Sign up for our daily briefing

Make your busy days simpler with Axios AM/PM. Catch up on what's new and why it matters in just 5 minutes.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on the day's biggest business stories

Subscribe to Axios Closer for insights into the day’s business news and trends and why they matter

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Stay on top of the latest market trends

Subscribe to Axios Markets for the latest market trends and economic insights. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sports news worthy of your time

Binge on the stats and stories that drive the sports world with Axios Sports. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tech news worthy of your time

Get our smart take on technology from the Valley and D.C. with Axios Login. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Get the inside stories

Get an insider's guide to the new White House with Axios Sneak Peek. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Denver news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Des Moines news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Twin Cities news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Twin Cities

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Tampa Bay news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa Bay

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Charlotte news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Charlotte

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!
Expand chart
Data: U.S. Census Bureau; Chart: Kerrie Vila/Axios

Changing economic incentives, social expectations for women, and religious landscapes have upended the global age structure — and we're only seeing the beginning.

Between the lines: The developed world is having fewer babies, which means fewer working-age people to support the bulge of retiring and aging baby boomers. Meanwhile the population of Africa is surging.

What the chart shows: Follow each country’s age-structure from 2000 to 2050. The bars show the percentage of the population that falls into each 5-year age group. For instance, you can see Nigeria‘s continuing baby boom in the longer bars at the base of its pyramid; China and Germany, however, have bulges in the 60-85 age ranges.

How we got here:

Women's education: Better-educated women correlates with lower fertility rates and vice versa, according to Our World in Data.

  • In poorer developing countries, women's education and opportunity outside of raising a family lags behind the richer world, resulting in more women bearing children than their developed-world counterparts.
  • "Women with choices lead the way to secularization," Eric Kaufmann, a demographer and politics professor at Birkbeck College, told Axios.
  • But for most of the rest of the world, fertility rates have been dropping since the 1960s as women have increasingly pursued higher education and found more opportunity in the workforce, says Richard Jackson of the Global Aging Institute. That opportunity continues to expand, further reducing the number of children born to women from the EU, the U.S., China or Japan, as well as delaying childbearing.

Yes, but: Studies have found that in the U.S., women with the highest education — beyond a bachelor's degree — have higher fertility rates than women with only an undergraduate degree. This is probably a result of their greater financial stability as well as more opportunities to combine child-rearing with a career, according to Kaufmann.

Economically, child-rearing costs have skyrocketed in much of the developed world. The 2008 recession hit middle class families hard everywhere, and some traditional financial incentives to having multiple children are no longer relevant.

You don’t need kids to work on the farm or provide in your old age. A lot of the economic rational for having kids has fallen away. It becomes much more of a choice.
— Eric Kaufmann

Modern medicine and sanitation have helped reduce infant mortality in impoverished nations — although many African countries still have some of the highest rates in the world. This has added to the baby boom seen now in countries such as Nigeria, Kaufmann said.

Religion plays a determining role in fertility rates in both developed and developing nations. Less-religious women typically having fewer kids, and it's common for immigrants and religious women in secular, developed countries to have more children than the norm in that culture, Kaufmann said.

What to watch: Fertility trends could reverse in some nations that continue to grow wealthier and more educated. Richer, developed countries already have comparatively high fertility rates, according to Kaufmann.

Go deeper

Several states declare emergency over Colonial Pipeline shutdown

A sign warns consumers on the avaliability of gasoline at a RaceTrac gas station in Smyrna, Georgia, on May 11. The average national price of gasoline has risen to $2.985 a gallon, Bloomberg notes. Photo: Elijah Nouvelage/AFP via Getty Images

Reports of fuel shortages across the U.S. emerged on Tuesday as the national average for gasoline prices soared to its highest level since 2014 amid a key fuel pipeline shut down, per Bloomberg.

What's happening: Operator Colonial Pipeline aims to have service restored by the week's end following last Friday's ransomware attack that shut down some 5,500 miles of pipeline from Texas to New Jersey. The governors of Florida, Georgia, Virginia and North Carolina declared states of emergency Tuesday due to shortage concerns.

Reports: More than 100 Republicans threaten to form 3rd party over Trump

Former President Trump addressing the Conservative Political Action Conference in Orlando, Florida, in February. Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

More than 100 Republicans will sign a letter Thursday threatening to create a third party if the GOP doesn't "break" with former President Trump, Reuters first reported.

Why it matters: Per Axios' Mike Allen and Jim VandeHei, Trump's grip on the GOP has gotten stronger since the Jan. 6 Capitol riot. The Republican Party's "allegiance to Trump" as he continues to make false claims about his 2020 election loss has "dismayed" the group, according to Reuters.

Updated 3 hours ago - World

In photos: Dozens dead as Israel and Hamas intensify aerial bombardments

People gather at the site of a collapsed building in the aftermath of Israeli air strikes on Gaza City on May 11. Photo: Mahmud Hams / AFP) (Photo by MAHMUD HAMS/AFP via Getty Images

At least 35 Palestinians and five Israelis have been killed as fighting between Israel's military and Hamas entered a third day, per Reuters.

The big picture: The worst aerial exchanges of fire between Israel and Hamas since 2014 come after escalating violence in Jerusalem that injured hundreds of Palestinians and several Israeli police officers during protests over the planned evictions of Palestinian families from their homes.