The average number of children that would be born to a woman over her lifetime if she followed the current average pattern of fertility among a given group of women and survived through her reproductive years; used as an indicator of strength of population growth.
In America the fertility rate of recent immigrants tends to be higher than that of native population.
In most industrialized countries the fertility rate has dropped well below replacement rate.
Its fertility-rate, however, which was by no means high in 1880, fell by nearly 18% by 1901, and since that date a further fall is reported by the registrar-general, to 24%, leaving the rate below that of all the other European countries except France.
In1880-1882their fertility-rate ranged from 300 to 338, a low proportion for a new country, but nearly up to the European standard.
On the contrary, the fertility-rate appears to be best maintained in countries by no means distinguished for their high standard of living, such as Spain, Italy, Ireland, and, perhaps, Austria.