Religions and babies | Hans Rosling

Religions and babies | Hans Rosling

Translator: Timothy Covell
Reviewer: Morton Bast I’m going to talk about religion. But it’s a broad and very delicate subject, so I have to limit myself. And therefore I will limit myself to only talk about the links between religion and sexuality. (Laughter) This is a very serious talk. So I will talk of what I remember as the most wonderful. It’s when the young couple whisper, “Tonight we are going to make a baby.” My talk will be about the impact of religions on the number of babies per woman. This is indeed important, because everyone understands that there is some sort of limit on how many people we can be on this planet. And there are some people who say that the world population is growing like this — three billion in 1960, seven billion just last year — and it will continue to grow because there are religions that stop women from having few babies, and it may continue like this. To what extent are these people right? When I was born there was less than one billion children in the world, and today, 2000, there’s almost two billion. What has happened since, and what do the experts predict will happen with the number of children during this century? This is a quiz. What do you think? Do you think it will decrease to one billion? Will it remain the same and be two billion by the end of the century? Will the number of children increase each year up to 15 years, or will it continue in the same fast rate and be four billion children up there? I will tell you by the end of my speech. But now, what does religion have to do with it? When you want to classify religion, it’s more difficult than you think. You go to Wikipedia and the first map you find is this. It divides the world into Abrahamic religions and Eastern religion, but that’s not detailed enough. So we went on and we looked in Wikipedia, we found this map. But that subdivides Christianity, Islam and Buddhism into many subgroups, which was too detailed. Therefore at Gapminder we made our own map, and it looks like this. Each country’s a bubble. The size is the population — big China, big India here. And the color now is the majority religion. It’s the religion where more than 50 percent of the people say that they belong. It’s Eastern religion in India and China and neighboring Asian countries. Islam is the majority religion all the way from the Atlantic Ocean across the Middle East, Southern Europe and through Asia all the way to Indonesia. That’s where we find Islamic majority. And Christian majority religions, we see in these countries. They are blue. And that is most countries in America and Europe, many countries in Africa and a few in Asia. The white here are countries which cannot be classified, because one religion does not reach 50 percent or there is doubt about the data or there’s some other reason. So we were careful with that. So bear with our simplicity now when I take you over to this shot. This is in 1960. And now I show the number of babies per woman here: two, four or six — many babies, few babies. And here the income per person in comparable dollars. The reason for that is that many people say you have to get rich first before you get few babies. So low income here, high income there. And indeed in 1960, you had to be a rich Christian to have few babies. The exception was Japan. Japan here was regarded as an exception. Otherwise it was only Christian countries. But there was also many Christian countries that had six to seven babies per woman. But they were in Latin America or they were in Africa. And countries with Islam as the majority religion, all of them almost had six to seven children per woman, irregardless of the income level. And all the Eastern religions except Japan had the same level. Now let’s see what has happened in the world. I start the world, and here we go. Now 1962 — can you see they’re getting a little richer, but the number of babies per woman is falling? Look at China. They’re falling fairly fast. And all of the Muslim majority countries across the income are coming down, as do the Christian majority countries in the middle income range. And when we enter into this century, you’ll find more than half of mankind down here. And by 2010, we are actually 80 percent of humans who live in countries with about two children per woman. (Applause) It’s a quite amazing development which has happened. (Applause) And these are countries from United States here, with $40,000 per capita, France, Russia, Iran, Mexico, Turkey, Algeria, Indonesia, India and all the way to Bangladesh and Vietnam, which has less than five percent of the income per person of the United States and the same amount of babies per woman. I can tell you that the data on the number of children per woman is surprisingly good in all countries. We get that from the census data. It’s not one of these statistics which is very doubtful. So what we can conclude is you don’t have to get rich to have few children. It has happened across the world. And then when we look at religions, we can see that the Eastern religions, indeed there’s not one single country with a majority of that religion that has more than three children. Whereas with Islam as a majority religion and Christianity, you see countries all the way. But there’s no major difference. There’s no major difference between these religions. There is a difference with income. The countries which have many babies per woman here, they have quite low income. Most of them are in sub-Saharan Africa. But there are also countries here like Guatemala, like Papua New Guinea, like Yemen and Afghanistan. Many think that Afghanistan here and Congo, which have suffered severe conflicts, that they don’t have fast population growth. It’s the other way around. In the world today, it’s the countries that have the highest mortality rates that have the fastest population growth. Because the death of a child is compensated by one more child. These countries have six children per woman. They have a sad death rate of one to two children per woman. But 30 years from now, Afghanistan will go from 30 million to 60 million. Congo will go from 60 to 120. That’s where we have the fast population growth. And many think that these countries are stagnant, but they are not. Let me compare Senegal, a Muslim dominated country, with a Christian dominated country, Ghana. I take them backwards here to their independence, when they were up here in the beginning of the 1960s. Just look what they have done. It’s an amazing improvement, from seven children per woman, they’ve gone all the way down to between four and five. It’s a tremendous improvement. So what does it take? Well we know quite well what is needed in these countries. You need to have children to survive. You need to get out of the deepest poverty so children are not of importance for work in the family. You need to have access to some family planning. And you need the fourth factor, which perhaps is the most important factor. But let me illustrate that fourth factor by looking at Qatar. Here we have Qatar today, and there we have Bangladesh today. If I take these countries back to the years of their independence, which is almost the same year — ’71, ’72 — it’s a quite amazing development which had happened. Look at Bangladesh and Qatar. With so different incomes, it’s almost the same drop in number of babies per woman. And what is the reason in Qatar? Well I do as I always do. I went to the statistical authority of Qatar, to their webpage — It’s a very good webpage. I recommend it — and I looked up — oh yeah, you can have lots of fun here — and provided free of charge, I found Qatar’s social trends. Very interesting. Lots to read. I found fertility at birth, and I looked at total fertility rate per woman. These are the scholars and experts in the government agency in Qatar, and they say the most important factors are: “Increased age at first marriage, increased educational level of Qatari woman and more women integrated in the labor force.” I couldn’t agree more. Science couldn’t agree more. This is a country that indeed has gone through a very, very interesting modernization. So what it is, is these four: Children should survive, children shouldn’t be needed for work, women should get education and join the labor force and family planning should be accessible. Now look again at this. The average number of children in the world is like in Colombia — it’s 2.4 today. There are countries up here which are very poor. And that’s where family planning, better child survival is needed. I strongly recommend Melinda Gates’ last TEDTalk. And here, down, there are many countries which are less than two children per woman. So when I go back now to give you the answer of the quiz, it’s two. We have reached peak child. The number of children is not growing any longer in the world. We are still debating peak oil, but we have definitely reached peak child. And the world population will stop growing. The United Nations Population Division has said it will stop growing at 10 billion. But why do they grow if the number of children doesn’t grow? Well I will show you here. I will use these card boxes in which your notebooks came. They are quite useful for educational purposes. Each card box is one billion people. And there are two billion children in the world. There are two billion young people between 15 and 30. These are rounded numbers. Then there is one billion between 30 and 45, almost one between 45 and 60. And then it’s my box. This is me: 60-plus. We are here on top. So what will happen now is what we call “the big fill-up.” You can see that it’s like three billion missing here. They are not missing because they’ve died; they were never born. Because before 1980, there were much fewer people born than there were during the last 30 years. So what will happen now is quite straightforward. The old, sadly, we will die. The rest of you, you will grow older and you will get two billion children. Then the old will die. The rest will grow older and get two billion children. And then again the old will die and you will get two billion children. (Applause) This is the great fill-up. It’s inevitable. And can you see that this increase took place without life getting longer and without adding children? Religion has very little to do with the number of babies per woman. All the religions in the world are fully capable to maintain their values and adapt to this new world. And we will be just 10 billion in this world, if the poorest people get out of poverty, their children survive, they get access to family planning. That is needed. But it’s inevitable that we will be two to three billion more. So when you discuss and when you plan for the resources and the energy needed for the future, for human beings on this planet, you have to plan for 10 billion. Thank you very much. (Applause)

