The world has a beautiful cycle of life. With each new baby born into the world, another exciting journey begins. The prospect of birth and childbearing differs from country to country and from culture to culture. Also different is the socially ‘normal’ amount of children a woman typically has.
In many Western societies, the number of children women are having is becoming lower and lower. This is largely due to the increased living expenses and fast-paced lifestyles, amongst other reasons. In other countries, generally, what we refer to as ‘developing’ countries, the birth rate can be higher.
According to UNICEF, an average of 353,000 babies are born across the world each day. The current world population is 7.2 billion and just keeps on growing as the gorgeous new lives are born daily. This is because there are fewer maternal deaths happening globally (although still too many!). Some of the reasons for healthier babies being born are increased access to clean water and less incidence of life-threatening diseases.
There are many things that influence how many babies a woman from a certain country has. Things such as social views on abortion and contraception play a big role, as does poverty levels. Of course, government policy and planning is also a big factor.
Generally speaking, the ideal number of children to aim for is 2 per woman, as this is the replacement rate, ie: you and your partner are ‘replaced’ on the planet by two children. However, this isn’t the average number in some other countries.
Here are 10 countries with the most pregnant women and the amount of children they have per woman.
17 Afghanistan (5.12/Woman)
Despite being war-torn for years after the cultural revolution of the 1970s onwards, Afghanistan still has a thriving birth rate. Afghanistan has a beautiful ancient culture and some very impressive natural landscapes (that are even more beautiful when they aren’t ravished by war). Prior to the cultural revolution, Afghanistan was a very liberal, progressive, and modern society.
On average, women have between 4-5 babies in their lifetime, making it one of the highest pregnancy rates in the world. It goes without saying that bringing a baby into life in Afghanistan has many challenges. The good news is that it means there are plenty of babies to keep the mystifying culture of this country alive and will hopefully see it restored to a peaceful place in their lifetime.
16 Chad (4.3/Woman)
Over on the continent of Africa, there are plenty of beautiful babies coming into the world. The Republic of Chad is a landlocked country on the huge continent, surrounded Libya, Sudan, the Central African Republic, Cameroon, Niger, and Nigeria. They aren’t short on neighbors, and they aren’t short on babies here.
Chad has a lot of natural resources, such as gold and uranium. There are many political instabilities since independence was gained and some violence between the religious groups in the north and the south. Since Chad is a very large country and much of the population lives in rural, farming areas, having many children can be seen as a way to boost labor production. Babies born here are bound to grow up strong and hardworking!
15 Egypt (3.47/Woman)
A place well-known for its incredible history, ancient hieroglyphics, and those amazing pyramid structures, Egypt is somewhere that fascinates many people each year. The long-standing culture has been around for countless centuries and is surely going to live on into the future with the rather high birth rates and prevalence of pregnancy here.
On average, women in Egypt have between 2-3 babies in their family. This isn’t a super high birth rate, but typically it is above the replacement rate. But with such a diverse culture, unique landscapes, and rich history, Egypt is a nation that will continue thriving in the world and preserving the past with each future generation.
14 The Gaza Strip (4.13/Woman)
One of the most contentious pieces of land in the world is also home to many babies being born each year. Gaza is a small, self-governing territory that technically belongs to Palestine. It sits on the eastern coast of the Mediterranean Sea and without a doubt is an impressively beautiful place in terms of scenery.
Unfortunately, the Gaza Strip has known many wars and is involved in ongoing international disputes. Israel withdrew from the Gaza Strip in 2005 but this gave way to War of Brothers in 2007 between Hamas and Fatah. In the lifetime of all the new babies being born each year into the Gaza Strip, there will hopefully be a resolve to the ongoing fighting between Jewish Israel and Islamic Palestine over who really owns this land.
13 Madagascar (4.03/Woman)
A picturesque island off the continent of Africa was made particularly famous by the quirky animated movie of the same name. Madagascar is home to many unique animals, impressive landscapes, and plenty of gorgeous babies born each year. The average number of babies per woman here is a solid 4.
