The data for “Children per woman (total fertility)” has been updated to cover 195 countries from 1800-2008. It is now possible to see the entire “demographic transition” that most countries have followed: going from many children and short lives, too few children and long lives.
About the quality of the data
The demographer Ferenc Ajus has compiled this data set, and he will continue to refine it during the fall. The present data set is just to be considered a first draft, so any criticism and comments are more than welcomed.
The figures for several countries, such as Sweden and France, are based on fairly good data for the entire period. The figures of other countries are based on estimates from cruder indicators, such as crude birth rates.
The figures for countries that lacked direct data are based on various types of extrapolations. This means, in a number of cases (such as Yemen), that a very high fertility were assumed during the entire period of 1800-1950. It is possible, of course, that the very high fertility were a constant feature of these countries. However, the picture in 1800 would be seriously biased if 1950 constituted a period with a higher than average fertility for these countries.
You can also look at the documentation homepage, there is a document that describes the general principles. There you can also find an excel sheet with all the data, as well as the sources used for each observation. To construct a high quality dataset for research you can use this excel sheet, and filter out the rough estimates, and use our sources to look for more detailed information.