Population and Social Characteristics

The 30 Countries With The Highest Birth Rates

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Since the mid-twentieth century, the global fertility rate has fallen by over 50%. In many countries — including Italy, Japan, Spain, and the United States — birth rates have decreased so much that population decline is imminent in the coming years, absent a commensurate increase in immigration.

Still, in aggregate, birth rates remain high enough globally that the population continues to expand — as it has every year since at least 1960. Over the last six decades, the number of people worldwide has more than doubled, from 3.0 billion to nearly 8 billion.

Globally, women are now having an average of 2.3 children in their lifetime, according to the World Bank. For a given country to maintain its population size — immigration notwithstanding — the average fertility rate should stand at around 2.1 children per woman. And even though birth rates are down in much of the world, there are many countries where fertility rates are well above the 2.1 threshold. In some cases, more than double.

Using data from the World Bank, 24/7 Wall St. identified the 30 countries with the highest fertility rates. Total fertility rates, or the average number of children women have in their lifetime, are for 2021, the latest year of available data. Supplemental data on population, population change, infrastructure, and GDP per capita are also from the World Bank.

Among the countries on this list, fertility rates range from about 4.0 to 6.8. While population growth is desirable in countries like the U.S., in poorer, less developed nations, rapid population expansion can put a strain on infrastructure, resources, and government programs – and by global standards, every country on this list is poor. (Here is a look at the world’s most impoverished countries.)

In each of the 30 countries with the highest fertility rates, per capita gross domestic product is well below the global average of $12,688. In most of these countries, GDP per capita is less than $2,000. Widespread poverty and low levels of development in many of these places are underscored by limited access to basic infrastructure. In 19 countries on this list, less than half of the population have access to electricity. (These are the countries Americans should not visit in 2024.)

In many of these places, fertility rates have been well above the key 2.1 threshold for years — and the consequences are already evident in demographic changes. Only one of these countries has a smaller population now than it did a decade ago, and in the rest, populations have expanded by anywhere from 16.2% to 40.5%. In the last year alone, every country on this list reported population growth between 1.5% to 3.8%. For context, the global population expanded by 10.0% and 0.8% over the same periods, respectively.

These are the 30 countries with the highest birth rates.

30. Guinea-Bissau

Source: Tiago_Fernandez / iStock Editorial via Getty Images
  • Fertility rate, 2021: 4.01 births per woman
  • Total population: 2,105,566
  • 1-yr. population change, 2021-2022: +2.2% (+44,845 people)
  • 10-yr. population change, 2013-2022: +24.0% (+407,813 people)
  • GDP per capita, 2022: $776

29. Liberia

Source: BethanyFank / Getty Images

  • Fertility rate, 2021: 4.09 births per woman
  • Total population: 5,302,681
  • 1-yr. population change, 2021-2022: +2.1% (+109,265 people)
  • 10-yr. population change, 2013-2022: +19.8% (+875,368 people)
  • GDP per capita, 2022: $755

28. Ethiopia

  • Fertility rate, 2021: 4.16 births per woman
  • Total population: 123,379,924
  • 1-yr. population change, 2021-2022: +2.6% (+3,096,898 people)
  • 10-yr. population change, 2013-2022: +27.1% (+26,295,558 people)
  • GDP per capita, 2022: $1,028

27. Republic of the Congo

Source: Claudine Silaho Weber-Hilty / iStock via Getty Images
  • Fertility rate, 2021: 4.17 births per woman
  • Total population: 5,970,424
  • 1-yr. population change, 2021-2022: +2.3% (+134,618 people)
  • 10-yr. population change, 2013-2022: +23.7% (+1,142,358 people)
  • GDP per capita, 2022: $2,649

26. Togo

Source: mtcurado / iStock Unreleased via Getty Images

  • Fertility rate, 2021: 4.26 births per woman
  • Total population: 8,848,699
  • 1-yr. population change, 2021-2022: +2.4% (+203,870 people)
  • 10-yr. population change, 2013-2022: +24.5% (+1,742,470 people)
  • GDP per capita, 2022: $943

25. Equatorial Guinea

Source: vestica / iStock via Getty Images
  • Fertility rate, 2021: 4.27 births per woman
  • Total population: 1,674,908
  • 1-yr. population change, 2021-2022: +2.5% (+40,442 people)
  • 10-yr. population change, 2013-2022: +34.6% (+430,967 people)
  • GDP per capita, 2022: $7,182

24. Zambia

Source: Africadventures / iStock via Getty Images
  • Fertility rate, 2021: 4.31 births per woman
  • Total population: 20,017,675
  • 1-yr. population change, 2021-2022: +2.8% (+544,550 people)
  • 10-yr. population change, 2013-2022: +31.4% (+4,782,699 people)
  • GDP per capita, 2022: $1,457

23. Senegal

Source: Salvador-Aznar / iStock Editorial via Getty Images
  • Fertility rate, 2021: 4.39 births per woman
  • Total population: 17,316,449
  • 1-yr. population change, 2021-2022: +2.6% (+439,729 people)
  • 10-yr. population change, 2013-2022: +27.4% (+3,720,883 people)
  • GDP per capita, 2022: $1,599