Along this huge island are rainforests, beaches, jungles, and reefs as far as the eye can see. The first people who arrived in Madagascar came from Borneo around 350 BC and 550 AD, making it a not-so-young culture! There have also been lots of other settlements on Madagascar over the years, including the Arabs, the Chinese, and the Indians. All these mixes have made the Malagasy culture and way of a life a unique and interesting one, which will be carried forward by the new generations.
12 Iraq (4/Woman)
The Republic of Iraq is more often than not in the media for the ongoing disputes and wars with the United States of America. In a bygone era, Iraq was a thriving nation, reveling in its rich history and amazing culture. Unfortunately, today it is more of a war-torn nation facing daily struggles and dealing with opposing forces from around the world.
Nonetheless, the Iraqi culture remains strong and fighting hard for a positive future. On average, women are bringing 4 children into the world, who will hopefully be part of a generation of change and prosperity in Iraq. There are many issues facing babies born in Iraq, including a high mortality rate and disabilities or deformities due to war-induced air pollution. It can only be hoped that the international community will do more to help these innocent babies born each year.
11 Philippines (3.2/Woman)
An island nation of South East Asia, comprising of 7,000 islands across the Western Pacific Ocean, the Philippines is a tropical paradise in some ways. With a mix of cultures and histories across the islands, each part of the Philippines has a unique distinction from the last.
While it is becoming an increasingly popular tourist destination, the Philippines does have issues with overpopulation. Over the past 10 or so years, the Philippines has had one of the fastest growing populations in South East Asia, but not the infrastructure of space to maintain each new life. Therefore, there are some issues with poverty and displacement for children, but the government is doing what it can to support the population.
10 Somalia (5.8/Woman)
A lesser-known country in Africa, the Federal Republic of Somalia is a country located in the Horn of Africa. Unfortunately, Somalia is most commonly in the news for bombings, terror attacks, and wars ravishing the once beautiful land. The problems facing Somalia stem mostly from civil wars that have raged on over the years.
Nonetheless, there are many beautiful babies being born into this problematic country each year. In fact, it has one of the highest pregnancy rates, with the average woman having 5-6 babies in her lifetime. Unfortunately, many of these babies suffer from diseases, malnutrition, or infant mortality. It isn’t an easy life for the Somalis! Hopefully one day all the children born in Somalia will live to get a future they deserve.
9 Tanzania (4.77/Woman)
A picturesque country in East Africa, Tanzania is located in the Great Lakes Region, with Kenya and Uganda bordering it. One of the most well-known features of Tanzania is the vast wilderness the country has to offer, especially endless savannah plains and unbelievable waterfalls. From coral reefs on the coast to lions roaming free inland, Tanzania is something special.
As more and more tourists come to Tanzania, more and more babies continue to be born each year. Tanzania is developing in many ways and maternal health is getting increasingly better. Around half of the babies born each year are born in proper medical centers with the right facilities. On average, women have around 4-5 babies, but there are cases of more or fewer babies in different families, depending on region and culture.
8 Zambia (5.6/Woman)
Located in a landlocked position in southern Africa, the Republic of Zambia is bordered by Zimbabwe, Angola, Malawi, and South Africa. Most impressively, it shares the border with Zimbabwe where the incredible Victoria Falls are located, the largest waterfalls on the whole continent. Aside from this, there are other rugged terrains and diverse wildlife across the country of Zambia.
Zambia is one of Africa’s most largely urbanized countries and has a steady rate of development. Although there are still incidences of poverty around the country, the infrastructure, education systems, and natural resources are helping communities to grow and thrive. This is good news for the many babies that are born into Zambia each year. On average, a woman has around 5-6 babies to keep the family growing and prosperous.
Here are 7 countries with the least pregnant women and the amount of children they have per woman.
7 Singapore (0.83/Woman)
One of the smallest countries in the world also has one of the smallest rates of pregnancy amongst women. Singapore is a city-state that is often referred to as the Lion City or the Garden City. It sits just under Malaysia and has a strong economic center as well as a thriving multicultural setting.