100 Replies to “Religions and babies | Hans Rosling”

  1. This was wow. If we educate and continue our free choices etc. Will we stay in this enlightenment or will we as in the US start to roll back? Such a great presentation. thank you.

  2. I thought God told Abraham to have as many as the stars. I'm trying to comprehend these very words. What are his words for ? Did he not comprehend the amount of land according to someone ? And whom ? I'm seeing tons of lands. Tons of crowded city squares though ? Why are we assuming God did not get it ? Why all the wars ? I'm surprised anyone is here, anymore. War, missing children, prisons packed, gay marriage, condoms, pills, abortion, elder deaths, medical deaths, natural disasters all over, shootings, on and on. Tons of statistics other. ….yet too many.

  3. Just noticed that even in a graph with a trend, the data remains squiggly as they jiggle down the way beans do in water. Goes to show there's still a degree of unpredictability in the world.

  4. Religion has nothing to do with the number of babies?, and yet a big part of reduction in birth rates is education… Which is the enemy of religion so try again

  5. What is being illustrated in this presentation is that a demographic winter has set in globally except in sub-Sahara Africa. The majority of countries in the world are below the replacement fertility rate of 2.1 children per woman. As the demographic winter is pushed up sub-Sahara Africa using the four approaches advocated, the global population will peek between 9 and 10 billion by mid century and will decline. The correct answer to his options is not 2 but 1. The effect of global population decline is a contraction in economic growth leading to a decline in the global economy.

