Nearly half of the world's twins are born in Africa.
Nearly 1 in every 100 deliveries is a twin birth. Triplet, quadruplet and higher order deliveries occur much more seldom -- only once in 10,000 deliveries. Is the incidence of twin births the same everywhere in the world? Do twins grow up like other children? Do they have the same life expectancy? In 1999, out of 2.8 million twins born worldwide, nearly 1.1 million (41%) were born in Africa; 39% were born in Asia, 13% in America, 6% in Europe and 0.5% in Oceania. Yet Africa accounts for only 13% of the world's population (767 million, out of 6 billion), whereas almost two thirds (61%) live in Asia, 14% in America and 12% in Europe. Two combined reasons explain why twin births are so much more frequent in Africa than elsewhere. In the first place, the African birth rate is twice to four times higher than the average birth rates of other continents: according to UN statistics, in 1999, the African birth rate reached 37 children per thousand inhabitants, compared with only 21 in Asia and 10 in Europe. (excerpt)