Babies per woman


In this short video Professor Hans Rosling shows the dramatic change in the number of babies per woman in the last 50 years. Throughout history, women on average have given birth to more than five babies. In the 1960’s the numbers suddenly started falling, and is now down to less than three. Most likely it will continue to drop down to two or even below.


In this short video Professor Hans Rosling shows how the drop in number of babies per woman is distributed across the world. The numbers have dropped in all regions of the world, but not exactly in the same way and not at the same time. The drop in Africa and Asia came later, but is faster than in the Americas and Europe. If the current trend continues, by the end of the century we can expect two babies per woman all over the world.

You can download this video here!


In the book Factfulness you’ll find this graph.

The sources and methods behind Gapminder’s historic fertility rates trends are documented here » The fertility forecasts beyond 2015, comes from UN Population Division, World Population Prospects 2017.  We use the term “babies per woman” for the statistical indicator “total fertility rate.” We use UN-Pop[3] for post-1950 data and Gapminder[7], based on Mattias Lindgren’s work, for the years before 1950. The dashed line after 2017 shows the UN medium fertility projection, expected to reach 1.96 in 2099.


These slides are using data from the 2015 edition of World Population Prospects, put it doesn’t really matter because the picture is the same as with the latest update.

Global trend


Download file: PPT, PDF

Regional trend

Download file: PPT, PDF


After 1950: UN World Pop. Prosp. 2012.

Before 1950: hundreds of sources combined by Gapminder. See:


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