Throughout the Ummah, fertility levels are dropping dramatically for many countries and sub-national populations--and traditional marriage patterns and living arrangements are undergoing tremendous change.

There remains a widely perceived notion that “Muslim” societies are especially resistant to embarking upon the path of demographic/familial change that has transformed “more developed” areas (UN terminology). But such notions are utterly uninformed by the important new demographic realities that reflect today's life patterns within the Islamic world. Indeed: the plain fact today is that the most momentous fertility declines ever witnessed, in both magnitude and tempo, are today being registered in Muslim-majority societies. Changes in family formation patterns, likewise, are occurring faster and at much lower income levels in parts of the Muslim world than were recorded in the past in now-affluent Western societies.

This study will outline, analyze and assess the dimensions, determinants and implications of the profound fertility declines and revolutionary changes in family life now evident within the Ummah, focusing special attention on the Arab world, utilizing data from DHS surveys, national censuses, and international demographic and social science databases (including the World Values Survey).

Applying demographic tools and also what might be called “strategic demographics” to the analysis of changes in patterns of fertility and family formation in the Islamic world will enhance understanding of society, economy, politics, and future development prospects for these peoples and states. This is a neglected area of research inquiry, but it is nevertheless of vital importance to understanding these societies and their futures.


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