Journal Article

Male fertility around the world and over time: How different is it from female fertility?

The objective of this article is to describe levels, patterns, and trends in male fertility around the world, using data that have been underutilized. By combining different data sources—vital statistics, surveys, and censuses—we draw a general picture of male fertility in about 160 countries. We compare male and female fertility in these countries and highlight the demographic factors associated with differences between them. Fertility trends are also reconstructed for men and women in a substantial number of countries. We show that reproductive experiences may differ considerably between men and women, especially in developing countries, where male fertility is often markedly higher than female fertility. Over the course of fertility transition, male fertility declines faster than female fertility, and ultimately falls below female fertility. We discuss the demographic mechanisms associated with these contrasting male and female fertility transitions, and some of their implications.

Published in a peer-reviewed journal of the Population Council.