Total Fertility Rate
Total fertility rate (per woman)
Total fertility rate (TFR) in simple terms refers to total number of children born or likely to be born to a woman in her life time if she were subject to the prevailing rate of age-specific fertility in the population. TFR of about 2.1 children per woman is called Replacement-level fertility (UN, Population Division). This value represents the average number of children a woman would need to have to reproduce herself by bearing a daughter who survives to childbearing age. If replacement level fertility is sustained over a sufficiently long period, each generation will exactly replace itself without any need for the country to balance the population by international migration.
Situation in SEAR
As shown in the graph below, TFR in two decades (from 1985-1990 to 2005-2010) has declined in all SEAR countries except Timor-Leste where it has increased instead. Out of seven countries which had TFR during 1985-1990 higher than the world average, three (Maldives, Bhutan, Bangladesh) had over 50% decline by 2005-2010, two (Nepal and Myanmar) between 40 % and 50%, one (India) 35%, and the remaining one (Timor-Leste) minus 25% (meaning increase instead of decrease). The four countries which had TFR less than the world average in 1985-1990 continue to do so in 2005-2010 as well but at slower rate of decline (below the world average decline of 27%). Of these four, DPR Korea and Thailand have TFR below 2.1 (meaning that country may be headed to negative population growth).