Taken as a whole, the world’s more-developed regions – including Europe, North America, Japan and Australia – have Total Fertility Rates (TFRs) below their replacement levels of about 2.1 children per woman, the minimum necessary to keep the population stable (absent other factors, such as immigration). Fertility rates in these more-developed nations are projected to rise slightly over the next 20 years but to remain, on average, well below replacement levels.
In many Muslim-majority countries – including Indonesia, Iran, United Arab Emirates, Lebanon, Turkey and Tunisia – the Pew Research study finds that fertility rates also have dropped substantially. The average Total Fertility Rate for all 49 Muslim-majority countries has fallen from 4.3 children per woman in 1990-95 to an estimated 2.9 children in 2010-15. Over the next 20 years, fertility rates in these Muslim-majority countries as a whole are expected to continue to decline, though not quite as steeply, dropping to 2.6 children per woman in 2020-25 and 2.3 children in 2030-35 – approaching and possibly reaching replacement levels.
If current trends continue, fertility rates in Muslim-majority countries eventually may converge with fertility rates in other developing countries and in the world’s more-developed regions. But complete convergence is not projected to occur in the next two decades, as the trend lines in the above graph shows.