A Reversal in the Relationship of Human Development with Fertility?
For more than a hundred years, advances in development were associated with decreasing fertility rates. This led to total fertility rates far below replacement level in most developed countries. However, during the last decade fertility rates started to increase again in various developed countries. Myrskylä et al (2009) argue that the relationship of the human development index (HDI) with the total fertility rate (TFR) reverses from negative (increases in HDI are associated with decreases in TFR) to positive (increases in HDI are associated with increases in TFR) at a HDI level of 0.85. We revisit this topic and find that the reversal in the HDI-TFR relationship is neither robust to UNDP’s recent revision in the HDI calculation method nor the decomposition of the HDI into its education, standard of living and health sub-indices.
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