San José, Costa Rica, since 1956
Not making babies

Costa Rica reports the lowest fertility rate in its history

The fertility rate of Costa Rican women was 1.76 children in 2013, the lowest rate in the country’s history and the fifth consecutive year below the replacement rate of 2.1 children per woman, according to an official source.

“The data show that fertility continues to decline: In 2013, the Global Fertility Rate was 1.76 boys and girls per woman,” less than 2012’s rate of 1.86, Costa Rica’s National Statistics and Census Institute (INEC) reported.

In order to maintain the country’s current population, estimated at 4.7 million, women would have to give birth to an average of 2.1 children.

This situation, in addition to the stability in levels of mortality, “will translate into a gradual ageing of the Costa Rican population,” said the government organization.

INEC also said that the rate of infant mortality in 2013 was very similar to the previous year (8.67 deaths for every 1,000 born and those under a year old), while the maternal mortality dropped from 2.31 per 10,000 births in 2012 to 1.70 in 2013.

The reduction in the maternal mortality rate, which records deaths during pregnancy and in the stage immediately after birth, is the second most significant change of the last 10 years, according to INEC.

A recent report in The Wall Street Journal noted that declining fertility rates “aren’t just a problem for wealthy countries anymore.”

Said the Journal:

This is both an opportunity and a threat. On one hand, it could help preserve natural resources in nations that have been taxed by rapid population growth. But some economists blame a slowdown in population growth for contributing to such disparate events as the Great Depression and Japan’s sluggish growth rates in recent decades.

The newspaper reported that Brazil and Mexico also have seen sharp declines in fertility rates in recent years.

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