Starting a family, for many men and women, is the happiest and most probably the toughest situation that they have to go through in their married lives. Many, like me, dream of having my own children one day and most of us have not even thought of the number of kids that we want. However, as this issue was of great interest to me, I decided to surf the internet to find out more. This, in turn, led me to a shocking truth, one that I was completely unaware of. It turns out that the fertility rates amongst women in the Kingdom have been decreasing significantly.[irp]
Expert doctors have speculated and investigated some of the reasons as to why the fertility amongst women has been decreasing over time in Saudi Arabia. Experts have identified five primary reasons as to why this has been happening. Reasons for the fall in fertility rates include late marriages and an increase in the abortions in Saudi Arabia. The fertility rate has decreased from 2.9 children per woman in 2013 to 2.8 children in 2014, according to one expert. The Saudi Kingdom has however maintained the second position in the Gulf, after Oman, which is of 2.9 children, infertility rates. However, the Saudi Kingdom has registered a considerable fall in fertility rates during the past decade as it has declined from 3.6 children in 2004 to 2.8 children in 2014. This negative trend has made experts state the fact that Saudi Arabia does not require any measures for family planning.[irp]
Late Marriages: The study has determined that late marriages have been on the rise because Saudi citizens have been striving to achieve more and more education.
Economic and Working Conditions: Other reasons found behind late marriages are the economic and work conditions of the country, which are booming.
High Cost of Living: Another issue is determined to be the high cost of living in the Kingdom. This has led to a considerable widening in the gap between children. Previously the age gap between children was one to two years, which has now become several years. This has, in turn, resulted in fewer children altogether per family.
High Abortion Rate: Growing abortion rates amongst women who are getting pregnant after the age of 40 is another reason, as reported by experts.
Health Condition of Women: Dr. Hamad Al-Sufyan a gynecology and obstetrics consultant has said that there are five reasons for the increase in infertility rates amongst women in Saudi Arabia. These reasons include obesity, diabetes, unhealthy foods and high blood pressure. They have also stated that smoking and unsuitable environment have also caused women to have fewer children.
Another Dr. Abdullah Al-Salman, who is the director of Human Development Center, has stated that there is a gradual decline in the Saudi population. He has said that the Kingdom does not need to adopt any strategy or measures to decrease the Saudi population, as there is an increased demand for the workforce to assist in the development of the country. This is also important so that the dependency on the foreign workforce in the country can be decreased and the country’s workforce can become self-sufficient and independent.
Source: Arab News