You are here

Policy Responses to Low Fertility: How Effective Are They?

Fertility decline to a small family size has spread around the world during the last three decades. One half of the global population now lives in countries where period Total Fertility Rate (TFR) fell below the replacement level threshold of around 2.1 births per woman—implying that in the absence of future fertility increases, mortality improvements or immigration, these populations would eventually start shrinking.

This emerging phenomenon of “very low” (with a TFR below 1.5), “lowest-low”, or “ultra-low” (with a TFR below 1.3) fertility is an unexpected path of the global fertility transition, which makes many policymakers and public at large worried about its potential consequences. This report aims to summarize the available evidence on the effects of family policies on fertility. It combines literature review with empirical illustrations for selected countries and policy interventions. In addition, it also discusses the complexity of the policy-fertility links.