has obviously caused their fertility rate to plunge.Bangladesh's fertility rate, for instance, went from 6.9 to 2.9 in just 30 years from 1970, while Iran's dropped from 6.5 in 1980 to 1.9 in 2005. The World Fact Book published by the CIA shows under half the countries in the world with a fertility rate above 2.1, but those rates are also expected to fall where economic security and women's rights and education increase. The UN predicts that world population will peak at 9.22B in 2075 and then drop slightly to stabilize at just under 9B in 2300.
But you should just go and look at this wonderful infographic. The Economist has taken a page from Hans Rosling's book - take some dry numbers and show the trends by animating them. Wonderful.