Total fertility rate (children per woman)

Indicator name
(English / Spanish)
Total fertility rate (children per woman)
Tasa global de fecundidad (hijos por mujer)
Indicator ID TFR
Domain Sociodemographic
Subdomain Demographic

The average number of live births that a woman would have during her lifetime, if during her reproductive years she experiences the age-specific fertility rates prevalent in a given year, for a given country, territory, or geographic area.

The total fertility rate is a synthetic measure that expresses, in a single figure, the fertility of all women during a given period.

Unit Live births per woman
Measure Index
Type of statistics Corrected/Predicted

Because global fertility rate is not affected by the age structure of the population, it allows us to analyze the level of fertility and compare its trend over time and between different populations and geographic areas.

It is used to prepare population estimates and projections.

Contributes to the design of public policies for health, education, work and social security.

Method of estimation

The global fertility rate is calculated directly as the sum of the fertility rates for all the age (usually referring to women between 15 and 49 years old) and multiplying the result by the size of the interval in which the ages were grouped, usually 5-year age groups.

A specific fertility rate by age or by age group is calculated as the quotient between the annual number of births in women of a certain age or age group and the population of women of the same age or age group, in the same year, for a given country, territory or geographic area.

For countries with a population greater than 90 thousand inhabitants, the figures are estimates from the United Nations, based on data that represent values estimated as of July 1st, obtained by linear interpolation of the corresponding five-year population projections of the United Nations, using the medium-variant projections.

For countries with less than 90 thousand inhabitants, the figures are estimates from the US Census Bureau International Database. The US Census Bureau population projections are based on the cohort component method.

Interpretation example

In 2018, country A had a total fertility rate of 2.4 births for every woman, that is, if the fertility rates by age in 2018 had remained unchanged, women in this country who turned 15 in 2018 would have an average of 2.4 children born alive during their reproductive years.

Disaggregation Women 15-19 years old

The international comparability of this indicator may be affected by the periodicity of population censuses and demographic surveys. Population censuses are generally carried out every 10 years and surveys have a frequency that varies between different countries, and the sampling error also influences quality. The value of the indicator also depends on the adequate coverage of the civil registration system (greater than 90%), on the fact that deaths and births are registered in the information system in a timely manner, and on the integrity of the national registry.

The calculation of this indicator assumes that fertility rates by age remain constant over time, however, they gradually fluctuate from year to year, which may be reflecting changes in the births, instead of changes in the average number of live births women have. Other factors that influence these fluctuations are the population's health level, the degree of urbanization, the educational level, the availability and use of contraceptive methods, the level of infant mortality and the degree of women participation in the force labor.

Estimated figures of this indicator may differ from the statistics made by countries due to factors such as methodological differences, for example, to produce population estimates and projections.

Data source

For countries with a population greater than 90 thousand inhabitants: United Nations, Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Population Division. World Population Prospects. Available from:

For countries with a population better than 90 thousand inhabitants: Census Bureau of the United States of America. International database. Available from:

PAHO update periodicity Annual
Link to SDG


PAHO Contact Andrea Gerger,
Update date August 13, 2021