22. Mauritania

Source: HomoCosmicos / iStock via Getty Images
  • Fertility rate, 2021: 4.40 births per woman
  • Total population: 4,736,139
  • 1-yr. population change, 2021-2022: +2.6% (+121,165 people)
  • 10-yr. population change, 2013-2022: +26.5% (+993,180 people)
  • GDP per capita, 2022: $2,065

21. Guinea

Source: Byelikova_Oksana / iStock via Getty Images
  • Fertility rate, 2021: 4.40 births per woman
  • Total population: 13,859,341
  • 1-yr. population change, 2021-2022: +2.4% (+327,435 people)
  • 10-yr. population change, 2013-2022: +25.4% (+2,803,911 people)
  • GDP per capita, 2022: $1,515

20. Cote d’Ivoire

Source: brendanvanson / iStock via Getty Images
  • Fertility rate, 2021: 4.42 births per woman
  • Total population: 28,160,542
  • 1-yr. population change, 2021-2022: +2.5% (+682,293 people)
  • 10-yr. population change, 2013-2022: +25.3% (+5,691,274 people)
  • GDP per capita, 2022: $2,486

19. Sudan

Source: ferozeea / iStock via Getty Images
  • Fertility rate, 2021: 4.46 births per woman
  • Total population: 46,874,204
  • 1-yr. population change, 2021-2022: +2.7% (+1,217,002 people)
  • 10-yr. population change, 2013-2022: +30.2% (+10,883,500 people)
  • GDP per capita, 2022: $1,102

18. Cameroon

Source: Tse Ernest Chi / iStock via Getty Images
  • Fertility rate, 2021: 4.46 births per woman
  • Total population: 27,914,536
  • 1-yr. population change, 2021-2022: +2.6% (+715,908 people)
  • 10-yr. population change, 2013-2022: +29.0% (+6,281,686 people)
  • GDP per capita, 2022: $1,563

17. South Sudan

Source: Phototreat / iStock via Getty Images
  • Fertility rate, 2021: 4.47 births per woman
  • Total population: 10,913,164
  • 1-yr. population change, 2021-2022: +1.5% (+164,892 people)
  • 10-yr. population change, 2013-2022: -1.7% (-192,867 people)
  • GDP per capita, 2022: N/A

16. Uganda

Source: Jjumba Martin / iStock Editorial via Getty Images

  • Fertility rate, 2021: 4.59 births per woman
  • Total population: 47,249,585
  • 1-yr. population change, 2021-2022: +3.0% (+1,395,807 people)
  • 10-yr. population change, 2013-2022: +34.0% (+11,976,015 people)
  • GDP per capita, 2022: $964

15. Afghanistan

  • Fertility rate, 2021: 4.64 births per woman
  • Total population: 41,128,771
  • 1-yr. population change, 2021-2022: +2.6% (+1,029,309 people)
  • 10-yr. population change, 2013-2022: +30.4% (+9,587,562 people)
  • GDP per capita, 2021: $356

14. Mozambique

Source: Jennifer Sophie / iStock via Getty Images
  • Fertility rate, 2021: 4.64 births per woman
  • Total population: 32,969,518
  • 1-yr. population change, 2021-2022: +2.8% (+892,446 people)
  • 10-yr. population change, 2013-2022: +30.6% (+7,717,787 people)
  • GDP per capita, 2022: $558

13. The Gambia

  • Fertility rate, 2021: 4.68 births per woman
  • Total population: 2,705,992
  • 1-yr. population change, 2021-2022: +2.5% (+66,076 people)
  • 10-yr. population change, 2013-2022: +27.3% (+581,123 people)
  • GDP per capita, 2022: $808

12. Tanzania

  • Fertility rate, 2021: 4.73 births per woman
  • Total population: 65,497,748
  • 1-yr. population change, 2021-2022: +3.0% (+1,909,414 people)
  • 10-yr. population change, 2013-2022: +33.0% (+16,244,105 people)
  • GDP per capita, 2022: $1,193

11. Burkina Faso

Source: libre de droit / iStock via Getty Images
  • Fertility rate, 2021: 4.77 births per woman
  • Total population: 22,673,762
  • 1-yr. population change, 2021-2022: +2.6% (+573,079 people)
  • 10-yr. population change, 2013-2022: +28.6% (+5,037,354 people)
  • GDP per capita, 2022: $830

10. Benin

Source: mbrand85 / iStock via Getty Images
  • Fertility rate, 2021: 4.97 births per woman
  • Total population: 13,352,864
  • 1-yr. population change, 2021-2022: +2.7% (+355,969 people)
  • 10-yr. population change, 2013-2022: +29.5% (+3,044,134 people)
  • GDP per capita, 2022: $1,303

9. Burundi

Source: mbrand85 / iStock via Getty Images
  • Fertility rate, 2021: 5.08 births per woman
  • Total population: 12,889,576
  • 1-yr. population change, 2021-2022: +2.7% (+338,363 people)
  • 10-yr. population change, 2013-2022: +27.0% (+2,739,999 people)
  • GDP per capita, 2022: $259

