23 April 2012

What Total Fertility Rate Means

Total fertility rate is a concept used by politicians, statisticians and others when talking about population growth, especially when it is either excessive or inadequate.

But what exactly is TFR?

TFR is defined as the average number of children a hypothetical cohort of women would have at the end of their reproductive period if they were subject during their whole lives to the fertility rates of a given period and if they were not subject to mortality.  It is expressed as children per woman [see note 1 for the formula].

Several terms are key to understanding what TFR means and what it does not mean.