This study reexamines fertility convergence by extending Dorius (2008), who explored global fertility convergence with quinquennial data from 1955–2005. Using annual data for 187 countries in 1960–2017, this study examines global as well as regional fertility convergence from three angles: β-convergence, inequality indices, and standard deviation. β-convergence is defined as the greater rate of fertility decline in higher-fertility countries compared to lower-fertility countries. Inequality indices and standard deviation are used to examine fertility convergence in terms of the decline in inequality (σ-convergence).
This study confirms the finding of Dorius (2008) that global fertility convergence starts in the second half of the 1990s. Moreover, this study finds that global fertility convergence continues after 2005 until 2017. It comprehensively examines fertility convergence by region for the first time and finds that fertility convergence/divergence is predicted by the level of total fertility rate (TFR) in 1960. In regions with a mean TFR of six or less in 1960 (Europe, East Asia and the Pacific, Central Asia, and the Americas), fertility has been converging in recent decades, while fertility convergence is not confirmed in regions with a mean TFR of over six in 1960 (the Middle East and North Africa, sub-Saharan Africa, and South Asia). The result is consistent with another finding of this study: that global fertility convergence is more clearly observed if conducting a β-convergence estimation with samples of TFR1960≦5.8.
Keywords: population, total fertility rates, world, region, convergence