Populations can replace themselves by having children (fertility) and through immigration. Here, we focus on fertility. A general rule is that women must have an average of 2.1 children to maintain the population, with the extra 0.1 owing to the fact that some children will not reach the age of procreation.
This GeoFRED map of the world shows how each country stands with respect to replacing itself. The color white indicates the country is below its replacement rate, light blue indicates pretty much the minimum replacement rate, and the darkening greens move up the fertility scale from there.
It’s not news that many Western industrialized nations have low fertility, which they compensate for with immigration. Poorer countries, as expected, have higher fertility. But there are a few cases that aren’t so well known. For example, some South American countries have low fertility, as does Thailand. Iran is a low-fertility country in between two high-fertility countries, Iraq and Afghanistan. These latter two countries tend to have net emigration, which is not surprising given the waves of conflict there, and thus their populations don’t increase as fast as their fertility would otherwise indicate. And then there’s Eastern Europe: very low fertility and net emigration, leading to substantial population loss.
How this map was created: From GeoFRED, click on “Build New Map.” Under the “Tools” menu, enter “fertility” in the data search bar and select “fertility rate, total.” You can select your own color scheme (under “CHOOSE COLORS”) and your own range of values (under “EDIT LEGEND”).
Suggested by Christian Zimmermann.