8. Nigeria

Source: Jaxons / iStock via Getty Images

  • Fertility rate, 2021: 5.24 births per woman
  • Total population: 218,541,212
  • 1-yr. population change, 2021-2022: +2.4% (+5,139,889 people)
  • 10-yr. population change, 2013-2022: +25.1% (+43,815,089 people)
  • GDP per capita, 2022: $2,163

7. Angola

Source: AdemarRangel / iStock via Getty Images
  • Fertility rate, 2021: 5.30 births per woman
  • Total population: 35,588,987
  • 1-yr. population change, 2021-2022: +3.1% (+1,085,213 people)
  • 10-yr. population change, 2013-2022: +36.1% (+9,441,985 people)
  • GDP per capita, 2022: $3,000

6. Mali

Source: dutourdumonde / iStock via Getty Images
  • Fertility rate, 2021: 5.96 births per woman
  • Total population: 22,593,590
  • 1-yr. population change, 2021-2022: +3.1% (+688,607 people)
  • 10-yr. population change, 2013-2022: +32.9% (+5,589,557 people)
  • GDP per capita, 2022: $833

5. Central African Republic

Source: Siegfried Modola / Getty Images News via Getty Images
  • Fertility rate, 2021: 5.98 births per woman
  • Total population: 5,579,144
  • 1-yr. population change, 2021-2022: +2.2% (+121,990 people)
  • 10-yr. population change, 2013-2022: +16.2% (+776,716 people)
  • GDP per capita, 2022: $427

4. Democratic Republic of the Congo

  • Fertility rate, 2021: 6.16 births per woman
  • Total population: 99,010,212
  • 1-yr. population change, 2021-2022: +3.2% (+3,116,094 people)
  • 10-yr. population change, 2013-2022: +34.8% (+25,550,191 people)
  • GDP per capita, 2022: $654

3. Chad

Source: HomoCosmicos / iStock via Getty Images
  • Fertility rate, 2021: 6.26 births per woman
  • Total population: 17,723,315
  • 1-yr. population change, 2021-2022: +3.2% (+543,575 people)
  • 10-yr. population change, 2013-2022: +34.1% (+4,506,549 people)
  • GDP per capita, 2022: $717

2. Somalia

Source: AMISOM Public Information / Wikimedia Commons
  • Fertility rate, 2021: 6.31 births per woman
  • Total population: 17,597,511
  • 1-yr. population change, 2021-2022: +3.1% (+531,930 people)
  • 10-yr. population change, 2013-2022: +36.9% (+4,745,026 people)
  • GDP per capita, 2022: $592

1. Niger

Source: HomoCosmicos / iStock via Getty Images
  • Fertility rate, 2021: 6.82 births per woman
  • Total population: 26,207,977
  • 1-yr. population change, 2021-2022: +3.8% (+955,255 people)
  • 10-yr. population change, 2013-2022: +40.5% (+7,554,778 people)
  • GDP per capita, 2022: $585
Rank Country Total fertility rate, 2021 GDP per capita ($) 1-yr population change (%) 10-yr population change (%) Population with access to electricity (%)
1 Niger 6.8 585 3.8 40.5 18.6
2 Somalia 6.3 592 3.1 36.9 49.3
3 Chad 6.3 717 3.2 34.1 11.3
4 Congo, Dem. Rep. 6.2 654 3.2 34.8 20.8
5 Central African Republic 6.0 427 2.2 16.2 15.7
6 Mali 6.0 833 3.1 32.9 53.4
7 Angola 5.3 3,000 3.1 36.1 48.2
8 Nigeria 5.2 2,163 2.4 25.1 59.5
9 Burundi 5.1 259 2.7 27.0 10.2
10 Benin 5.0 1,303 2.7 29.5 42.0
11 Burkina Faso 4.8 830 2.6 28.6 19.0
12 Tanzania 4.7 1,193 3.0 33.0 42.7
13 Gambia, The 4.7 808 2.5 27.3 63.7
14 Mozambique 4.6 558 2.8 30.6 31.5
15 Afghanistan 4.6 356 2.6 30.4 97.7
16 Uganda 4.6 964 3.0 34.0 45.2
17 South Sudan 4.5 N/A 1.5 -1.7 7.7
18 Cameroon 4.5 1,563 2.6 29.0 65.4
19 Sudan 4.5 1,102 2.7 30.2 61.8
20 Cote d’Ivoire 4.4 2,486 2.5 25.3 71.1
21 Guinea 4.4 1,515 2.4 25.4 46.8
22 Mauritania 4.4 2,065 2.6 26.5 47.7
23 Senegal 4.4 1,599 2.6 27.4 68.0
24 Zambia 4.3 1,457 2.8 31.4 46.7
25 Equatorial Guinea 4.3 7,182 2.5 34.6 66.8
26 Togo 4.3 943 2.4 24.5 55.7
27 Congo, Rep. 4.2 2,649 2.3 23.7 49.7
28 Ethiopia 4.2 1,028 2.6 27.1 54.2
29 Liberia 4.1 755 2.1 19.8 29.8
30 Guinea-Bissau 4.0 776 2.2 24.0 35.8

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