  6. Also the affect of religion on babies is that religious people have babies while secular people tend to be childless. So more religious people are being born than secular people resulting in more religious populations in most countries.

  7. "Babies not born." How sad. He spoke about it like it's a good thing. America recently reached the landmark of being below replacement level. Yes, according to demographers the population will reach about 9 million, but then it will steadily decline, as it already has in some European countries. Let's give the poor women an education, and opportunity like rich women, but let's also give rich women some of the values of these poor countries, including sacrifice, and valuing motherhood and children.

  8. Flamily planning 😃

    This guy is a great public speaker I really enjoyed this talk. I'm also jealous of his graph animation skills.

  9. 01:30 wait a second WHAT
    seriously? IUHWIUHQSDICUQHBDFIUHSCQIUEHQWIUDHQIDUHQWDUIIUhiuashdaqscjionafvpkmdcpqcmlqpdvknq

    edit: jokes apart 'bout usage of the fishing rod – GREAT speech; great data presented; plain and simple. The guy was good.

  10. I honestly loved the shots of the audience, showing how all these people with clearly different backgrouds were listening to him with such interest

  11. so basically religion has nothing to do with natality. But the more money people make, they tend to be more educated and use contraceptives

  12. Ad hominem attacks make no difference. The world is hopelessly overpopulated, and they are all trying to come to America or western Europe, and we don't want them!


  14. After Starlink is in place and everybody are online with Facebook and YouTube will see babies numbers drop like crazy.

  15. Because he lumps entire nations into single category regardless of the percent that fall into that category, his conclusion that religion is not correlated with high birth rates is unfounded.
    A very shoddy abuse of statistics.

  16. Great presentation!
    Starting with advanced plotting & stats analyses, yet at the end the simplest and oldest cardboard boxes piles lifted by hand. The abstract and the concrete! The contrast yielded effectiveness.
    The man is a master!

  17. Totally ignoring the similarities in change of income. As he showed, the poor, even if getting out of extreme poverty, didn't still get exactly rich. Incomes in Senegal and Ghana didn't really improve per capita, yet birthrates fell. Also In Bangladesh and Qatar, the improvement was quite slight, while drop of birthrate was large. There are much more and different factors to this.
    And on top of all, falling below replacement rate is hardly a great improvement.. Maybe for a short time, but not when the population isn't high in a country already, and the birthrate keeps falling..

  18. Clumping together Catholicism and protestantism or Hinduism and Buddhism or other Eastern religions seems like a mistake diluting differences in attitudes to sexuality and fertility.

  19. You'd need stats on religiosity. How religious are the people who are religious. Where is the entry for atheists? The UK isn't Christian – it's secular, as is most of Europe

  20. While I respect and agree with what he has to say, fertility has decreased. Majority of women suffer from pcod (which may lead to a decrease of fertility) and other ovarian or fertility related diseases/syndromes which decreases their chance at conception. At the end he showed us “2 billion of you will have 2 billion other children” but we can observe that women may not be able to conceive and due to cultural or personal goals and thoughts they may not even want to. Many are now looking towards adoption. He also told us, and I loosely recall, that the number of children a woman has depends upon how many children of hers survive, which she compensates for but her expired children do not add to the population obviously so in my opinion population will not stagnate at 10 billion but constantly go down.

  21. Good info…but why do I think the audience shots were taken from a different, much funnier and heart-touching talk?
    Example: At 5:16, why applaud (with huge smiles) after, "We are 80% of countries with about 2 children per woman."

  22. True greatness. Spent a lifetime increasing the health of the poorest of the poor. Fact-denying republicans could learn a lot about economics from him. When the poor get healthier and richer, everyone is better off. Prisons are empty, jobs are filled, products are bought.

  23. I don't think this has anything to do with religion, just that the world is becoming more populated and thus people are starting to have less babies regardless of belief.. tho I'm sure it may play a role in it but I don't think it's the main reason.

  24. ‘Be FRUITFUL and multiply’ has absolutely NO relevance anymore. Christian women need to keep their snatches shut. I am fifty-seven and have never bred, and to be honest, a major reason why I left the Christian Faith was due to self-centered women, thinking that they were “Jesus’ favorite” bragging about their kids or fucking pregnancy

  25. I am all for abortion. There are TOO FUCKING MANY OF US. As of 8/19, there are over 7.7 billion, self-obsessed people, competing with you for the same things that you want. We need immediate depopulation measures. And underneath, most of you are thinking the same thing

  26. Rate of fertility for women decreases as women enter work force (introduction to stress), marry late (decreased viable eggs) and get higher level of education (reduction of interdependence).

    In short, time is of the essence for young women. They now have a biological clock AND a financial clock, unlike the past where they ONLY had a biological clock.

