Another surprising country, demographically, is Morocco. In 1962, its fertility rate was about 7.2 children per woman. Nowadays it is about 2.5 and heading south. Contraception is widespread, with many women delaying child-bearing for 5 years after marriage.
So what is the result of the rapid shrinking of family size? According to a feature in Magharebia, a website about the Maghreb sponsored by United States Africa Command, a military outfit, the future could be bleak for the elderly:
Demographic changes have had a perceptible impact on social solidarity in Morocco, sociologist Naïma Bichri explains, leaving many people in their twilight years, like Ba Mohamed, to navigate the challenges of everyday life on their own.
"We're seeing problems which never existed in the past. Indeed, it was rare for an elderly person to be cast aside. Families took care of their own and respected those older than themselves," she tells Magharebia. "This trend is dying out more and more."
The problem is that by 2030, 15% of Moroccans will be senior citizens. There are about 2.5 million now and in 20 years’ time, there will be 8 million. Most of them depend upon families for support, as few receive government pensions. However, with the ageing tsunami on the horizon, government officials are worried about how elderly without families will cope. So now the government is working on ways to strengthen the family.