As Singapore grows on the international business scene, less and less babies are born into the world here to see it. One major factor of the low birth rate is that having a baby is simply too expensive in Singapore. On average, infant care is around $700 per month, and that is after government subsidies! On top of this, there are also changing priorities amongst Singaporean women who are looking more to improving infrastructure and environment before babies.
6 Austria (1.47/Woman)
Over in Europe and this landlocked country, it has a steadily declining birth rate. Known for mountains and lakes, Austria is becoming less known for beautiful babies entering the world. Birth rates in Austria have more and less halved between 1965 to 1999 and now has a steady rate of 1 or 2 babies per woman, falling either under or on the replacement rate.
Austria doesn’t have a high prevalence of mortality rate, so it is really coming down to the choice of women not to have babies. Also, women are choosing to have babies much later in life. In fact, in 2014, women became mothers (if they chose to do so) five years later than they did in 1984. This has a lot to do with economics, lifestyle choices, and the changing face of societal expectations across the world.
5 Bosnia And Herzegovina (1.3/Woman)
A complex country with a recently difficult history, Bosnia and Herzegovina recovered relatively well from the European communist wars of the 1990s. Now, it is a thriving tourist destination with impressive culture, interesting landscapes, and plenty of history to see while there.
While Bosnia and Herzegovina are developing well in terms of economics, there are still many social issues that the population has to face. Here there is a very high unemployment rate for youth, with 57.7% of young people struggling to find work and having to move away from their families. This is one of the major factors why fewer women are choosing to have babies, to avoid their family struggling with employment and finances.
4 Canada (1.6/Woman)
A country with universal health care, good education, and a dreamy Prime Minister doing good things in the world would supposedly have happy parents popping out more and more babies. Surprisingly, Canada has a fairly low birthrate and sits below the replacement rate. In 2011, the birth rate per woman was 1.68 but fell to just 1.6 in 2008.
One thing that accounts for women choosing to have fewer babies or no babies at all, is the lack of facilities. Although Canada is doing good things, there just aren’t enough of the good things to go around. For instance, kindergartens and childcare facilities are overcrowded and competitive to get into. This puts a lot of pressure on families in terms of working and supporting a child along the way.
3 Croatia (1.4/Woman)
A dream destination on the Adriatic Sea, Croatia is topping places to visit in Eastern Europe. Since the 1990s and the fall of communism and the dissolution of former Yugoslavia, Croatia has become a well developed thriving independent country. However, this prosperity hasn’t encouraged more babies to be born. In fact, the global financial crisis that happened around 2008/09 meant that fewer women were conceiving in Croatia, giving it one of the lowest birth rates in Europe.
Croatia basically experienced a ‘baby recession’ between 2008-2011 where the number of births in Croatia dropped by 6%. Other problems that led to this was the government not helping new families out with any economic benefits and a general lack of good childcare facilities.
2 South Korea (1.26/Woman)
This developed and prosperous country in the Korean peninsula has a thriving economy and is doing much better internationally than its neighbor to the north. South Korea is a very interesting country that has risen above wars and poverty issues of the Korean War in the 1950s to have a strong economy and become a business capital.
Amongst all of the development, however, the birth rate has fallen drastically. In fact, in 2016 it was the first time the number of births in South Korea fell below 400,000. This is despite efforts from the government to get their population growing, with baby incentives available. Much of the reasons behind the fall in births is youth unemployment, cost of living, and high education expenses. There also aren’t good maternity leave packages available, making women concerned about having too many children.
1 Puerto Rico (1.22/Woman)
A beautiful nation that seems to be dealt one hard blow after another, Puerto Rico has experienced a range of issues with corruption, poor economics, and quite recently natural disasters. On top of this, Puerto Rico also has issues with maternal health and good facilities for babies to born and raised, such as hospitals and childcare centers.
As a result of the poor infrastructure, there are less and less babies being born into Puerto Rico. Puerto Rico also recently suffered greatly from the Zika virus, wherein 2014 there were around 10,000 cases of Zika. Sadly, there is a large infant mortality rate in Puerto Rico which makes it hard for women to emotionally come to terms with the thought of having a large and growing family.
Sources: Theworldcounts.com, Cia.gov