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World birth rate on the rise.

World birth rate on the rise

Since the early 1970s, the world's birth rate has beendeclining fairly steadily. But last year, it took an upward swing from 27 to 28 births per 1,000 people, reports the Washington, D.C.-based Population Reference Bureau.

This increase is due solely to China, says bureau demographerCarl Haub. The Chinese, who account for one-fifth of the world's population, have recently relaxed their "one couple, one child" population policy. In addition, the number of women of child-bearing age in China is beginning to swell. Haub says demographers do not know which of these factors is more important. After stabilizing at about 18 births per 1,000 people, the Chinese birth rate jumped to 21 per 1,000 in 1986.

Haub says demographers have yet to make any populationprojections based on the assumption that China's birth rate will continue at this higher level. Projections assuming a lower Chinese birth rate suggest that the world population, which is expected to pass 5 billion this year, will plateau at about 10 billion in the middle of next century.
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Publication:Science News
Date:May 9, 1987
Words:181
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