Tuesday, June 12, 2012

The amazing decline in Muslim fertility

According to this study, fertility in much of the Ummah--the worldwide community of followers of Islam--has fallen in the past 20 years to levels comparable to the United States. If that isn't amazing enough, the data indicate that increased use of birth control and socioeconomic development have had little to do with it. (And the article doesn't even mention abortion as an explanation. Correct me if I'm wrong, but abortion is illegal and rare in many Muslim countries.)

By contrast, the correlation between desired and actual family size is extremely high in these countries. According to the author, the revolutionary change has been due to changes in individual family size preferences. He doesn't use the world culture, but that's what I would call it when people's preferences change collectively.

This dramatic worldwide decline should reduce immigration numbers and ease the assimilation problems in the developed world.


  1. Anonymous3:11 PM

    Maybe they aren't including their daughters in those statistics.

  2. Anonymous8:24 PM

    Maybe all the wives have cell phones and can occupy their time gossiping with their girlfriends or surfing the web and finding out about the wide world. So they feel less need to have children to meaningfully occupy themselves.
    Robert Hume

  3. This article strikes me as incompetent and dishonest - I don't trust anything about it.

    BTW - My default setting for all published article is that it is almost certain to be dishonest and incompetent.

    Modern academics are (with incredibly few exceptions) not even trying to discover and communicate the truth - so it would be a near miracle if they did so.

    The more eminent, the less truthful - since success can *only* be achieved by hype, spin and satisfying the peer review cartel. Frequent lying is not just an advantage, it is now mandatory - and people just get used to it.

    But this article in particular is in an area where studies are funded and performed, and publications structured, specifically in order to influence policy.

  4. The reason of this decline, so diffuse in near all developing Islamic countries could be the TV.

    There is a study published about Brazil showing the fertility rate of Brazil various regions changed as TV network Rete Globo (a private channel) started to broadcast telenovelas there.

    The families in the telenovelas have smaller family size and the name used by them become more frequent where they were broadcast.

    The broadcasted reality become the new normal and where normal was 6-7 children, the new normal was 2-3 children or less.

    The TV probably also raised the bar for female and male to find appropriate husbands and wives. And probably raised the bar for proper investment in a children. If people is brainwashed to buy stuff for children, they will find increasingly onerous to have the same number as before and will find "rational" to have less of them.

    Add these reasons to the others (delayed childbearing for education and economic stability - enough to buy a house, have a stable job, etc.) and they could have a much faster drop in TFR than the west, where the TV started broadcasting much earlier.

  5. In relation to abortion, IIRC, abortion is legal and available in many Muslims countries as Islam don't consider the unborn a person until it is born. So, there is much less religious opposition to abortion than in Christianity.


    The Iranian parliament has ratified some laws in recent years
    (14,15), including the Therapeutic Abortion Act on June 21,
    2005 (16). This Act was approved after vigorous debate between
    opponents and supporters.
    The Act permits therapeutic abortion after a definite diagnosis
    by three experts and a confirmation by the Legal Medicine
    Organisation (LMO). This decision may be based on foetal
    diseases leading to afflictions for the mother due to foetus
    malformation or retardation, or based upon life-threatening
    maternal diseases. Abortion may be carried out before
    ensoulment with the woman’s consent and any liability or
    punishment would not be directed toward the physician.
    Offenders going contrary to the provisions of the Act will be
    punished according to the penalties of Islamic law.
    The Act was passed at a public session of the parliament on May
    31, 2005, and it approved by the Guardian Council on June 15,
    Under the earlier law, abortion before four months was permitted
    if the mother’s life was at risk, but her husband’s consent
    was mandatory. The new law in Iran permits termination of
    pregnancy during the first four months if the foetus is mentally
    or physically handicapped or if the mother’s life is in danger.
    According to the new law, the woman’s consent is sufficient to
    carry out the abortion. However, three specialists must confirm
    that the foetus is disabled or the mother has a life-threatening
    condition. A high proportion of the requests for abortion is
    made in the first trimester and the new law will facilitate the
    process when there are genetic disorders or serious maternal


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