Fertility Rates in India Fall
One of my favorite news sites is Zero Hedge, and on Feb 27, it ran an article entitled “Fertility Rates in India Fall across All Religious Groups.” The report concludes that India has become the most populous country in the world, but fertility rates have been in a steep decline for years. For one segment, the fertility rates for Muslim women have declined more as a percentage than Hindu or Christian women. Muslim women still have the highest fertility rates, but they are significantly lower than twenty-five years ago. However, life expectancy in India is growing. In conclusion, there are fewer babies, but they live longer.
In my book Muslim Mechanics, I address where Islam is headed. Item 1 in Chapter 13 reads, “The growth of Islam is not assured.” For the longest time, demographers have predicted that Islam would overtake Christianity in the next 30-50 years. Many large Islamic countries have lower standards of living. While India is not an Islamic country per se, it does have 500 million Muslim citizens. For many years, India was an undeveloped country. In undeveloped countries, families have high fertility rates because large families are necessary for survival. Large families are a form of social security. With more family members, more work can be done, and more food can be secured. In some cases, female children can be sold off for income.
Iran and Egypt have already experienced this drop in fertility birthrates. As a country becomes more industrial and technologically developed, incomes rise, and food security becomes less important. India is now in that cycle. Large families are slowly declining while education and prosperity are increasing the life expectancy for people of all religions.
Many Islamic countries have tasted the bitter fruit of capitalism. They are working hard to modernize their countries, and with modernization, women become emancipated; children cease to become a form of social security, and childbearing statistics shrink. As we experienced this shrinkage in the West where, over two generations, families have shrunk from having 10-15 family members to two to four, it could feasibly happen throughout the Muslim world as more countries move from developing country status to emerging country status.
I stand by my claim that Islamic membership growth will slow down and fail to overtake global Christianity in the next 30-50 years.