  27. Albania does not have a Muslim majority -.- Over 60% of people are either atheists or agnostics, and Christians are regarded to be more common than Muslims. I'm Albanian and I've been living here since I was born (24 years). I can assure you, there are a lot more Christian Orthodox celebrating Easter in the streets, than there are Muslims celebrating Bajram or Ramadan.

  28. You gotta love the total disregard of "Communism" and how religions were almost in existent in many countries between 1945 and 1990.

  29. Please someone explain to the Indian Muslims people they says Allah said to have thousands of babies per family

  30. الاحصائيات خطأ لان الصين كانت تفرض تحديد النسل بطفل واحد اما الان انتهى

  31. Our Mandate from Yehovah in Genesis is to Subdue the Earth as a responsible Steward of GOD's Creation & to Fill the Earth. We are commanded to raise Families. The most satisfying achievement of purpose in the Natural World.

  32. This was all very interesting and it's so according to past and 2012 statistics but he also said "IF" so we'll see what future statistics will be, time will tell

  33. What was that data visualizaiton software? The data is more important, but presentation matters, and that presented amazingly well. What was that software?

  34. This schould be mandatory to watch for all the afd cultists we have here in germany… as well as for their equivalents all around the world.

  35. Those boxes at the end may be the simplest and at the same time the best demonstration of an abstract thought I have ever seen.

  36. Islam is a cancer that needs to be excised from the body of the world. I feel so bad for all of the people that have to grow up under such a savage culture.

  37. The evidence supports Patricia Gowaty's compensation hypothesis–it is poverty and the infant mortality rate that drives the fertility rate.

  38. What about the high birth rates in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip? There may be exceptions to the speaker's conclusion. A more interesting question may be the relationship between religiosity and fertility at the individual level, not the country level. Religion is not the same as religiosity.

  39. Muslims in world percentage —-
    12% Muslims in 1901
    22% Muslims in 2011
    34% Muslims in 2061 ( expected )
    Now , call this old man to me !!!!!!!

  40. The Indian Government is on a "MAKE MORE HINDUS" spree. They are encouraging more Hindu/non-Muslim babies openly as unwritten public policy, while India is about 4 child births per mother, high mortality rate and 1.3 Billion in a space as big as Texas right now. And they blame relatively poor neighbours for adding to population. Beware, Hans Rosling! 11 billion might be a figure too optimistic without gauging the stupidity of some anti-Science masses fully.

  41. I did not see that coming.. I would have guessed religion did have something to do with that. Good to know. But I see, that we need a good war. Maybe religion can actually help there.

  42. This is false, there is conclusive data that shows that conservative or fundamentalist practitioners of a religion have higher fertility, looking solely at religious affiliation won't reveal anything useful as it's too broad and his graph actually reveal that GDP was a factor in fertility. (however not the only one.)

  43. i'd say the extremely overpopulating countries start having only 1 kid only till they're no longer in the damn billions!!!
    for a place like america (~0.3 billion) keep having as many kids as you want. forget letting "refuges" take over as majority.
    sorting out population is most responsible for the majority of the overpopulating people. not the lowest repopulating group(s) to do. they've already been doing their part naturally. heck, there's a reason there's room for so many "refuges".

    it's not complicated math. i'll do it for them.

    so there's 7 billion of us, and 2 billion are kids.
    so that means 5 billion of us are lingering. (the kids are growing up and replacing themselves. and then becoming left overs)

    we live to around 80.
    lets say the kids only repopulated 2 kids at 24.

    so that means +24 years = +2 billion

    after 48 years that's 4 billion
    after 72 years that's 6 billion
    after 80 years that's 6.6 billion

    about everyone that used to be around has died off.

    so in that contrived reality, we could decrease from 7 billion to 6.6 billion easy. only have 2 kids only after 24 years of age.
    it's an easy rule. 3rd world governments could surely give it's people some benefits for doing so.

    heck, even if we did… +20 years = +2 billion.
    40y, 60y, 80y = 4, 6, 8 billion.
    we'd only increase to 8 billion.

    having over 2 kids increases the primary population. having kids younger brings more generations together.

    in reality we're having more than 2 kids (actually increasing population) and some at younger ages (raising the excess)

    if we repopulate at 1/4 our life cycle (20y) there'll be 4 times more of us around. (2b kids x 4 = 8b people)
    if we repopulate at 1/5 our life cycle (16y) there'll be 5 times more of us around. (2b kids x 5 = 10b people)

    but i don't think we'd all be having 2 kids at 16y.
    unless that's what they do in the 3rd world? child marriages? grooming gangs? multiple wives? etc.

    if we're ever too over populated (like china) then we can go for 1 kid only.
    we have no need for that yet. heck, clearly if they're bringing in refuges!

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