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The Long‐Term Effect of the Timing of Fertility Decline on Population Size


  • Brian C. O'Neill
  • Sergei Scherbov
  • Wolfgang Lutz


Existing long‐range population projections imply that the timing of the fertility transition has a relatively unimportant effect on long‐term population size when compared with the impact of the level at which fertility is assumed eventually to stabilize. However, this note shows that the effect of the timing of fertility decline is a function of the eventual fertility rate: the lower the eventual fertility rate, the greater the effect of the timing of the transition becomes. This finding has important implications for projection methodology, as well as for policies related to the consequences of long‐term levels of population size.

Suggested Citation

  • Brian C. O'Neill & Sergei Scherbov & Wolfgang Lutz, 1999. "The Long‐Term Effect of the Timing of Fertility Decline on Population Size," Population and Development Review, The Population Council, Inc., vol. 25(4), pages 749-756, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:popdev:v:25:y:1999:i:4:p:749-756
    DOI: 10.1111/j.1728-4457.1999.00749.x

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    Cited by:

    1. Gordon Hanson & Craig McIntosh, 2016. "Is the Mediterranean the New Rio Grande? US and EU Immigration Pressures in the Long Run," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 30(4), pages 57-82, Fall.
    2. Thomas Espenshade & Analia Olgiati & Simon Levin, 2011. "On Nonstable and Stable Population Momentum," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 48(4), pages 1581-1599, November.

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