Economic development has been key in reducing fertility rates.

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Fertility rates became an increasingly important aspect of population planning amongst governments, especially in the less developed worlds. Governments aim to manage their population size within the carrying capacities of their countries. One of the pre-conditions for a fertility decline is economic development. Economic progress and growth has been imperative in bringing down fertility rates to healthier levels near the 2.1 replacement level. However, economic development cannot function alone and would require other social changes such as emancipation of women and population policies to occur in tandem with it to achieve more significant results. Nevertheless, economic development is a key factor in reducing fertility rates.

With the establishment of modern economic growth, fertility has tended to decline by reducing the need to have children. The demographic transition model (DTM) suggests that in countries that develop from a pre-industrial to an industrialised economic system, long-term increases in economic wealth and income per capita are combined with a transition from high to low birth and death rates. First across high income countries starting largely in the last quarter of the nineteenth century, and then occurring even more rapidly across most low income countries in the last quarter of the twentieth century. The DTM predicts ever-decreasing fertility rates with economic growth. Indeed, in many developing countries over recent decades, a rapid decline of fertility below replacement level was observed that went hand in hand with economic growth.

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Economic growth due to agricultural mechanisation and automation brought about by the Green Revolution increased crop yield exponentially, reducing the need for many farmhands. For example, Philippines’s TFR stood at 6.96 in 1960 but since the introduction of high-yielding IR8 rice, the TFR successfully dropped to 3.2 in 2005. Furthermore, in countries such as India, where a major part of the population engages in subsistence and commercial farming, reproduction is seen as a means of procuring enough manual labour on the farm. An increase ...

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