Fertility and Marriage

Continued high fertility in some countries is the major driver of population growth, while in other countries the decline of fertility to historically low levels propels changes in the age distribution, including the gradual ageing of the human population. Even though the past few decades have witnessed a major reduction in fertility levels worldwide, global and regional data and trends mask widespread diversity. The timing, prevalence and stability of marriages and unions not only shape the reproductive behaviour of women and men, but are also linked to wider social and economic changes such as improvements in women’s educational attainment and labour force participation. The Population Division produces estimates and projections of fertility rates by age for all countries in the world, and prepares analytical studies of fertility levels and trends on a regular basis. The Division also produces estimates, compilations and analyses of patterns in marriage and union formation and dissolution.