Data on fertility trends in Pacific Island Countries and Territories (PICTs) are critical for addressing the current unmet need in family planning, and for improving maternal and neonatal health. Understanding fertility patterns is important for monitoring the situation of young mothers and mothers of advanced maternal age (35 years and older), who are at greater risk of pregnancy and birth complications. Additionally, reliable fertility data are needed to inform accurate and robust population projections.
While fertility indicators in many PICTs are routinely reported, this is the first comprehensive regional review of data over the last 25 years. This report examines trends in PICTs from 1989 to 2014, with a focus on both long-term and recent trends in total fertility rates (TFRs) and age-specific fertility rates (ASFRs) including teenage fertility rates.
Trends in TFRs and ASFRs are analysed by region (Melanesia, Polynesia, Micronesia) as well as by level of fertility. Countries are categorised as having very high, moderately high, moderate or low TFRs, as well as having high, moderate or low teenage fertility rates. At the country or territory level, this allows for analysis of changes over time, while at the regional level, comparisons between populations of similar size or of similar culture can be made, thus helping to identify where further regional policy may be required.